Del Boy actor Sir David Jason urges MPs to ban safari hunters’ trophies — calling it the ‘worst animal cruelty’
- Only Fools and Horses star has sent a letter to all MPs asking them to vote for bill
- The Bill is by Tory backbencher Henry Smith which would outlaw cruel practice
- Bloodthirsty British hunters have shipped back thousands of animal trophies
- Sir David said in letter that he cannot understand how practice is still legal
Actor Sir David Jason has urged MPs to back a new law to ban big game safari hunters from bringing back sick trophies of their kills.
The Only Fools and Horses star, 82, has sent a letter to all MPs asking them to vote in favour of a Bill by Tory backbencher Henry Smith which would outlaw the cruel practice.
Bloodthirsty British hunters have shipped back thousands of trophies of animals they have shot including lions, elephants and giraffes. Critics say this fuels the insatiable demand for hunting which is wiping out endangered animals in Africa. Mr Smith’s Bill will be heard in Parliament on November 25.
The Only Fools and Horses star, 82, has sent a letter to all MPs asking them to vote in favour of a Bill by Tory backbencher Henry Smith which would outlaw the cruel practice
Sir David said: ‘How can someone kill an animal that’s been bred in a cage just to be shot for a ‘trophy’? How can a person shoot a defenceless animal from 200 yards and call that ‘sport’? Pictured: A slain elephant
In his letter, Sir David said: ‘Like many people in our country, I am a big animal lover and detest all forms of animal cruelty. For me, trophy hunting is possibly the worst and most senseless kind of animal cruelty. I cannot understand what pleasure someone can get from killing an animal for kicks.
‘How can someone kill an animal that’s been bred in a cage just to be shot for a ‘trophy’? How can a person shoot a defenceless animal from 200 yards and call that ‘sport’?
‘British hunters are permitted to kill giraffes and zebras and bring home their heads and skins to decorate their homes with. They are allowed to kill tame lions and leopards in enclosures the animals cannot escape from – just so they can smile and pose for a photo next to their victim…I cannot understand why this is still legal.’
Tory ministers previously announced a total ban on the import of the trophies from endangered species to stop what Boris Johnson described as a ‘vile trade’. But there are fears Rishi Sunak’s administration will not follow through with the plan, which was in the last Tory General Election manifesto.
A Survation poll of 2,050 UK adults earlier this year found that 92 per cent of Tory voters want the ban. One in three Tory voters said they would switch their vote to another party at the next General Election if the ban does not come into force. Campaigners warned this could cost the Tories lose 102 seats in England at the next General Election.
Pro-hunting groups claim shooting animals is good for wildlife conservation and that the industry brings in money to poor communities.
But campaigners who want it banned say there are now less than 7,000 cheetahs and just 3,000 black rhino left on earth.
And an alarming new study by the charity LionAid warned the number of lions in Africa has fallen below 10,000 for the first time.
But there are fears Rishi Sunak’s administration will not follow through with the plan, which was in the last Tory General Election manifesto
Dr Pieter Kat, director of the charity LionAid, who working in lion conservation research in Africa for 20 years, said: ‘Our study concluded that currently there is a confirmed population of 9,610 lions in
Africa. This represents an extraordinary decline. To put this figure into some context, in the 1970s it is thought that the lion population in Africa numbered approximately 200,000.’
In June, more than 100 celebrities and other influential figures urged Number 10 to honour its promise to ban hunters from bringing home trophies of their kills.
Signatories to a letter demanding that the Prime Minister make good on the pledge made three years ago to ‘end this barbaric practice’ included nine knights, four dames, 15 CBEs, ten OBEs and nine MBEs.
Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said: ‘There is incredible public support for the bill to ban British trophy hunters’ sick ‘souvenirs’. It is backed by some of the country’s most respected public figures like David Jason, Ranulph Fiennes and Judi Dench, as well as by wildlife charities, scientists, church leaders and 9 out of 10 members of the public.
‘MPs would be foolish to ignore the views of voters on this. Opinion polls show many of them could change their vote at the next election if their MP doesn’t back the bill.’
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