Australian Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, announced a blanket ban on lion trophies on Friday in order to curb the prevalence of “canned hunting.” Effective immediately, the ban prevents any and all lion parts from being either imported to or exported from the country.
Canned hunting is a practice which raises and keeps animals in a confined area to be hunted for sport, at times being drugged to become an easier target, Minister Hunt noted during the Global March for Lions at Melbourne’s Federation Square. The march was an effort to raise awareness and help prevent the inhumane conditions in which lions are hunted in Africa.
“Canned hunting is real. It exists. It shouldn’t exist,” Mr. Hunt said during the march. “It is about raising the most majestic of creatures for a singular purpose and that is to kill them, to shoot them for pleasure and for profit.
“It is done in inhumane conditions. It is involving things such as raising and then drugging and in many cases, baiting.”
The activism is on the heels of a public outrage last month toward Australian Test cricketer, Glenn Mcgrath, after photos of him posing with dead game at a hunting safari made the rounds online. The photos show him with a dead buffalo, two dead hyenas, and a pair of elephant tusks, and one photo of him reclining his back into a dead elephant.
Organizations such as Humane Society International have praised the decision, calling it “unprecedented”, but others feel that the blanket ban on any and all imports and exports is unfair. Robert Pretty of Trijicon, a hunting optics company, wrote an open letter to Minister Hunt through the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia saying the blanket ban “will be interfering, unnecessarily and detrimentally, in the effective conservation of lions,” going on to explain that one can still hunt wild game in Africa legally and thus it is unfair to indiscriminately ban all lion trophies.
The Australian Department of Environment figures show that an estimated number of 140 lion trophies have been brought into Australia within the last five years, The Australian reports. This is 140 too many for Minister Hunt.
“It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch,” he noted at Friday’s rally.