Liberal backbencher and ex-Greenpeace member Jason Wood MP has made a bizarre call for a ban on the importation of hunting trophies into Australia. Even more bizarrely, the man who once impressed the nation by referring to “genetically modified orgasms” in a parliamentary speech (see HERE) seems to have had an immediate influence on Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Mr Hunt today signed an order banning the importation of rhinoceros “body parts” and will soon do the same for lions.
In an interview posted on the ABC website, Mr Wood outlined his objection to so-called canned hunting, which he referred to as “cruel and barbaric”. You can view the 4 minute interview HERE, and you should, because this threatens all hunters who choose to hunt anywhere overseas, not only the handful that participate in true canned hunting of lions.
By Mr Wood’s admission he has only known about this “issue” since told about it this year by one of his constituents. Frankly it is scary that any politician could move to ban something they clearly haven’t researched at all. To summarise, Mr Wood broadly defines canned hunting as “the practice of breeding wildlife to be killed”, and though he appears most concerned about lions, he also talks about canned hunts for a range of species including bears, cougars, monkeys and zebras. He is aghast at websites advertising the hunting of a range of African species, all of which he places in the canned hunting category. He also seems to think that all African wildlife is CITES listed. His ingenious solution is to ban the importation of wildlife body parts, no matter whether it was legally harvested in its country of origin or not.
On the flip side Mr Wood doesn’t mention that the vast majority of Australian hunters who travel overseas do so to enjoy not canned hunting but ethical, free range and fair chase hunting. Nor does he mention that well-managed big game hunting is an important part of game management programs in many African countries. To ban it would be to sound the death knell for many more animals that any he might save by banning canned lion hunting, as well as remove an important source of income for the impoverished majority of Africa’s human population. And, anyway, what does he think would happen to the 8000 lions in captivity that have been bred to provide a population for that purpose? Who would be breeding them then? I’m not interested in canned lion hunting personally, but if it can provide a ‘reserve’ population and a source of funds to help manage wild populations, then why not?
If, like me, you’re alarmed by these developments and you’d like to let Mr Wood know your feelings on this subject, you can do so HERE. I urge you, as usual, to keep things rational, respectful and clean. As an example you can read Shooters and Fishers Party’s Robert Borsak’s excellent response HERE.