Break­through: the Nether­lands bans import of hunting trophies

17 May 2016

Following a motion proposed by Marianne Thieme (Party for the Animals) and Rudmer Heerema (VVD) which was adopted by the Lower House, hunting trophies of a large number of wild animal species can no longer be brought into the Netherlands. As of this moment, items such as ivory, tiger skins and rhinos’ horns will be barred at the Dutch border.

The import of hunting trophies of over 200 animal species is banned with immediate effect. This includes trophies of the white rhino, elephant, cheetah, lion, hippo and polar bear. This is the result of a motion proposed by Marianne Thieme (Party for the Animals) and Rudmer Heerema (VVD) which was adopted by the Lower House in July 2015.

Hunters pay huge sums for trips during which they hunt elephants, lions and other endangered species. Until now, hunting trophies could be legally imported under the heading of “private property”. The import of hunting trophies provides an important shortcut for wildlife crime. Once the trophies have reached the Dutch border, the country of origin of the animal has become untraceable, which until now has allowed for illegally killed animals and animal products to be smuggled into the country as so-called hunting trophies.

Marianne Thieme: “Wildlife crime not only imposes a serious threat to biodiversity, but to global stability as well. It is a huge source of income for criminal and terrorist networks. The Netherlands finally putting a check on these practices is a major breakthrough.”

Up to 30,000 elephants are hunted and killed each year. In South Africa, 1215 rhinos were shot in the past year and in West Africa, only 400 wild lions remain. Last year, an American dentist caused an international uproar when he killed the famous lion Cecil during a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe.

The new import ban ensures that Dutch hunters will no longer be able to “show off” the game they have shot outside Europe. The Party for the Animals hopes this ban will take away an important incentive to use foreign nature as a shooting gallery. However, it is vital that also the transit of these hunting trophies will be restricted as soon as possible.

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