Postcard from... Brussels


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An ill-timed game hunt can be disastrous for high-profile figures a little out of touch with public opinion.

It has become a little bit more difficult for European big game hunters to return home with their loot after the EU introduced new measures restricting the import of hunting trophies. Anyone hoping to pack a pelt, head, horn or tusk of an African lion, polar bear, African elephant, Southern white rhinoceros, hippopotamus or Argali sheep in their luggage, must present an import permit stating where the beast was slain and that it perished in a legal and sustainable way.

Previously, there were  no rules across all 28 EU member states.

“The hunting of iconic species is a very sensitive area and one where Europe needs to lead at international level to promote responsible practices,” said the EU’s environment commissioner, Karmenu Vella.

The move late last week was welcomed by wildlife campaigners. But many fear it does not go far enough, and think it’s time for a complete ban on the import of lion trophies. Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP, said: “The EU must now ask all African countries to justify trophy hunting and prove it is being done sustainably.”