Letter to the Editor of The Times

Lord Ashcroft's letter to the Editor of The Times, calling for a ban on the importation of lion parts from canned hunts.

The fact that South African tour operators are deliberately targeting the UK to promote "canned" lion hunts makes it all the more imperative that the British Government takes a stand against this barbaric activity ("Trophy hunting firms train sights on Britain" and "Can Hunting", leading article, Jul 1).

Earlier this year, I flew in a helicopter over many of the captive-lion breeding centres (there are more than 200 in South Africa); the vast scale of this problem is hard to comprehend. Well-informed sources told me there are now an estimated 12,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa – far more than previously thought and approaching four times the number of wild lions in the country. Almost all of these captive-bred lions are destined either for the lion-bone trade or for trophy hunting. As your Leading Article notes, there is little or nothing that the British Government can do to prevent canned hunting in South Africa. But we can "do our bit" by joining other countries, notably the US, in banning the importation of lion parts from canned hunts.

Lord Ashcroft