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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 200

Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (12:56): I move:

That this House:

(1) condemns:

(a) 'canned hunting' where animals are raised in captivity for the purpose of being killed in the name of trophy kills; and

(b) the importation of any species (body or part) in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) appendixes I, II or III as a result of a canned hunt;

(2) congratulates the Australian Government for introducing new measures to tighten controls on the trade of rhinoceros to tackle illegal trade of this threatened species;

(3) welcomes Australian Government consideration of actions to improve the protection of African lions by preventing imports of lion trophies obtained through illegal hunting; and

(4) notes that:

(a) the CITES lays down guidelines on the importation of all trophy kills, and the Department of Environment uses this information as its guide in Australia;

(b) although CITES is legally binding on the parties, it does not take the place of national laws; and

(c) as a signatory to CITES, the Australian Government is committed to the protection of wildlife that may be adversely affected by trade.

I spoke in this place in May last year about the appalling practice of canned hunting and today I rise with the knowledge that my words back then are resonating increasingly in our community, in our parliament and around the world. People see this practice, as I do, as cruel and barbaric.

Firstly, I must pay special thanks to Minister Greg Hunt, whom I approached last year about this topic. The minister and his staff have been incredibly supportive and understanding of my deep concerns about canned hunting. I also must thank the Parliamentary Library for their fantastic research efforts, in particular Bill McCormack and Kate Baker. But let me first recap.

I had no idea of what canned hunting was until I met one of my constituents, Donalea Patman, the founder of For the Love of Wildlife. Donalea has been a fantastic ambassador for saving African lions. Donalea is extremely passionate about ridding the world of the sinister practice of canned hunting and has shown me numerous tragic videos of footage depicting extremely distressing scenes of African lions being killed, whether by bow and arrow or by firearm. I still recall the first video I saw which depicted a lion lazing back under a shady tree and a so-called hunter not far away who quickly pumped several bullets with a high-powered weapon into the lion. It was simply shocking. Sadly, the lion did not try to escape. It was obviously used to human contact and had no fear of the hunter.

Canned hunting can be best described as hunts where native or exotic animals have no fear of humans, are confined by fencing to guarantee the hunter a quick, cost-effective and efficient kill. The video I witnessed showed part of an industry that is flourishing under what I believe are false pretences. Volunteers are conned in the name of conservation and pay up to $800 a week for the privilege of handling orphan lion cubs back into the wild. Many of these so-called conservation reserves are actually breeding grounds for the canned hunting of lions where cubs a few days old are taken off their mothers and rented out to reserves that falsely claim they are orphans.

Allowing the lion to be killed in a canned hunt can fetch between $8,000 and $25,000. Soft as I was with the canned hunting of African lions, further research revealed that this practice is ongoing with endangered species around the planet. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora laid down the guidelines for importation of all animals, including trophy kills. The Australian Department of the Environment uses the information as a guide, Australia having been a party to the convention since 1976. I have researched the topic of canned hunting and where Australia sits with this unbelievably cruel practice. I had the great pleasure of meeting Ian Michler, an internationally respected conservationist with more than 15 years experience investigating canned hunting, when he visited Australia and met with me, the minister and other members from both sides of the parliament.

With canned hunting, the big issue of importation into Australia is that we simply cannot tell whether an animal has come into this country as part of a canned hunt or not. I firmly believe we should change the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 not only to stop imports of African lions obtained through canned hunts but to prevent all species obtained through canned hunting listed under the convention's appendices I, II and III from being imported, unless specifically approved by the Minister for the Environment. This would only be for non-commercial conservation, breeding, research and education purposes. I believe we have a moral obligation to do what is right. Indeed, it is also the right decision for our endangered world wildlife. We all have the duty to future generations to do this.

Many believe that hunting of endangered species has economic and conservation benefits for countries involved. This is simply false. A report written by Melbourne economist Roderick Campbell from Economists at Large showed that revenue from trophy hunting represented only two per cent of tourism in Africa and that this tourism revenue is only a small fraction, considering that it is $200 million whereas the economy is $408 billion. Sadly, there are only 7,000 to 8,000 lions left in captivity, 160 of these in privately owned canned hunting reserves.

Just in closing, Albert Einstein once said, 'The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.' The trade in killing of African lions must stop.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Ewen Jones ): Is there a seconder for the motion?

Mrs Prentice: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.