Trophy Hunting

What is trophy hunting?

Trophy hunting is the stalking and killing of wild animals with guns or bows and arrows with the purpose of obtaining part of the animal as a trophy to represent the success of the hunt.

We believe this multi-million pound industry is unjustifiable from an animal welfare point of view, but also for conservation, as it is responsible for endangering  several species around the world.

Hunter hunting a stag

Cecil the Lion

In July 2015, international public outcry followed the killing of a lion called Cecil. Cecil was a ‘famous’ protected lion in Zimbabwe, but he was killed by a trophy hunting American dentist, who claimed he wouldn’t have shot Cecil if he had known he was famous. Cecil was first shot with an arrow and after 40 hours of agony was finally shot dead with a gun, which is not an unusual occurrence in trophy hunting.

The killing of Cecil was a watershed moment. It opened the world’s eyes to the continuing slaughter of animals by trophy hunters. Cecil represented the thousands of unnamed animals who are killed every year for 'sport’ and strengthened the call for trophy hunters to stop.

Trophy hunting and conservation

As with trophy hunting in other parts of the world, trophy hunting in the UK is justified as ‘wildlife management’ or ‘conservation’. In Africa for example, trophy hunters justify killing lions, elephants and other animals by saying the money paid benefits local conservation and communities, as well as endangered species.

However, reports have shown that this argument does not ring true.

During an undercover investigation carried out by us in 2004 , Sir Edward Dashwood, director of the E J Churchill Sporting Agency, admitted to investigators that "90% of the trophy fee goes straight into some Nigerian's pocket or African politician or whatever it is."

Other reports have put the amount of money raised by trophy hunting that goes back into some local African communities as around three per cent.

In 2016 according to the NY Times, a new report by the Democratic staff of the House Natural Resources Committee found there was little evidence that the money is being used to help threatened species, mostly because of rampant corruption in some countries and poorly managed wildlife programs.

It concludes that trophy hunting may be contributing to the extinction of certain animals.

Lion in the wild

What is the League doing about trophy hunting?

During 2019 in the UK , we were involved in the exposure of trophy hunting at Woburn Abbey Deer Park, where it was revealed that a tour company was offering trophy hunters from around the world the chance to shoot the deer bred there. We have campaigned for a long time to ban trophy hunting.

Reports that we have carried out, include:

  • The Myth of Trophy Hunting as Conservation, which exposed the truth about how much money from the trophy hunting industry goes into conservation.
  • Wild About Killing, investigated the involvement of British travel agents in trophy hunting

We’ve lobbied Members of the European Parliament to ban the importation of hunting trophies, most recently calling on MEPs to sign a European Parliament motion calling for a ban on hunting trophies being imported into Europe.


How can I help stop trophy hunting?

  • Contact us if you have any information about companies promoting or profiting from trophy hunting.
  • Contact our supporter-funded Animal Crimewatch team in confidence with any information so we can investigate
  • Share this page on your social media

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