‘SICKENING’ trophy hunting companies due to attend an NEC gun show have prompted a protest petition with more than 30,000 signatures.
Hunting safari companies – some offering the chance to shoot elephants, giraffes, rhinos, hippos and other endangered species – will attend the Great British Shooting Show exhibition in February.
The three-day event is to be held at the NEC in Solihull and the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting (CBTH) says it will bring shame on the region and Britain if the companies are hosted.
The show’s website states that it brings together more hunting and safari companies than any other event – and promises ‘dreams can become a reality’.
Of its exhibitors, 13 are hunting and safari companies, some advertising chilling price lists – specifying which animals can be killed and for how much.
Many of the companies’ websites feature images of hunters proudly standing over dead animals – some even celebrating with their children.
Some of the companies offer highly controversial enclosed hunts called ‘canned hunts’ – mostly of lions – while others advertise hunts with hounds.
Several companies offer hunts of the famous ‘big five’ (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) species while some include packages to kill using crossbows.
The pressure group’s petition – with 31,293 signatures – addressed to the NEC’s chief executive Paul Thandi calls for the major venue not to host the trophy hunt companies.
A contingent of Green Party councillors in Solihull have also slammed the event and are set to write to Mr Thandi about their concerns.
Founder of the CBTH Eduardo Goncalves said: “The NEC is a highly prestigious, world-renowned exhibition and conference centre.
“And now it is going to be forever known as the place that allowed these merchants of death to come and sell to a British public that is overwhelmingly against these sick sports.
“Four of the trophy hunting companies organise what’s called ‘canned’ lion hunts where you get to shoot a lion in an enclosure, with no chance of escape.
“And this is a growing market. Where people hunt lions in these factory farms, being bred in captivity to be shot for fun.
“It brings shame on our nation and on Solihull.”
Mr Goncalves says he has written to MPs in Birmingham and Solihull to make them aware of the event.
A spokesperson for the NEC – the home of Crufts dog show – said: “The NEC hosts a vast variety of exhibitions and events every year and is open to permitting all content types, providing events are safe for those attending and are legal according to UK law.
“We are aware that some of these events will be deemed by the wider public to be more controversial than others, and completely understand the viewpoints that can be associated with them.”
We have contacted the Great British Shooting Show for comment.