THPR worked with the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, a non-profit organisation committed to animal welfare, to generate publicity leading up to the Third Reading of the government bill, titled ‘Sally’s Law’, introduced by Henry Smith MP to prohibit trophy hunting imports.
And the good news is, we won! The bill passed after a vote in the House of Commons on 17th March.
The Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting was set up in 2018 by Eduardo Goncalves, former WWF International Director Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, and actor and leading animal advocate, Peter Egan. It garnered cross-party support, and endorsement by big celebrity names including Dame Joanna Lumley, Dame Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais.
The Cause: A pre-cursor to an international trophy hunting ban?
The issue of trophy hunting was one that was close to our hearts as the current legislation allows hunters to import the remains of hundreds of beautiful and endangered animals including lions, polar bears, tigers and rhinos.
We weren’t the only ones shocked to learn about trophy hunting as a survey conducted by Survation, polling 1,873 voters, found that over 80% of constituents championed the passage of the bill.
The bill itself was named after a tiger cub called Sally who was safely rescued from trophy hunting in South Africa during a private investigation by Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting in 2022. Sally’s story was revealed in the “Saving Sally” film which exposed undercover dealings and the harsh realities of canned trophy hunting, where tiger cubs are removed from their mothers, hand reared, and then shot by hunters in enclosures. Happily, Sally is now safe in a secret location.
Our work: Public relations and animal activism
We worked with the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting on a supercharged two-month campaign. Our key objective was to generate press coverage to get enough MPs in the House of Commons to vote. As ‘Sally’s Law’ was a Private Member’s Bill, at least 42 MPs were required for the vote to be quorate.
These bills often pass ‘on the nod.’ However, Christopher Chope MP tabled hostile amendments to block the bill, while Sir Bill Wiggins MP additionally tabled amendments to the bill.
The campaign’s success was due in part to its creative activations, such as the launch of the “Saving Sally” film and celebrity news featuring stars who supported the campaign like Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, and Ricky Gervais, to name a few. We targeted local and regional press using the Survation poll result and pictures captured from guerilla projections on key landmarks in cities throughout the country.
THPR also helped to organise a media day in Parliament on March 15th, which was attended by top-tier journalists from The Guardian, Daily Mail, and The Times and household celebrities like Charles Dance, Peter Egan, and Vicki Michelle.
We achieved widespread local, regional, and national news, both online and print, and some fantastic broadcast opportunities featuring Dame Joanna Lumley, Downton Abbey’s Peter Egan and campaign founder, Eduardo Goncalves on BBC News, Sky News and LBC. Our total potential news reach was 5.22 billion!
Eduardo, who worked tirelessly on the bill, said of the result: “The outcome of today’s debate signifies a momentous stride towards enshrining this bill into law, concerning a matter that is morally indefensible. I express my appreciation to the government for respecting their pledge to the electorate and for effecting the aspirations of an overwhelming majority of people who support this bill. The act of callously slaying innocent animals is and always has been an intolerable transgression of decency. This is a victory for wildlife and for our tireless supporters. We hope that this vote inspires other governments to follow likewise.”
Meanwhile, Henry Smith MP commented: “This is an issue that has nothing to do with party politics; it has everything to do with basic British values of decency, fairness, and respect for our natural world. I am proud to say that today we rightfully stood up for voiceless animals.”
THPR are thrilled by the outcome and we’re looking forward to supporting the campaign when it goes to the House of Lords.
Read about our work with Spotify’s First Chief Economist, Will Page.