Opinion: We cannot gamble away our natural world
PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 October 2017
On October 18 I delivered the main speech in a debate in the House of Commons titled Animals in Peril.
I decided to arrange this debate because recently I have seen many statistics that show the massive declines in animal populations worldwide.
Elephant and rhino populations in particular have suffered deeply due to poaching. For example, the decline in the black rhino population shows a collapse of 95per cent in the past 50 years.
I am always horrified to hear of the unlawful and sickening trades that affect wildlife around the globe. Britain is a nation of people who stand up for animal rights and we must prevent the world from becoming an uninspiring land, empty of iconic animals such as those above.
The UK has done a great deal to protect animals across the world. For instance, we are home to the world’s first animal welfare charity and the earliest case of animal welfare legislation. We do not want to wake up to a world where we suddenly have to contemplate the loss of such iconic creatures, but sadly we face the real prospect of that happening.
I was very pleased to see such warm support for my speech from many environmental organisations such as the Zoological Society of London, but the message from these organisations remains clear: we cannot simply gamble away the future of the natural world through our own waste and exploitation.
We must fulfil our duty to secure conservation and scientific discovery for the younger generation, and guarantee our devotion and resources to solve these challenges. We must never let nature become a lower priority and I implore the Department for International Development to re-evaluate how it spends money and consider how it can provide more help for anti-poaching efforts and environmental conservation.
Time is not on our side.