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Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds blasts 'sick, cowardly' trophy hunting

Mirror logo Mirror 16/08/2019 Ben Glaze
Carrie Symonds et al. standing next to a person © REUTERS

Boris Johnson’s girlfriend tonight blasted “cruel, sick, cowardly” trophy hunting as she made her first public speech since entering No10.

Environmental campaigner Carrie Symonds hit out at the callous practice which sees enthusiasts armed with high-powered rifles slaughter beautiful creatures like lions, zebras and elephants before collecting their carcasses as “prizes”.

They then display their stuffed souvenirs, proud of their kill.

Speaking at an event in Oakham, Leicestershire, Miss Symonds said: “Why would anyone want to destroy something so beautiful, then stuff its poor lifeless body to keep as some kind of macabre trophy?

“A trophy is meant to be a prize, something you’re awarded if you’ve achieved something of merit that requires great skill and talent.

“Trophy hunting is not that - it is the opposite of that.

“It is cruel, it is sick, it is cowardly and I will never, ever understand the motivation to do it.”

a person holding an umbrella © REUTERS

The Mirror is campaigning to End Trophy Hunting in a battle backed by celebrities, MPs, peers and conservation charities.

Arriving at the speech at the Birdfair event in Rutland, she held an umbrella and wore green wellies, a floral dress and a red handbag

Activists hope Miss Symonds’ strong opposition to the practice could be a key driver in forcing the Government to outlaw trophy hunters from bringing their sick souvenirs back into Britain - making a shoot costing tens of thousands of pounds far less attractive to tourists.

She backed the Mirror’s campaign last month by tweeting a cover story showing a couple kissing next to a dead lion.

a person looking at the camera © REUTERS

Miss Symonds, 31, said then: “A Mirror front page I wholeheartedly agree with!

“Trophy hunting is sick. Photos like this of people posing with corpses of magnificent animals they’ve just shot are barbaric & cruel.

“Will never understand it.”

The speech at the Birdfair event in Rutland was Miss Symonds’ first public address since her partner became Prime Minister three weeks ago.

In Pictures: Here's everything you need to know about Boris Johnson's partner Carrie Symonds, who is set to become the only 'first girlfriend' in British history [Business Insider]

The pair have moved into Downing Street, and she was pictured this week meeting guests at a reception for hospice workers inside No10.

She spoke movingly about a bird watching trip to the “stunning” Bempton Cliffs, East Yorks, where she and Mr Johnson were pictured in May, spotting gannets, razorbills, guillemots.

Chris Packham et al. posing for the camera © REUTERS a lion lying down in the dirt: END THIS HORROR: Darren and Carolyn Carter, from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, celebrate their kill on a hunting trip with Legelela safaris in South Africa © Collect Unknown END THIS HORROR: Darren and Carolyn Carter, from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, celebrate their kill on a hunting trip with Legelela safaris in South Africa

She said: “What I really wanted to see was a puffin.

“We spent hours looking. I was on tiptoes leaning over the cliffs, craning my neck, peering through my binoculars, desperately trying to glimpse one.

“We were about to give up, about to go home.

“But suddenly, there he was - and when I saw that puffin in all its glory, I was just delighted.

“He was so tiny that at first I thought it was a baby, a puffling.

“But when he turned his head and I caught a glimpse of that rainbow bill I knew I’d found the right guy.

“It was magic, something I’ll never forget - and then, just a couple of weeks later I saw another puffin.

“But this one wasn’t waddling happily in and out of his burrow.

“No. He was pictured in a newspaper, his bloodstained body lined up alongside dozens of others, all slaughtered by so-called ‘trophy hunters’ on trips to Iceland.

“I ask you, why would anyone want to shoot a puffin?

“Why would anyone want to destroy something so beautiful, then stuff its poor lifeless body to keep as some kind of macabre trophy?”

Tim Appleton, founder of the birdwatching conference, said the event has raised £40million for global conservation projects in the 31 years it has been running and described it as the “biggest ecotourism fair in the world”.

He added: “We’re absolutely over the moon that Carrie is supporting us and we hope she will continue supporting us and conservation for many years to come.”

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