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1 arrested at animal rights protest in northwest Edmonton Saturday

A woman was arrested Saturday during a protest in support of animal rights.

The woman was a part of a small group of demonstrators gathered at the Italian Cultural Centre, where a trophy hunting organization was meeting.

The Safari Club International’s (the SCI) northern chapter’s 2024 banquet took place at the centre Saturday night.

The SCI is a “hunting rights” organization with an “all-species focus.”

According to the northern chapter’s Facebook page, a 10-day eight-animal hunt in Africa was to be auctioned off at the event.

Trophy hunting advocates say money from sport hunting supports animal conservation efforts, while advocates say the killing of the largest, strongest or most endangered animals does more harm than good.

“We’re basically here because we want to see a stop to the importation and exportation of wildlife,” said Tove Reece, organizer and executive director of Voice for Animals. “People are going out and killing elephants and rhinos and other animals that are highly endangered.”

At one point, a woman with the demonstration threw red material over the door and steps of the cultural centre. 

A protester threw a red material over the steps of the Italian Cultural Centre during a demonstration against trophy hunting on April 6, 2024. (Sean Amato/CTV News Edmonton)Police were called and the protester was arrested for mischief. Reece told police after the materal was washable. 

In addition to protesting the SCI event, demonstrators called for the federal government to draft legislation to ban trophy hunting in Canada.

“There are a lot of countries now that are banning trophy hunting, and we think it’s time Canada stepped up and did the same thing. There’s no need for this.”

In 2023, Canada banned the import and export of hunting trophies containing elephant or rhino horns in an effort to protect those species amid global declines in animal populations.

According to the Humane Society International, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Finland had all put bans and restrictions on the importation of hunting trophies by July 2023. 

The organizer of the SCI banquet chose not to comment.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Sean Amato and CTV News’ Alexandra Mae Jones

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