UK Moves to Ban the Trade in Ivory, But Activists Say More Pressure is Needed

The UK is moving forward with an effort to close loopholes that allow ivory sales, but animal activists are encouraging people to keep the pressure on to ensure a complete ban succeeds.

With the exception of two government sales held in 1999 and 2008, the international trade in ivory has been banned since 1989. Unfortunately, demand for ivory has led to an increase in poaching and continues to threaten the future survival of vulnerable populations of elephants.

Earlier this year, the UK government banned the sale of ivory that was produced after 1947, but conservationists continue to argue that any sales help perpetuate the demand, and offer a way for illegal ivory to hit markets.

Older ivory can be classified as antique, but concerns have been raised that a loophole allows dealers to claim it was produced before 1947, without having to present any evidence to prove it. Unfortunately, people have been using this loophole to their advantage and selling illegal ivory in the UK.

Now, conservationists are applauding the announcement of a 12-week public consultation, which will give the public a chance to weigh in on the issue for the first time.

The announcement was made by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove and the proposed new ban will prohibit the sale of pre-1947 ivory.

“The decline in the elephant population fuelled by poaching for ivory shames our generation. The need for radical and robust action to protect one of the world’s most iconic and treasured species is beyond dispute. These plans will put the UK front and centre of global efforts to end the insidious trade in ivory,” said Gove. “Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol – so we want to ban its sale.”

The proposed new ban will prohibit the sale of pre-1947 ivory, and is expected to have a few exemptions for musical instruments, items containing only a small portion of ivory, items that have historic, artistic or cultural value, and sales to and between museums. The government will be working with stakeholders over the coming weeks to clearly define exemptions, in addition to working to ensure there are no loopholes that can be exploited.

“We welcome the announcement that the consultation to ban ivory in the UK will start today. We hope this will be followed by a swift legislative process, with no delays, as 20,000 elephants are still being killed every year. The Secretary of State is showing the leadership that is needed for the UK to deliver its international obligations and help save threatened elephants before it is too late,” said David Cowdrey, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

TAKE ACTION!

While the news of the official consultation is being welcomed by conservationists and animal advocacy organizations, a potential ivory ban in the UK has already received widespread public support.

At the end of September, Beth Granter, Care2′s Head of UK Campaigns, delivered a Care2 petition with more than 170,000 signatures to Prime Minister Theresa May, and received a promising response – yet it didn’t come with commitment to end the trade, making it more important than ever to speak up and support this effort.

“The timing of this announcement so soon after Care2 sent the Government this petition, suggests that we are being heard, and we must continue to keep the pressure on until we achieve a full ban on the ivory trade in the UK,” said Granter.

You can help keep the pressure on by signing and sharing the petition urging the UK to end the domestic trade in ivory.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

59 comments

KimJ M
KimJ M6 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M6 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M6 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M6 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M6 months ago

Tfs

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Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Kitty Heardman
Kitty Heardman9 months ago

Thank you

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N T
N T10 months ago

Thank you -- let's keep the awareness going!

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I11 months ago

I also saw a documentary regarding this very issue, and it is very understandable why this is such a challenging problem, sadly.

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I11 months ago

So be it; keep the pressure on!!!

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