Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

United Kingdom outlaws sales of all ivory goods to save elephants from extinction

Ranger in front of burning stacks of ivory AFP GETTYA ranger in front of burning stacks of ivory- the UK are cracking down on the ivory trade
Samantha Long | 04 April, 2018, 01:30

Britain will impose the toughest ban on the sale of ivory anywhere in the world in a bid to prevent the slaughter of 20,000 elephants every year for their tusks.

New penalties for violating the ban will include jail sentences of up to five years and unlimited fines which will apply to sale of ivory items of any age, covering even antique objects.

The decision, which must be approved by parliament, comes after a consultation in which 88% of the 70,000 respondents were in favour of such a ban.

In 2016, the United States adopted a near-total embargo but exempted ivory items older than a century and containing less than 50% ivory, the UK government said.

Other countries have already banned the trade in ivory - expected to make £17 billion a year - but many allow older items to be bought and sold.

Tusk's chief executive Charlie Mayhew welcomed the "tough legislation" and said the "narrowly defined exemptions are pragmatic".

"The ban on ivory sales we will bring into law will reaffirm the UK's global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past".

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Rare antiquities older than 100 years. The Chinese ban exempts ivory "relics", without setting a date before which these must have been produced.

The worldwide commercial trade in ivory has been illegal since 1990, but many countries have long allowed antique ivory to be traded with some conditions.

"We need to leave our planet in a better state for the next generation, with stronger protections for animal welfare, but also cleaner air, greener spaces and tougher action on plastic waste". The U.K. has allowed ivory products crafted before 1947 to change hands freely, along with some items made afterward that have government permits.

Matthew Hatchwell, the director of conservation at the Zoological Society of London, said: "Legal domestic ivory markets are intrinsically linked to the illegal ivory trade that is driving the current poaching crisis. Thanks to this move, in a few years' time we believe the same will be true for the trade in ivory". "A swift process to get the legislation on the statute books is now vital to protect elephants for future generations; there can be no delay".

A study last summer of records under the convention on global trade in endangered species (Cites ) suggested that between 2010 and 2015 Britain was the largest exporter of legal ivory in the world.

"To save elephants, we must stop the killing on the ground, and stop the trafficking of and demand for ivory".

Following on from the ground breaking conference on the illegal wildlife trade held in London in 2014, the United Kingdom will host the fourth worldwide conference on the illegal wildlife trade in October.

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