UK To Ban Ivory Sales

A wildlife ranger stands guard as tusks seized from poachers are burnt in Kenya. About 20,000 elephants a year are killed

David Cowdrey, Head of Policy and Campaigns at IFAW, said: "Today's announcement shows the Government is serious in introducing one of the toughest ivory bans in the world".

There were more than 70,000 responses to the consultation, with over 88 percent of responses in favour of the ban.

Anyone found in violation of the new laws can face an unlimited fine and up to five years in jail.

Wildlife campaigners believe around 20,000 elephants a year are being slaughtered for their ivory, and that reducing global demand for their tusks is an important part of ending the carnage.

Exemptions from the ban have been tightened since the consultation was published. Such items must be at least 100 years old and their rarity and importance will be assessed by specialist institutions such as the UK's most prestigious museums before exemption permits are issued. China permits trade in "relics" without a specified age, and the U.S. exempts objects over a century old, as well as those with less than 50% ivory.

The chief executive of Tusk, a charity that seeks to protect elephants, Charlie Mayhew, was enthusiastic about what he called "tough legislation", though he claimed that the "narrowly defined exemptions are pragmatic".

World Wildlife Fund chief executive Tanya Steele said around 55 African elephants were being killed for their ivory every day.

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WWF chief executive Tanya Steele said the ban made the United Kingdom a "global leader in tackling this bloody trade".

Currently, the U.S. federal ban exempts all items older than 100 years as well as items with up to 50% ivory content. The Chinese ban exempts ivory "relics", without setting a date before which these must have been produced.

"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".

Musical instruments made before 1975 with less than 20% ivory. China has always been one of the world's biggest markets for ivory, but as of 2018 all trade in ivory and ivory products in the country is illegal.

The present law, in common with those of many other countries, bans the sale of raw elephant ivory of any age but allows trade in ivory objects worked before 1947 without any certificate - causing inevitable problems over the date of manufacture - and post-1947 objects with a certificate.

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. 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".

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