The following is an excerpt from Nick Visser | April 3, 2018 | Huffingtonpost.com |
The United Kingdom on Tuesday said it plans to introduce one of the world’s most rigorous bans on ivory sales in an effort to stop the slaughter of elephants and combat a rampant illegal trade in animal parts.
“Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol, so we will introduce one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales to protect elephants for future generations,” Michael Gove, Britain’s environment secretary, said in a statement. “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.”
Elephant poaching has been in decline over the past five years thanks to a rise in trading bans and fierce environmental action. But tens of thousands of the animals are still poached every year for their tusks at a rate of about 55 per day.
The international commercial trade in ivory has been illegal since 1990, but many countries have long allowed antique ivory to be traded with some conditions. The U.K. has allowed ivory products crafted before 1947 to change hands freely, along with some items made afterward that have government permits.
However, environmentalists say such loopholes allow poachers and traffickers to pass off new ivory as legitimate.
The new provisions will almost completely close the gaps and only allow the sale of a small class of products, including antique items made with less than 10 percent ivory, musical instruments made prior to 1975 with similar compositions and the “rarest and most important items of their type” that are at least 100 years old. Accredited museums are also excluded.
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