Shut down the domestic ivory market in the UK

Stephen Wiggins Event Leave a Comment

Petition – “Shut down the domestic ivory market in the UK”

16 November 2016 – Call on DEFRA to shut the United Kingdom’s ivory trade (event page link),

We will meet directly outside DEFRA, this will give people time to filter in the small area outside the DEFRA building, Nobel House, 17 Noble Square, London,
SW1P 3JR.”



At the moment, the United Kingdom’s domestic ivory trade is (theoretically) limited to “antique” ivory – worked ivory pieces pre-dating 3 March 1947. However, the means that ‘professional’ UK ivory auctioneers and traders use to identify acceptable pieces is by an “appraiser’s eye” – no science, no carbon dating, just someone’s personal opinion (by eye).

The UK has proved to be a hub for ivory that is not “antique,” but is still being openly traded, as highlighted in the BBC’s “Saving Africa’s elephants – Hugh and the ivory war.”

The 2015 Conservative Party Manifesto (page 55) pledged to “tackle international wildlife trade” with a promise to “press for a total ban on ivory sales.” This pledge for a ivory trading ban has yet to happen. The question is why, when the evidence is clear that the United Kingdom trade is not being regulated/restricted to “antique” ivory? The continuing ivory trade is perpetuating demand, tacitly providing an outlet for illegal ivory and the scourge of poaching for ‘modern ivory.’

On 5 October 2016, CITES issued a (draft) decision  (CoP17 Com. II. 6) regarding ivory trading – “DRAFT DECISIONS AND AMENDMENT TO RESOLUTION CONF. 10.10 (REV. COP16) ON TRADE IN ELEPHANT SPECIMENS.”

This CITES decision calls for its 183 Parties (countries) to close ‘legal’ ivory markets to combat the elephant poaching crisis:

RECOMMENDS that all Parties and non-Parties in whose jurisdiction there is a legal domestic market for ivory that is contributing to poaching or illegal trade, take all necessary legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory as a matter of urgency.”

On 11 September 2016, the  IUCN, Motion 007 called for the “Closure of domestic markets for elephant ivory:

URGES the governments of countries in which there is a legal domestic market for elephant ivory, or any domestic commerce in elephant ivory, to make all necessary legislative and regulatory efforts to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw or worked elephant ivory.”

So, there is clear international backing for an end to ivory trading, so let’s make it happen.

Hope to see you in London, 16 November calling for a complete United Kingdom ivory trading ban.


Further reading:

The Government Must Take Opportunity To Close Ivory Market,” The Huffington Post, 25 October 2016



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