The U.K. will ban ivory trade sales in an action that is said to be one of the toughest in the world, according to Environment Secretary, Michael Grove. The move seeks to go further than the U.S. and China who ban ivory sales in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
The U.S. ivory ban exempts objects older than 100 years and items up to 50% ivory while China exempts “relics” without an exact definition. Every year, campaigners say about 20,000 elephants are killed for their tusk.
After the Department of Environmental, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation of more than 70,000 responses, 88 percent responded in favour of the ban.
“The ban will ensure there is no value for modern-day ivory and the tusks of recently poached elephants cannot enter the UK market,” Mr Grove said on the DEFA website. The press release states those found violating the band could serve up to five years in jail or receive an unlimited fine.
The Guardian reports that the U.K. ban, which has yet to have a date to be introduced for legislation will be introduced for legislation exclude ivory used for musical instruments made before 1975 in small amounts, some antiques, and museums objects.
“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,” Mr Grove said, according to the DEFA website.
An analysis by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency reported last year that the U.K.is the world’s largest exporters of legal ivory to Hong Kong.
According to National Geographic, a ban on the commercial trade of ivory across international borders came into effect in 1990 but many countries continued to allow domestic buying and selling.
DEFA said the transatlantic illegal trading of ivory as estimated to be worth up to £17 billion year which affects the economic and growth of developing of the world’s poorest countries.
Questions we’d like to explore
Do you think the sale of ivory should be banned?
Why do you think the U.K. is making this decision now?
How important is the sale of ivory around the world to you?