UK to announce strict ban on ivory trade sales

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The UK 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 banned ivory sales in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

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After the Department of Environmental, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation solicited more than 70,000 responses, 88 percent responded in favour of the ban.

The Guardian reports that the forthcoming ban will exclude ivory used for musical instruments made before 1975 in small amounts, some antiques, and museums objects.

The U.S. ivory ban exempts objects older than 100 years and those items which contain up to 50 percent ivory. China’s ban exempts “relics” without an exact definition. Campaigners say about 20,000 elephants are killed for their tusks each year.

“The ban will ensure there is no value for modern-day ivory and the tusks of recently poached elephants cannot enter the UK market,” 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.

“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,” said Grove.

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.

DEFA said the transatlantic illegal ivory trade is estimated to be worth up to £17 billion a year.

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