Petition to Close UK’s Domestic Ivory Market

Will Travers OBE, President and CEO of the Born Free Foundation has asked that we share this petition to close the UK domestic ivory market.

The aim is to acquire a minimum of 100,000 signatures so that this Petition is considered for debate in Parliament.

Please SHARE AND PROMOTE the link:

Diminishing elephant populations across Africa due to the ivory trade is an international concern and the UK has the opportunity to help end this global poaching crisis now. Thousands of elephants are mercilessly killed each year to meet the increasing demand for non-essential ivory products across the  globe. There are a number of debated measures to combat the destructive trade. Banning all domestic trade nation by nation is a crucial step.

Elephants are increasingly considered to have intrinsic value as individual animals. Furthermore, the rate of the ever decreasing populations of elephants in a number of African countries have both urgent and far reaching environmental and ecological concerns for many. As well as those who advocate for the conservation of elephants as a species and against the significant harm done to large numbers of elephants through the trade in ivory, many are concerned that the well-organised crime operations directly involved in wildlife trafficking pose a threat to global security whilst these large scale operations fuel international criminal networks. At a more local level anti-poaching patrols put their lives on the line every day in an ongoing battle to defeat those entangled in the horrific industry.

The current UK legislation prohibits the domestic trade of illegal ivory yet allows existing ‘antique’ ivory to be traded. This legislation is unworkable as it does not prevent the illegal trade. It cannot be effectively monitored thereby providing a loophole for criminals. A significant number of wildlife conservationists and biologists are united in the need for a change in the law in the UK and elsewhere. The UK can do its part in closing the entire domestic market. We cannot afford to allow any trade in ivory, antique or otherwise, whilst those involved in the illegal poaching industry can exploit these existing markets which provide cover for illegal ivory.

Full domestic bans in ivory trade, and the trade of other endangered animal parts, have been brought in elsewhere and recently across the United States in the states of Oregon, Washington and California following significant public support and concern. In banning the domestic trade of all ivory, wildlife traffickers are restricted in their operations thereby reducing the incentive to poach.

The issue is no doubt complex and requires additional considerations to include awareness, adequate enforcement of the legislation, training for enforcement officers, prioritisation and improved communication with other countries. Yet it is evident that in urgently amending our legislation so as to put an end to the UK market in ivory full stop, we can greatly assist in ending the poaching crisis.

Author: Alice Collinson, Animal Law LL.M student at Lewis and Clark Law School, USA, and non-practicing UK litigation solicitor.

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