Justin Tomlinson MP has welcomed confirmation from the Government that it will introduce new legislation to ban sale of ivory.
The new legislation will ensure the UK has some of the strictest legislation on trade in ivory anywhere in the world and act to reaffirm Britain’s commitment to address the dramatic decline in elephant populations (with the hope of eventually reversing this decline to establish sustainable populations of the animal going forward).
Each year an estimated 20,000 elephants are killed by ivory poachers in an organised black market of illegal wildlife poaching which is believed to be worth around £17 billion. The ivory taken from elephants is often used in the manufacture of ornaments, as well as other small objects and herbal medicines.
Justin has been a vocal advocate in Parliament for a ban since he was elected in 2010; recognising that the ban was integral to securing elephants for future generations, while also protecting tourism revenue that is vital to some of the world’s poorest countries.
He led debates on the subject in Westminster Hall & the House of Commons, and actively pressed Ministers to outlaw the sale of ivory in all its forms.
Over 70,000 people responded to the Government’s consultation on banning ivory sales. 88% of them were unequivocally in favour of the ban. The ban as it is constituted will cover ivory items of all ages, and will remove previous exemptions, including those for musical instruments and items containing ‘small’ amounts of ivory. Breaking the ban will result in a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison.
The Government has also led the way at the UN and the EU in calling for international agreements banning the sale of ivory. The UK has called for an international moratorium on ‘raw’ ivory, which is currently not banned in some EU countries.
Furthermore the UK military is currently engaged in training park rangers in poacher interception techniques across several key African nations, in order reduce the prevalence of this abhorrent practice which helps fund crime & terrorism.
Justin hopes to speak in support of the new Ivory Bill when it comes before Parliament in the near future.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I am delighted that the Government following the consultation is pressing though with these plans to ban trading in ivory. In Parliament, I have led debates on this subject, and pay tribute to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which has really moved ground on this issue. Elephants need protection if we are to preserve them for future generation and I’m proud it is the UK leading the way in tackling this abhorrent trade.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Ivory should never be 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. 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.”
Chief Executive of The Tusk Trust, Charlie Mayhew MBE said: “We are delighted that the Government has listened to our concerns and given the overwhelming public response to their consultation is now moving decisively to introduce tough legislation to ban the trade in ivory in the UK. The narrowly defined exemptions are pragmatic. The ban will ensure there is no value for modern day ivory and the tusks of recently poached elephants cannot enter the UK market. We welcome the fact that Ministers are sending such a clear message to the world that the illegal wildlife trade will not be tolerated and every effort will be made to halt the shocking decline in Africa’s elephant population in recent years.”