We Must Block the Ivory Trade before Elephants Become Extinct

The Evening Standard (London, England), October 6, 2017 | Go to article overview

We Must Block the Ivory Trade before Elephants Become Extinct


Byline: Michael Gove

COULD we ever look our grandchildren in the eye if we were the generation on whose watch the African elephant became extinct? There is a magnificence and beauty to the elephant that makes it an iconic species, but also an increasingly endangered one.

Every year, approximately 20,000 African elephants are slaughtered. That's 54 every day. And all to meet the global demand for illegal ivory.

Unless we take action, one of the world's most majestic creatures could be extinct within decades. Robust action is required now to tackle the ivory trade and to save the elephant.

The demand for ivory is driven by the desire of misguided buyers to acquire this trophy asset. And, sadly, Britain has been a route for some of this trade.

In order to ensure that no illegal ivory is bought, sold or trafficked through Britain, we want to impose some of the toughest restrictions in the world on this brutal and exploitative trade. That is why I am proposing to ban the sale of ivory items.

Our proposal will put the UK at the forefront of a global effort to end this trade. We will be talking to conservationists, the arts and antiques sectors and other interested parties to explore practical enforcement. We will consult on the scope of a few, tightly limited exemptions for items where ivory is only a tiny component part of a much bigger object, or where items are of such significant historic, artistic or cultural value that they can be properly verified as exceptional. …

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