Great news as the UK Government confirms ban on ivory sales!

David Cowdrey – International Fund for Animal Welfare – 3 April 2018

“Today is a great day for elephants, as the UK Government has announced a ban on ivory sales will go ahead, with a pledge that the ban will be the toughest in Europe and one of the toughest in the world!

Environment Secretary Michael Gove shared the news, saying that “Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol.”

We’ve long been campaigning for this to happen, and for the UK to end its role in a trade that is contributing to the slaughter of more than 20,000 elephants a year, pushing this magnificent species to a tipping point.

The announcement follows a public consultation which closed in January. Thank you to the thousands of IFAW supporters who responded; in total, more than 70,000 people made their views known, making this one of Defra’s most engaging consultations of all time! This shows what huge public support there is for action to help save elephants. According to a recent YouGov poll, an overwhelming 95% of people in the UK would never want to purchase ivory, even if it was ‘antique’.

We’re especially pleased that the proposed new legislation will cover ivory items of all ages – not only those produced after a certain date, as is currently the case – and also contains tough new penalties to act as a real deterrent. Michael Gove also confirmed that, in line with the approach taken by other countries such as the United States and China, there will be certain narrowly-defined and carefully-targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute to the poaching of elephants.

The new exemptions for the ivory ban include certain musical instruments, rare and historically important items over 100 years old, antique miniatures and trade between museums. We’re in favour of a pragmatic ban that will make a real difference to the current poaching crisis, so it’s great to see that the Government has taken our input on board, and is now poised to introduce strong legislation that should consign the ivory trade to the history books where it belongs.

By showing global leadership, we hope that the UK ban will also encourage the European Union, and other countries around the world such as Japan and Australia, to outlaw ivory, too. Only with global action can we save elephants for future generations.

Of course, we’ll also be doing everything we can to ensure this ban comes into place as quickly as possible. Thank you so much to everyone who’s helped us get this far – we couldn’t have done it without you!”

Who is David Cowdrey?
Head of Policy and Campaigns, United Kingdom

David joined IFAW UK in 2016 and manages the Policy & Campaigns team, promoting and advocating IFAW’s international and domestic campaigns covering illegal wildlife trade, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), elephants, whales, companion animals and British wildlife, as well as leading the political lobbying within Parliament and with key Government departments.

Previously David had worked for WWF for over 11 years, partly as the Director of the illegal wildlife trade campaign, which changed the law in the UK and made Control of Trade in Endangered Species (COTES) offences arrestable for the first time and introduced the first ever sentencing guidance for Magistrates in the UK on Wildlife Crime. While working at WWF David also covered communications for international conferences including CITES, Climate Change and International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings as well as leading the Press & Media Relations team in the UK.

David has worked for Guide Dogs for the Blind as Head of Policy & Campaigns leading successful campaigns to introduce talking buses in the UK, changing street designs and introducing artificial engine noise for quiet hybrid and electric vehicles in the EU. David has also worked as Head of Communications for the RSPCA, coving a range of UK animal welfare issues including companion animals, hunting with dogs and badgers. He also worked for the Environment Agency as a scientist in the hydrology team and then moved in to Communications and Campaigning with the Agency.”

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