On 6th February 2017 the UK Parliament will debate ‘Shut down the domestic ivory market in the UK’, thanks to a petition reaching over 100,000 signatures.
It’s vital to get MPs of all parties to attend the debate and throw their full support behind this EDM calling for a full ban on ivory trade in the UK.
As the government continues to delay in implementing a ban – which it has promised in two election manifestos – and continues to put the interests of the antiques trade ahead of its commitment and ahead of the very survival of elephants in the wild, this debate is a critical opportunity to push for a ban – there may not be another chance for a long time.
Please write to your MP to urge them to support this crucial measure. You can easily look up your MP here – click on their email address and send them the letter below (or use your own words!).
Dear [name of MP]
Re: debate in Parliament on 6th Feb – EDM 859
I am writing to you with regard to the UK ivory trade and its role in the current poaching crisis, which is threatening the African elephant with extinction.
At present a legal ivory trade exists in the UK, feeding one of the largest markets for ivory in Europe. Significant amounts of ivory are also sold through online marketplaces in the UK. The existence of a legal trade serves as a cover for illegal sales of ivory, while continuing to perpetuate the cycle of supply and demand. The laws that attempt to regulate the ivory trade in the UK have proved to be ineffective and unworkable, and ivory sellers – whether market traders or high-end auction houses – continue to sell ivory without the required paperwork. The police and the courts don’t have the resources to monitor the trade or prosecute all cases where the law is broken.
This crisis is the result of an unrelenting hunger for ivory in global markets, especially China and other Asian countries. The most effective way to halt this crisis is through demand reduction strategies. I believe that governments have a crucial role to play in these strategies by exercising their legislative powers.
The past two years have seen an increase in international momentum to ban ivory. China recently announced it will close its domestic ivory market by the end of this year. Despite pledging to move for a total ban on ivory, in both the 2010 and 2015 election manifestos, the Conservative government is now lagging behind other global powers in its inaction regarding this issue. A recent parliamentary petition, calling for the end of the UK ivory trade, reached 100,000 signatures and triggered a debate that will take place on 6th February 2017. This is a significant opportunity for the UK to shut down its domestic ivory markets and show leadership in the fight to end the ivory trade globally and to do all it can to save elephants from extinction in the wild.
Concerns have been voiced about antique ivory artifacts in museums, collections and private ownership. The ban would not result in the destruction of any such items. It would simply shut down all buying and selling of ivory and send the message that it has no economic value.
I urge you to attend this debate and put all your support behind Early Day Motion 859 Action to Tackle the Ivory Trade. It’s high time for the UK government to fulfill its pledge and take decisive action in completely closing its own domestic ivory markets.