Ivory trade to be banned in UK, Michael Gove announces

Posted On: 
6th October 2017

The sale and purchase of ivory is set to be banned in the UK in a bid to protect elephants, Michael Gove has announced.

Reports suggest Britain exported more than 36,000 antique and legal ivory carvings between 2010 and 2015, making it the world’s biggest market.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Environment Secretary said there will be an immediate consultation aimed at ending all ivory trade - including antiques produced before 1947.

In September 2016 a ban was placed on “modern day ivory sales” in the UK.

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The ban ensured that any items which contained ivory “dated between 1947 and the present day” would be banned from markets. However this left the door open for the continued sale of antique items, which dated back to before the 1947 cut-off. 

Reports suggest Britain exported more than 36,000 antique and legal ivory carvings between 2010 and 2015. 

Conservationists welcomed the news, and claimed the exportation had increased elephant poaching in Africa.

The Environment Secretary’s consultation will begin immediately and the ban could be in place by the new year.

Mr Gove said: "The decline in the elephant population fuelled by poaching for ivory shames our generation.

"The need for radical and robust action to protect one of the world's most iconic and treasured species is beyond dispute.

"Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol - so we want to ban its sale.

"These plans will put the UK front and centre of global efforts to end the insidious trade in ivory."

Andrea Leadsom, when she was Environment Secretary, also announced a ban on the trade in 2016 but the consultation never happened.