Our View

Sales of raw (or ‘unworked’) ivory should be banned.

Sales of 'worked' ivory should be banned, with strictly limited exemptions for antiques containing a very small amount of ivory, musical instruments and sales to and between museums.

The Government’s proposed exemption for items of artistic, cultural or historic significance would be vague, subjective and complicated to administer and enforce. It could also be used as a loophole for the illegal ivory trade. Those sorts of items should only be bought by museums so they can be preserved and viewed by everyone. They would be covered by the general museum exemption and there would be no need for another exemption.

The definition of museums should be tightly drafted so only accredited museums are included.

Image credit: Elephant Family by Pierre Gleizes

Imports and exports: Commercial imports and exports of ALL items containing ivory should be banned (even a small amount of ivory). People may be allowed to import or export worked ivory for non-commercial purposes such as moving house or inheriting a piece. Museums may be able to buy worked ivory from other countries but should not be able to sell it to museums in other countries because it would be too difficult to work out if they are properly-regulated.

Our proposal would not stop individuals from owning or displaying ivory, giving it away as a gift or bequeathing or inheriting ivory. Similarly, displays of ivory by museums, or donations, bequests or loans to museums, would not be affected.

We are not proposing that privately-held ivory should be destroyed. We do support governments who decide to destroy their stockpiles of confiscated ivory.

Our aim is to stop people making money out of dealing in ivory. Removing ivory's economic value is critical in the fight to halt trafficking in ivory, end the laundering of illegal ivory through the legal system and, ultimately, remove the poachers' incentive to kill elephants.