UK Government Unveils One Of 'World's Toughest' Bans On Ivory Sales

The United Kingdom is to almost completely ban the sale of ivory after an extensive public consultation.

The Government announced that they are to bring in some of the most comprehensive ivory trade regulations to be found anywhere in the world to limit the sale of the material, which is predominantly harvested from elephants.

All ivory sales will be banned, save for items produced before 1947 which contain less than 10 percent ivory and musical instruments that are less than 20 percent ivory, made prior to 1975, reports Sky News.

Measures to punish those who breach the new regulations include an unlimited fine and as much as five years in prison.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Elephant conservationists claim that around 20,000 elephants are killed each year for their tusks, and say that reducing the demand for ivory would drastically cut the number of deaths.

The chief executive of Tusk, a charity that seeks to protect elephants, Charlie Mayhew, was enthusiastic about what he called 'tough legislation', though he claimed that the "narrowly defined exemptions are pragmatic."

He added: "The ban will ensure there is no value for modern day ivory and the tusks of recently poached elephants cannot enter the UK market."

The jaws bones of elephants that died as a result of poaching in Kenya. Credit: PA
The jaws bones of elephants that died as a result of poaching in Kenya. Credit: PA

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for the Environment, also commented, saying: "Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol, so we will introduce one of the world's toughest bans on ivory sales to protect elephants for future generations.

"The ban on ivory sales we will bring into law will reaffirm the UK's global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past."

The UK now has one of the toughest laws against the sale of ivory in the world.

Michael Gove. Credit: PA
Michael Gove. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, the United States has a ban that allows for the trade in ivory items over 100 years old, as well as those which are less than half ivory, while China allows for the trade in anything they describe as a 'relic', though they do not define the term.

Ivory can also be harvested from hippos, walruses and narwhals but is mostly taken from elephants. It was previously used to make piano keys, though that was phased out in the 1980s, and now is predominantly a luxury item seen in decorative pieces, often known as 'white gold'.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Mike Wood

Mike Meehall Wood is a freelance journalist and translator. He writes for LADbible, VICE and countless sports publications, focusing on rugby league, football and boxing. He is a graduate of Leeds University and maintains a fizzy pop obsession. Contact Mike at [email protected]

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