The letter has been issued in response to the Government’s announcement in September that it would implement a ban on sales of “modern day ivory”. It also coincides with the broadcast of the second episode of BBC1’s Saving Africa’s Elephants: Hugh And The Ivory War, which documents how illegal ivory is still being sold within the UK, using a number of loopholes that would still exist if only the trade in ivory dated between 1947 and the present day were banned. Only the full closure of the UK’s domestic market will effectively contribute to international efforts to tackle the illegal ivory trade and protect elephants.
The Government’s previous announcement was made ahead of Tusk’s Time for Change event at which HRH The Duke of Cambridge told an international audience that “Now is the chance to send an unambiguous message to the world that it is no longer acceptable to buy and sell ivory”. The event was introduced by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and features in the BBC documentary, in which he calls on the UK Government to toughen its plan of action in response to his findings.
The release of the open letter also follows the recent CITES conference, at which Parties agreed that every country should “take all necessary legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory as a matter of urgency”.
The letter can be read in full here in The Telegraph.