The new law follows the Government consultation on the issue at the end of last year, to which an incredible 88% of the more than 70,000 respondents expressed their support of a ban.
Tusk has been working as part of a coalition of 10 leading NGOs* in support of DEFRA’s efforts to ensure that the few exemptions to the ban are both pragmatic and as tightly defined as they need to be to ensure that they cannot be exploited by any illegal trade.
Tusk’s Chief Executive, Charlie Mayhew said, “The significance of Royal Assent for the Ivory Bill should not be underestimated as we continue our fight to save one of the planet’s most iconic species. Whilst recognising the need to include pragmatic exemptions to protect items of important historic, artistic and cultural value, this Bill sends a clear message that there is no place for the use of ivory in the 21st century. The UK Government has once again taken a lead on tackling the trade and reducing the poaching that has decimated elephant populations over the last three decades. We sincerely hope that this move will now persuade the EU and other countries to follow suit and bolster vital efforts to halt all illegal wildlife trade.”
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove stated that, “It is an extraordinary achievement to have passed this Act of Parliament. The Ivory Act is a landmark in our fight to protect wildlife and the environment. The speed of its passage through Parliament shows the strength of feeling on all sides of the House on this critical issue.”
When it comes into force in late 2019, the Act will:
- Introduce a total ban on dealing in items containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age, within the UK, as well as export from or import to the UK
- Create narrow and carefully defined set of exemptions
- Establish a new compliance system to allow owners to continue to trade in exempt item
- Introduce tough new penalties for those found guilty of breaching the ban, including fines and possible imprisonment.
* The members of the coalition are: Tusk, Born Free Foundation, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Natural Resources Defence Council, Space for Giants, Stop Ivory, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Zoological Society of London