UK Gov’t publishes its Bill to shut down the country’s domestic trade in ivory

The UK Government has published its Bill on the ivory trade today, only seven weeks after announcing the results of its consultation on the issue.

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Malawi elephant

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The Bill will now start its progress through Parliament and we will be encouraging MPs to give it their full support so it can become law as soon as possible.

The Ivory Bill, due to be introduced to Parliament today (23 May), is touted as the toughest in Europe and one of the toughest in the world.

The Government states: “The Bill covers ivory items of all ages, not only those produced after a certain date, subject to some narrow, carefully-defined exemptions. The maximum penalty for breaching the ban will be an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.”

The announcement of a comprehensive ban on the ivory trade in the UK was made on 3 April by the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for the Environment.

The criminal syndicates which exploit legal markets to trade illegally in ivory and other wildlife products operate internationally and it will require coordinated global action to defeat them. Alongside China, the USA and other countries which have recently enacted ivory trade bans, the UK’s action will be an important part of that effort.

As a campaigning organisation, we have worked long and hard to achieve a comprehensive ivory trade ban in the UK, both independently and as part of collective efforts by a number of leading NGOs.

Mary Rice, our Executive Director, said today: “It’s a welcome development to see the Government making this announcement so soon after the end of its national consultation. We look forward to scrutinising the detail of the proposed Bill shortly.”