British High Court Upholds Ban on Ivory Trade
The High Court in Britain has ruled to uphold the 2018 Ivory Act. The Court ruled against a claim brought by a group representing sections of the antiques sector.
The group called Friends of Antique Cultural Treasures claimed the ban was unlawful and that it breached European law.
The Act, which has yet to come into law received cross-party support when it was championed by former Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
In April last year, the former Secretary announced his plans ‘to help protect elephants for future generations’
It was announced at the time that the ban would cover ivory items of all ages – not only those produced after a certain date. The maximum available penalty for breaching the ban was set at an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.
However, in line with the approach taken by other countries, including the United States and China, the Act outlined certain narrowly defined and carefully targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute to the poaching of elephants.
Conservation Groups welcomed the news which they said had the backing of all sectors of Government and the the of people of the United Kingdom. They said it was a significant step forward for the UK’s in its role as a leader in the fight to stop trade in illegal ivory.
Research carried out by the London based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in 2017 revealed the UK to the world’s largest exporter of legal ivory.
Reacting to the news of the High Court decision Mary Rice, EIA Executive Director said, ‘This is a victory for common sense and one which maintains the UK’s position as a global leader when it comes to fighting the illegal ivory trade.’
John Stephenson, CEO of Stop Ivory, an independent conversation organisation which aims to protect elephants and stop the ivory trade, said, ‘Challenges to the new legislation fly in the face of British public opinion, which increasingly puts the conservation of nature before profit. We hope that’s the end of the matter and that the Government can get on with implementing the Act without further distractions.’
A statement issued by Environmental Secretary Theresa Villiers said she welcomed the ruling by the High Court.
Ms. Villiers said, ‘We will move forward and make sure the ban comes into operation as soon as possible to protect wildlife and the environment.’
(Image via Pixabay.com)