'Europe's ivory laws are broken,' say campaigners

Mindy Sparks
July 12, 2018

Catherine Bearder, member of the European Parliament who authored a resolution for an EU ban on ivory trade, told The Epoch Times that she was surprised by the high proportion of illegal ivory that made it to the market.

European Union law requires government certificates for the sale of ivory acquired after 1947 and before 1990, but Avaaz said none of the ivory it bought had a certificate.

"Because so much radiocarbon was released after 1955 with the atomic bomb test, we can be absolutely sure that the piece of ivory really dates to after 1955", said David Chivall, the lead scientist who carried the lab test over the ivory items. Among them, 19.3 percent dated from after 1989, when the global ivory trade was banned.

All the ivory pieces were advertised as originating from before 1947 or had no date information.

The environmental group Avaaz say that a lot of the sales that are happening are, in fact, illegally poached ivory that's being covered up and sold as antiques.

"Illegally-poached ivory often gets into the legal market, making the elephants a lucrative target for poachers", Parliament said in a statement. It must spark the end of this bloody trade. "Every day (when) the sale of these trinkets continues is a day closer to wiping out majestic elephants forever".

"The Commission should close the antique ivory loophole, end ivory exports from Europe and shut down the EU's internal trade in raw tusks", Avaaz said.

However, campaigners have grown increasingly vocal in their opposition to any form of trade in ivory, as demand from China has shown little sign of abating and the dwindling remaining populations of elephants in Africa and Asia are under more threat than ever from increasingly mechanised and vicious predations by poachers, the Guardian reported.

China and the U.S. imposed a near total ban on domestic ivory sales during the last months of the Obama administration.

The campaign group said it bought the items, both on-line and in shops, from antique dealers and private sellers over a four-month period in Britain, Ireland, Belgium, France, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

Sales of ivory are banned in Europe since 1990.

The European Commission says dealing with poaching and ivory trafficking is a key focus of a wildlife action plan and that it's now looking at the next steps. (Avaaz) A trinket from Bulgaria.

European Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella was set to meet Avaaz representatives to discuss the study.

"We would support exemptions such as the ones proposed in the United Kingdom for family heirlooms and historical items", said Eleonora Panella.

"The Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London in October could be the ideal moment to show the leadership we are asking for".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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