Mid Derbyshire MP, Pauline Latham OBE, spoke yesterday evening in a debate in Westminster calling for a near-total ban on the trade of ivory in the UK.
The discussion took place after a petition was signed by over 100,000 people calling for stricter legislation on the buying and selling of ivory. Currently, it is legal in the UK to buy and sell pre-1947 ivory. Evidence shows that freshly carved pieces of ivory, taken by elephant poachers, are often disguised as older pieces and sold in the UK – fuelling the global demand of ivory and contributing to the decline in the elephant population.
In September 2016 the International Union for Conservation of Nature stated that ‘Africa’s overall elephant population has seen the worst decline in 25 years, mainly due to poaching’ and it is estimated that Savannah populations are declining at 8% per year.
Commenting on the debate, Pauline said:
“I am proud to have supported much needed reform on the laws around the UK ivory trade along with a number of other MPs from across different parties, and over 100,000 British citizens.
The elephant, one of the world’s most magnificent and wonderful creatures, is facing the very real threat of extinction. Alongside supporting new laws for the sake of preventing these incredible creatures from cruel slaughter, tighter legislation would also help fight corruption and a criminal wildlife trade worth between $15-20 billion a year.
Corruption not only undermines the rule of law it has a negative effect on both inequality and the provision of basic services, meaning that it affects the poor disproportionately.
I want a near-total ban on the ivory trade in the UK – with only very limited exceptions for pragmatic examples or works of art ratified by independent experts such as museums. I hope everyone will support this well meaning law which will help save elephants and fight crime”.