Call for European Commission to Ban Commercial Trade in Ivory

International wildlife NGOs have joined forces to call on the European Commission to safeguard the future of elephants by recommending a ban on the commercial trade of all ivory and ivory products into, within and from EU Member States without delay.

Europe plays a surprisingly significant role in the continuing trade in ivory. In 2014 and 2015, EU Member States reported exports of 1,258 tusks, and more than 20,000 other ivory items.

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on ivory trade in the EU and is now being urged to take the strongest possible action to end a trade that is killing an estimated 20,000 elephants across Africa every year.

Mark Jones, a veterinarian and Associate Director at Born Free, said: “The EU is widely considered to be a forward-thinking region in terms of wildlife conservation and environmental protection. Elephants are an iconic and keystone species, and part of humankind’s global heritage. Europe must play its full part in ensuring that they can not only survive but thrive for future generations to enjoy and cherish.”

In spite of the recommendation by the European Council in June 2016 to “consider further measures to put a halt to commercial trade in ivory from elephants” and the European Parliament’s resolution from October 2016 calling for “a full and immediate ban at EU level on trade, export or re-export of ivory and rhinoceros horns”, the European Commission has so far fallen short of recommending a comprehensive ban on ivory trade. Instead, the Commission issued a guidance document in May 2017 explaining how Member States might interpret the current rules.

All EU citizens have the opportunity to engage with the European Commission’s consultation before 8th December 2017. Guidance for members of the public can be found here.

The international wildlife NGOs working together for an EU commercial ivory ban are Born Free, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, Eurogroup for Animals, Humane Society International/Europe, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Pro Wildlife, Robin des Bois, and Wildlife Conservation Society.

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