The government has had an enormous response to its proposed ban on the trade of ivory. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs received over 60,000 responses during its consultation period, one of the largest responses the department has ever received.
A Defra spokesperson said there would be: “narrowly-defined and carefully-targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute to the poaching of elephants and where a ban would be unwarranted”.
A similar ban was imposed in China at the end of last year. It was introduced in stages but had some exemptions for items of cultural and historical significance. The current proposal for a ban in the UK would exempt musical instruments, items containing only a small proportion of ivory (expected to be 5%), items of significant historic, artistic or cultural value and sales to museums.
The Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “It’s incredibly heartening that so many people have contributed to our consultation. The response underlines that we are a nation which cares for wildlife. In 2018 the UK must be front and centre of global efforts to end this insidious trade.”
Mark Dodgson, Secretary General for the British Antiques Dealer's Association said: “We have urged the Government to ensure that objects of genuine cultural, historical and artistic relevance can continue to be traded, whilst removing from sale modern ivory and tourist trinkets of questionable cultural importance.”
The consultation period ended on the 29th December and a response will be published soon.