MEPs demand to stop ivory trade

Despite the international ban on ivory trade imposed by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in 1989, global demand for ivory is fueling elephant poaching. Any legal domestic and international market for ivory stimulates the demand and allows the laundering of illegal ivory. While the EU has been a leader in supporting international initiatives to fight illegal ivory trade, it is clearly facing difficulties to close its own domestic ivory market.

According to EU regulations, the sale of ivory goods is only allowed for antique ivory, acquired before March 1947. But new ivory pieces are being treated to look antique and permits are forged to launder illegal ivory from poaching. Moreover, the EU Member States are used as transit countries to smuggle illegal ivory from Africa to Asia.

Ivory trade is a global phenomenon and the failure from the EU to prevent illegal trafficking would hamper the international effort to put an end to the poaching of elephants and to its ecological, economic and societal consequences. The European Parliament has adopted three Resolutions  calling on all EU Member States to introduce a full ivory trade moratorium. In March 2018, more than 30 African countries called on the EU to shut down its ivory market, stressing that the antique ivory exception is used to smuggle newer ivory to Asian markets and feed global demand.

The Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals met on Thursday 31 May to discuss ivory trade in the European Union. The poaching of elephants and trade of their ivory threaten the very existence  of the species. The European Commission will announce in July its response to a recent consultation on ivory trade as part of its review on the implementation of the EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking.

The Intergroup meeting will be chaired by Jacqueline Foster MEP (ECR – United Kingdom), Vice-President of the Intergroup, who has extensively worked on the issue of wildlife trafficking during this parliamentary term.

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