The UK government makes another massive U-turn that’s straight out of Labour’s playbook

may corbyn U-turn
Tracy Keeling

The Conservative government has made another massive U-turn that reeks of Labour’s plans.

In August, the UK found itself in the odious position of becoming the world’s largest exporter of ivory. And the Conservative Party manifesto for 2017’s general election didn’t mention the ivory trade at all; an industry that is rapidly wiping elephants off the face of the earth.

But now Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced that the UK will impose a ban on ivory sales. It’s a ban, however, that the Labour Party promised months ago. And the government’s version comes with some details that should be of concern.

Stamp it out

Currently, the UK has a partial ban on ivory. Any ivory younger than 70 years old is illegal. But investigations have shown that the legal ivory trade provides a cover for illegal ivory to reach the market. Because people can manipulate newer ivory to make it look older.

That’s why many see a total ban on ivory as the only solution. But Gove doesn’t use the word “total” in his announcement. Because there will be “exemptions” to it. Exemptions proposed include musical instruments, museum sales and items that only include small amounts of ivory.

Furthermore, the government’s 12-week consultation on the ban will invite input from the antiques sector, among others. Much of the UK’s trade in ivory happens via the antiques industry. And Action for Elephants UK says this industry is the “chief obstacle” to a total ban.

Right direction

Nonetheless, Gove’s announcement is a step in the right direction. A 2016 study counted only 352,271 African savannah elephants left across 15 countries. Poachers kill one of these majestic creatures every 15 minutes. Time is of the absolute essence.

So we owe it to the remaining elephants and our own reputation to move on this ban as quickly as possible.

Get Involved!

– Help save elephants with Action For Elephants UK.

– Add your voice to the consultation.

Featured image via Jim Mattis/Flickr and Rwendland/Wikimedia

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