TAMWORTH’S Member of Parliament Christopher Pincher has welcomed the Government’s proposals to clamp down on ivory trading after a bill introduced in Parliament passed its first major hurdle to becoming law.
The Ivory Bill, proposed by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove, has been described as ‘the toughest in Europe’ and will seek to ban the ivory trade which has in part been responsible for the significant decline of the world’s elephants.
The number of elephants has declined by almost a third in the last decade and around 20,000 a year are still being slaughtered due to the global demand for ivory.
The ban will cover ivory items of all ages – not only those produced after a certain date. The maximum available penalty for breaching the ban will be an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.
The Bill has now passed through the House of Commons and will move on to the House of Lords for further stages of scrutiny.
Mr Pincher, as the Government’s Deputy Chief Whip, has responsibility for ensuring the smooth passage of legislation and has been determined to get the Ivory Bill passed in to law as soon as possible.
Commenting on the Bill, he said: “I am delighted that this Bill will soon become law as we are all aware of the devastating illegal poaching has on the magnificent elephant.
“This is part of our pledge to tackle the environment’s biggest problems, from banning ivory, to microbeads and creating new wildlife sanctuaries across the country. I am very pleased to see this Government taking the environment seriously and leaving it better off than we found it.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Elephants are one of the world’s most iconic animals and we must do all we can to protect them for future generations. That’s why we will introduce one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales. The overwhelmingly positive response to our consultation shows the strength of public feeling to protect these magnificent animals.”
Charlie Mayhew MBE, Founder and CEO of Tusk Trust, a leading anti-ivory trade charity, said “This Bill will ensure that as the Government prepares to host the next international conference on the illegal wildlife trade in October, the UK will once again be taking a global lead on closing ivory markets that have resulted in the decimation of hundreds of thousands of elephants over recent years. We trust that Parliament will move equally swiftly to pass the Bill into law.”