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Support Australia’s proposed ivory ban

Submitted by Jane Russell, Action for Elephants UK 

The Australian government is in the process of consulting on a total ivory ban, as happened in the UK at the end of last year.  We have been asked by Donalea Patman, founder of For the Love of Wildlife who are spearheading the campaign, to approach our contacts to ask if they will make a submission in favour of a ban.  

Unlike the UK consultation, there is no questionnaire. You need only write a letter in favour of the ban, making it as concise or as detailed as you like (the submissions uploaded on the government site give an idea of the different types).  Our group has just made its submission which I have copied below.

You can also submit your own letters at the following email address le.committee@aph.gov.au

Please see here for information on the issue, the long-fought campaign, and how to make your submission. The deadline is 7th June.  

This is a critical call to action.   For the Love of Wildlife website says:

‘This is the last window to make sure the Australian Government hears your loud and clear call for a full domestic trade ban on ivory and rhino horn.

We MUST have an overwhelming response so that there’s NO question that Australia enacts a FULL DOMESTIC TRADE BAN.’ 

If you have any questions, please contact Donalea directly via email: fortheloveofwildlife@gmail.com

Thank you in advance for your help. 

Best wishes 

Jane Russell


Submission from Action for Elephants UK in support of a total ban on Australia’s domestic trade in ivory and rhino horn 

Action for Elephants UK is a grassroots group fighting to save elephants and to end poaching and the ivory trade that perpetuates it. We are writing to express our support for a total ban of Australia’s trade in ivory and rhino horn. 

It has been amply demonstrated that the existence of a legal ivory trade serves as a cover for illegal sales of ivory, while continuing to perpetuate the cycle of supply and demand. The current situation in Australia, where buyers and sellers can freely and legally trade ivory items, and where auction houses boast large collections of ivory items, is one giant loophole for illegal ivory to enter the market – including new ivory from recently poached elephants. (An IFAW report showed that only 8% of those auction houses had documentation proving the age of the thousands of ivory items they were selling.) 

If the Australian government is genuinely concerned about the fate of African elephants, it must close this loophole once and for all, the same as other countries have done, and bring in a total ban on all domestic trade in ivory. The current regulations are simply not fit for purpose and do nothing to combat the crisis. 

Tens of thousands of elephants are still being slaughtered every year for their ivory. This rate of poaching is pushing African elephants ever closer to extinction, and the window of opportunity for saving them is rapidly shrinking. Since poaching for the ivory trade is the most pressing threat facing Africa’s elephants, the closure of all ivory markets, both international and domestic, is critical for their survival. 

In September 2016, the results of the Great Elephant Census – the first aerial census of Africa’s elephant populations – revealed that one-third of Africa’s elephants were wiped out in just seven years (2007 to 2014) – equivalent to 144,000 elephants. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, over 100,000 elephants were brutally slaughtered for their ivory. The poaching continues today across much of Africa, with some countries seeing an increase in illegal killings. 

Rhinos are also in dire peril because of poaching for their horn, which has soared in recent years – in South Africa alone, by 9000% since 2007. Furthermore, the trade in ivory and horn is fuelled by organized criminal networks and widespread corruption; known terrorist groups are involved in both the poaching of elephants and rhinos and trafficking their body parts, reaping huge profits. 

The past four years have seen an increase in international momentum to ban ivory: following a joint announcement on ivory bans by the USA and China in September 2015, the USA brought in a ban on ivory in July 2016, and China, against all the odds, brought in a total ban and the closure of its carving workshops by the end of 2017. In June 2017, Hong Kong launched a landmark bill to ban its domestic ivory trade, amid accusations that authorities were lagging behind China in phasing out the market.  Hong Kong is home to the world’s biggest retail ivory market, with more items for sale than anywhere else in the world.  

In March this year, the UK announced a total ban would be enforced, with certain targeted exemptions – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-confirms-uk-ban-on-ivory-sales

Against this backdrop of global momentum, we strongly urge the Australian government to follow the lead of these other countries and enforce a total ban on the trade in ivory and rhino horn, thus sending a strong message internationally and domestically that both have no part to play in the modern world.

Thank you for your attention and consideration. 

Action for Elephants UK

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