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UK confirms ban on ivory sales
“Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol."
Country’s ban will be ‘one of the toughest in the world’ 

A UK ban on ivory sales will cover ivory of all ages, environment secretary Michael Gove has confirmed. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in prison.

The move follows a government consultation that received more than 70,000 responses, of which 88 per cent were in favour of a ban.

Current law allows the trade of ‘antique’ ivory carved before 1947, but conservationists have long feared that the loophole is allowing illegal ivory to slip through the net.

Elephant populations have fallen by nearly a third in the past decade and around 20,000 are killed every year due to the global demand for ivory.

Mr Gove said: “Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol, so we will introduce one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales to protect elephants for future generations.

“The ban on ivory sales we will bring into law will reaffirm the UK’s global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past.”

Some exemptions will apply to the ban, including:
  • items comprised of less than 10 per cent ivory by volume, that were made before 1947
  • musical instruments, with an ivory content of less than 20 per cent, that were made before 1975
  • rarest and most important items of their type. These must be at least 100 years old and their rarity and importance confirmed by specialist institutions
  • commercial activities to and between museums with appropriate accreditation.

Defra says the proposed UK ban would be among the toughest in the world. It has been broadly welcomed by conservation groups including the Tusk Trust, WWF, ZSL and Stop Ivory.

John Stephenson, CEO of Stop Ivory, commented: “This is a significant day for the future of elephants. The UK government has taken a momentous step. The proposed ban, with its narrow and clear exemptions, places the UK at the forefront of the international determination to halt the extermination of elephant populations by banning trade in ivory.

“The Secretary of State for DEFRA has shown clear leadership in demanding legislation whilst there is still time to secure a future for elephants in the wild.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”