Breaking! British High Court Upholds The UK Ivory Act After Legal Fight With Antiques Dealers

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Photo from EIA

Earlier this week, a High Court in Britain ruled in favor of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and against a group of antiques traders which had unsuccessfully argued that the UK Ivory Act was contrary to EU law and infringed on their human rights.

The Act, which was passed in 2018 and will most-likely be implemented early next year, will restrict the sale of elephant ivory from being imported, exported and sold within the UK.

“I welcome the ruling by the High Court which upholds the UK’s commitment to ban the ivory trade,” Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said in a statement. “We will move forward and make sure the ban comes into operation as soon as possible to protect our wildlife and the environment.”

According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the UK is one of the world’s leading exporters of antique ivory, particularly to China and Hong Kong, which are two of the largest markets for newly-poached ivory from elephants.

Mary Rice, the Executive Director of EIA called the High Court’s decision “a victory for common sense.”

The organization maintains that the UK’s exports and domestic market fuel a continued demand for ivory by perpetuating its perceived value in the eyes of consumers.

“Challenges to the new legislation fly in the face of British public opinion, which increasingly puts the conservation of nature before profit,” stated John Stephenson, CEO of Stop Ivory, a nonprofit organization which aims to protect elephants and stop the ivory trade worldwide.

The European Commission is currently considering broad new restrictions on ivory trade across the European Union, based in part on the UK Ivory Act.

Singapore, Australia and New Zealand have introduced, or are considering similar legislation.

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