NMDC and MA respond to UK consultation on ivory 11/1/2018

NMDC has responded to the Government consultation on the ivory ban which will make most sales of ivory in the UK illegal. It supports the ban of ivory sales but endorsed the Government’s proposed exemptions for musical instruments, de minimis, items of artistic, cultural or historic significance and to and from museums as long as strict criteria are met and sufficient method of enforcement is ensured. The Museums Association is seeking exemptions for museums along the same lines as the licensing system for historic firearms. Policy Officer Alistair Brown emphasised that the system would need to be tightly controlled: “determining what constitutes artistic, cultural or historic value is clearly a subjective judgement and one which is potentially open to abuse. We recommend that items that are given this exemption should have to first gain approval from a committee drawing on the expertise of curators and other museum professionals.” The Government will now consider the results of the consultation and respond within 12 weeks.

Meanwhile China, previously one of the largest markets for the ivory trade, has banned it completely from 1st January. During 2017 there was a 65% decline in the price for raw ivory in the country, and an 80% decline in seizures of ivory entering China. Over 80,000 elephants are killed each year for their ivory; wildlife campaigners hope that increasing restrictions internationally will conserve the species. NMDC (full response)  Museums Journal, BBC (China ivory ban), Antiques Trade Gazette