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Campaigners reveal illegal ivory trading across EU

Staff Writer | July 11, 2018
Traders are selling illegal ivory openly across the European Union (EU), a campaign group said in a report.
illegal ivory
Animals   Around 30,000 elephants are slaughtered each year
The campaign group Avaaz said more than 100 ivory pieces it bought in 10 EU countries were found to be illegal after they were tested at Oxford University in Britain, indicating a loophole in relevant regulations.

In its report "Europe's Deadly Ivory Trade", Avaaz said a fifth of the items it bought had come from elephants killed after the global ivory trade was banned in 1989 and three quarters were from animals killed after 1947.

Under EU laws, government certificates are legally required for the sale of ivory acquired after 1947 and before 1990. Avaaz said none of the ivory it bought had certificates.

Avaaz campaign director Bert Wander said: "This bombshell evidence proves beyond doubt that illegal ivory is being sold across Europe. It must spark the end of this bloody trade. Every day (when) the sale of these trinkets continues is a day closer to wiping out majestic elephants forever."

The campaign group said it bought the items, both on-line and in shops, from antique dealers and private sellers over a four-month period in Britain, Ireland, Belgium, France, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

It said the study counters claims by the European Commission that there was no evidence of illegal ivory trade in the 28 members of the EU.

Avaaz's report said: "This is an EU-wide problem -- high levels of illegal ivory were found in almost every country tested."

Avaaz urged in a statement that "the Commission should close the antique ivory loophole, end ivory exports from Europe and shut down the EU's internal trade in raw tusks."

In its report, Avaaz also mentioned some governments have taken actions against illegal ivory trade all over the world, noting the efforts made by China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Media reports in London said the EU's environment commissioner Karmenu Vella has pledged to look into the claims after visiting Avaaz's exhibition of illegal ivory outside the European Commission in Brussels.

Avaaz said around 30,000 elephants are slaughtered each year mainly for their tusks, causing fear that they could become extinct in the wild within decades.