17th August - A Red Letter Day

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It has been a long journey to this moment.

Back in 2018 a law was introduced through the UK Parliament that would effectively close many of the routes through the UK for illegal Ivory. It stemmed from an investigation by the UK's Environmental Investigation Agency. This charity, which is seen worldwide as pivotal in policing and exposing illegal acts against nature, produced a report that showed the UK was critical to passing illegal ivory. It actually showed that the UK was the top trading destination in the world for Ivory between 2010 and 2015 (although in 2015 it was the second highest, Italy being first).

The EIA successfully helped in securing a cross-party political endorsement of a new law, that was supposed to come into effect that year. However, a small group of antiques dealers/traders argued against it, lodging various appeals over the next two years against the enactment of this law.

In August 2020, the final hurdle was removed and the law became a reality. Reported: Click Here

What does this mean? Well, there are a few exceptions, but even with these few, it means the criminal or unscrupulous trader cannot move Ivroy through the UK.

Here are the exceptions:

  • Items with only a small amount of ivory. Such items must be comprised of less than 10% ivory by volume and have been made prior to 1947
  • Musical instruments. These must have an ivory content of less than 20% and have been made prior to 1975
  • Portrait miniatures. A specific exemption for portrait miniatures – which were often painted on thin slivers of ivory – made before 1918
  • Sales to and between accredited museums. This applies museums accredited by Arts Council England, the Welsh Government, The Scottish Government or the Northern Ireland Museums Council in the UK, or, for museums outside the UK, The International Council of Museums
  • The rarest and most important items of their type. Items of outstanding artistic, cultural or historic significance, and made prior to 1918. Such items will be subject to the advice of specialists at institutions such as the UK’s most prestigious museums.

The penalties:

  • Up to five years imprisonment
  • Unlimited Fines

Further Reading Information from EIA in 2018 The UK Law Ivory Law 2018

Support the EIA: Click Here

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