After 107,000 people signed a petition to close the UK’s domestic ivory market, MPs debated the measure. Sadly, it failed.
The UK is the biggest exporter of ivory in Europe, with total exports listed as over 25,000 ivory pieces. Although ivory items are supposed to be antiques (1940s and prior), The Guardian says:
“it is often difficult to distinguish pre-convention specimens… there are many cases of buyers purchasing ivory using forged pre-convention certificates with the intention of exporting them illegally to Asia.”
The MPs in favor of closing the ivory market pointed out these troubling cases, and argued that current environmental concerns should outweigh the artistic or historic value of an antique. Clearly, many in the public agree. Unfortunately, their efforts were not enough.
photo: ivory art, Paris, Musee de Louvre, “Vierge à l’Enfant debout”