EU and UK Ivory Trade Consultations

Public consultations on ivory trade are like buses – nothing for months, then two come at once!

The UK Government has launched a public consultation on proposals to end sales of ivory in the UK. We firmly believe it should do so.

The European Commission mission has also launched a consultation to ‘gather views’ to help inform the ‘possible adoption of additional EU measures regarding ivory trade’. We believe the EU also needs to introduce comprehensive restrictions on the import, export, and intra-EU trade in ivory.


Both of these consultations are open to the public. We are urging our supporters and the wider public to respond, calling on both the UK Government and the European Commission to ban the trade in ivory.

Find out how you can respond to the UK consultation. The deadline for responses is 29th December 2017.

Find out how you can respond to the European Commission’s consultation. The deadline for responses is 8th December 2017.

Why this is so important

More than 20,000 African Elephants are being slaughtered each year by poachers for their tusks, to supply ivory into illegal markets in the Far East and across the globe. Africa’s elephant populations have plummeted from maybe 5 million a century ago, to less than half a million today.

While international trade in ‘new’ ivory was banned in 1989, EU countries have huge domestic markets which are largely unregulated, and trade of ivory products into, within and from the EU has flourished. In the decade to 2015, EU Member States reported more than 1800 export transactions involving almost 47,000 ivory items. The UK is the biggest culprit: Between 2010-2015, more ‘antique’ ivory pieces were legally exported by the UK than from any other country, with China and Hong Kong as the principal destinations.

The continuing domestic trade in ivory within the UK and EU Member States, and the legal export of ‘antique’ ivory items, fuels demand for ivory and provides a mechanism by which ‘new’ ivory from slaughtered elephants can be laundered into trade.

The international conservation community has recognised this ongoing threat, and in 2016 both the World Conservation Congress and CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) called on countries to close their domestic ivory markets. The USA introduced tight restrictions last year, and China has committed to closing its ivory shops and carving factories by the end of this year.

The UK and European Union have been dragging their feet. The time has come for them to take action.

Born Free is urging the public to respond to both the UK Government and European Commission consultations, and to call for a comprehensive ban on ivory trade, keeping any exemptions to a minimum.

Please go to, to find out how YOU can help ensure the UK changes its current position as the world’s major exporter of legal ivory, to playing a leading role in protecting elephants from the scourge of poaching.

Please also click here to find out how you can respond to the European Commission’s consultation.

Thank you for your help!

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