Peaceful demonstration against the Antiques ivory trade.
Demonstration at Olympia on 1 July
We will be demonstrating on July 1st at the annual event of the British Antiques Dealers Association (BADA) to oppose the ivory trade in in the UK. The event will take place at Olympia London and is one of the largest antiques fairs held in the UK. Our message is that all trade in ivory must be banned completely, as any legal trade will always allow loopholes for illegal ivory to enter the market.
The UK has a global role to play
As the largest exporter of ivory in the EU, as well as allowing a thriving legal ivory trade at home, the UK plays a major role in keeping these markets open. By allowing this situation to continue, the UK is also failing its African partners in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade, and failing to show leadership in the international commitments to close ivory markets globally.
While this government shamefully backs away from the full ban it promised, other countries have led by example: the US has implemented a ban on its domestic ivory trade, and, most crucially, China announced a complete ban on its ivory trade, to be fully implemented by the end of this year. If China, the biggest global consumer of ivory, with a deeply rooted cultural tradition of ivory-carving going back centuries, can ban its ivory trade, we must ask: What is stopping the UK from bringing an end to its own abhorrent trade?
Who is opposing a full ban on the UK’s ivory trade and why are we demonstrating?
The only group or professional body opposing a total ban is the antiques trade. It has been lobbying fiercely against a full ban so it can continue to profit from buying and selling ivory ornaments. It argues that the sale of antique ivory pieces has nothing to do with the ongoing poaching crisis, and that a trained eye can distinguish whether a piece of ivory is antique or modern. But, as antiques dealers know better than anyone, ivory can be made to look antique, and documents about an item’s age and provenance can easily be forged.
The link between selling antique ivory pieces in a legal market and the killing of elephants in Africa has been well proven, and the antiques trade is choosing to turn a blind eye to this evidence. Any argument that puts personal interests and financial gain over the survival of a species is morally repugnant, and deserves to be called out for its complicity and deception.
And as long as the UK government backs down from the full ban it promised, it too is complicit.
The British public supports a full ban
* 85% of the UK public think buying and selling ivory in the UK should be banned.
* Only 8% are aware that buying and selling ivory is still legal.
* 108,530 signatures were gained on a parliamentary petition in support of a UK ivory ban
* In October 2016, more than 100 conservationists, campaigners and politicians signed an open letter to the government calling on it to take action against the illegal ivory trade.
A global international ban is needed!
When one country closes down its trade, buyers simply move to other countries that are trading. Only when countries act together internationally can we truly see the effects of a full ban and send a united message that IVORY IS NOT FOR SALE, that its trade is unethical and that it should only be seen on live elephants!
Elephants in crisis
30% of Africa’s elephants were wiped out between 2007 and 2014. That’s around 144,000 elephants killed in 7 years. More than 20,000 elephants are still poached each year. At the current rate of decline, African elephants are on the path to extinction and we could lose them within a decade.
Forest elephants have declined by over 60% between 2002 and 2011.
Current estimates put Africa’s elephant population at approximately 415,000 compared with 10 million a century ago.
Please join us in this peaceful demonstration against the UK antiques trade. (We accept that many traders may support a ban on the ivory trade, and that those traders who are against a ban do not speak for the whole BADA membership, but we will continue to target the whole trade.) We ask that everyone remains polite at all times and shows respect for the residents in the area.
We look forward to seeing you there!