A near total ivory ban finalized in France!

In Kenya, on April 30, 2016, while President Uhuru Kenyatta was having 105 metric tons of illegal ivory burnt, the French environment minister, Ségolène Royal, announced that to protect the last elephants on Earth France would prohibit all ivory trading on its soil!

Almost four months following this declaration and after a public comment period that gathered 2,511 comments between June 9 and July 3, a decree has been established.

While some important progress has been made, it is important to recognize that the ivory and rhinoceros horn trading ban is not a total one.

While the Minister and other environment officials believed that permanently shutting down the sources feeding Asian demand for ivory was an urgent necessity for the conservation of elephants, exemptions allow for the trading of objects made of carved ivory and carved rhinoceros horn produced before July 1, 1975, the day the CITES convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) entered into force. As a result, the antiques market will not really be affected...

Admittedly, now sales of these objects will have to include the issuance of EU intra-community certificates (ICCs), which makes it more difficult to sell ivory objects. However, our report reminds us that falsified certificates have been used, allowing illegal ivory trading to occur.

We can thus assume that this situation could repeat itself. Additionally, without systematic dating analyses or inspections by experts specialized in distinguishing between ivory from the 19th or 20th centuries, how is it possible to certify with absolute certainty that an ivory object being sold dates before July 1, 1975?

This remains a mystery.

Nonetheless, IFAW applauds the complete ban on the trade of raw ivory and uncarved rhinoceros horns. It is no longer possible to sell these objects be it on auction floors or online in France, with French Regional Offices for the Environment, Land Use, and Housing (DREALs) no longer authorized to issue permits for such sales. Do not hesitate to consult IFAW for more information on this subject.

--MC

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