IFAW statement on the US Federal Government’s proposed new ivory regulations

Saturday, 25 July, 2015
Washington, DC

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) issued the following statement in response to the proposed new ivory regulations issued by the US Federal Government:

“The proposed ivory regulations announced today by President Obama are an important step for elephants. Given that American demand for ivory directly fuels the poaching of elephants around the world, any US policy that better controls the sale of such products has a global impact.

"The Federal Government’s proposal strengthens existing ivory regulations to increase protections for elephants. Most notably, the new regulations restrict the export of worked ivory out of the country and prohibit the sale of ivory across state lines with limited exceptions. Furthermore, the government’s announcement greatly reduces the number of sport-hunted elephant trophies allowed into the U.S. That said, even one endangered animal killed for sport is one too many.

"Although IFAW would prefer to see a total ban on ivory sales in the US, we believe that these proposed regulations are an important step in closing longstanding loopholes that have allowed the illicit trafficking of elephant parts to thrive. Most importantly, they shift the burden of proof to the seller to show that the ivory he is selling is legal and requires the seller to demonstrate it. This allows law enforcement agents to more effectively enforce the law and ensure that people are not selling ivory that is coming from newly poached elephants.  There are exeptions in the proposed rule for the legal sale of antiques (items over 100 years old) and certain other objects that have a small amount of ivory and that meet a number of other specific critera. 

"These new rules, in conjunction with the recent Times Square ivory crush, conducted by the Federal Government, are meaningful strides toward ensuring elephants’ survival. Still, elephants are in an uncertain position. An elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory. This insatiable demand in countries such as China is pushing the species to the brink of extinction. For this reason, we will continue to work around the world on every aspect of the elephant crisis: on the front lines to stop the killing of elephants, in transit countries to stop the trafficking of ivory, and in consumer countries to stop the demand.”

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
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