UK must act on illegal wildlife trade, MP says

Nick Herbert MP wants a ban on the sale of ivory
Nick Herbert MP wants a ban on the sale of ivory

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has renewed his call for measures to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

Mr Herbert wants a concerted effort to tackle the demand for ivory products, saying: “It is vital that we choke off demand for ivory.

“In the end, as with all crime, if we do not tackle demand, but only focus on enforcement, we will not be successful.

“It is just as important that we address the demand for ivory, as well as the vital enforcement measures.”

The illegal wildlife trade is worth more than £15billion a year – the fourth most lucrative illicit trade in the world after drugs, weapons and human trafficking.

Wild elephants continue to be hunted for their ivory, with more than 100,000 elephants killed by poachers between 2010 and 2012.

Mr Herbert is a vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Endangered Species and a longstanding supporter of a ban on the sale of ivory.

Responding to the debate on behalf of the Government, Dr Therese Coffey, parliamentary under-secretary of state, said: “The UK has shown global leadership in tackling the illegal wildlife trade.

“We hosted the first, ground-breaking London conference in 2014, which secured ambitious agreements from more than 40 Governments to take urgent, co-ordinated action and was hailed as a turning point in global efforts to tackle these damaging activities.”

The Government has also consulted on proposals to introduce a total ban on UK sales of ivory, with narrowly defined and carefully targeted exemptions.