Anti-Ivory Protest at Olympia Antiques Fair – Jul 2017

Demo at an antiques fair to stop ivory trade

On 1 July 2017 we held a demo at the Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia to draw attention to the antiques trade’s opposition to a full ivory ban in the UK. Our message was that all trade in ivory must be banned, as any legal trade will always allow loopholes for illegal ivory to enter the market. The antiques trade was the only professional sector in the UK that consistently and vociferously opposed an ivory ban, and its intensive lobbying contributed to the long delay in the government taking action. 

The trade refused to accept any link between the sale of antique ivory and the ongoing poaching crisis, arguing that a trained eye can distinguish whether a piece of ivory is antique or modern. But that’s far from the case: new ivory can be artificially aged to look antique, and documentation about an item’s age and provenance can easily be forged. The trade remained adamant in its opposition. Even after the ban was passed, the trade continued to fight it, bringing two High Court challenges against the government in 2019 and 2020, both of which were quashed (we held protests in front of the Court on both occasions).