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Letter to Prime Minister Cameron calling for a ban on all UK ivory trade – Oct 2015

Letter to Prime Minister Cameron calling for ban on all UK ivory trade – Oct 2015

6 October 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

Our group Action for Elephants UK and the undersigned are writing to appeal to you to ban all trade in ivory in the UK, as promised in the Conservative Party’s election manifesto in 2010 and reiterated in its 2015 manifesto.

Action for Elephants UK is a grass-roots advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness and taking action on behalf of elephants both in the wild and captivity. In particular, we are working to end the elephant poaching crisis and ivory trade. Our group has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2013, reflecting the increasing public concern for the ongoing poaching crisis that is decimating elephants in the wild.

It is estimated that upwards of 35,000 elephants continue to be slaughtered for their ivory every year. At this rate of poaching, the two species of African elephants (savannah and forest) could disappear from the wild within a generation. The window of opportunity for saving them is rapidly shrinking. As you are aware, the most significant way that elephants can be saved from extinction is by ending consumer demand for ivory and closing down domestic ivory markets, everywhere.

At present a legal ivory trade exists in the UK. Within the EU, the UK is one of the largest markets for ivory; the UK sells significant amounts of ivory on online marketplaces. Any legal trade enables and encourages illegal trade in ivory, while continuing to perpetuate the cycle of supply and demand.

Further, it makes it more difficult to urge China to adopt an ivory ban if the UK and other western countries have failed to do the same.

In the 5 years since the Conservative Party committed to ending ivory trade in 2010, elephant numbers have crashed in what has become the worst poaching crisis ever. Between 2010 and 2012 over 100,000 elephants were brutally slaughtered for their ivory. Tanzania alone has lost 60% of its elephant population, and Mozambique around half. The trade is fuelled by organized criminal syndicates and widespread corruption, and terrorist groups are also involved in, and partly funded by, poaching and trafficking.

In 2014, the US government announced federal initiatives to ban ivory, and in July 2015 President Obama proposed new regulations that would virtually eliminate all ivory trade in the US. In February 2015, China imposed a 1-year ban on the import of carved ivory, and in May announced it would ‘take measures to strictly control its ivory trade until eventually halting commercial processing and the sale of ivory and its products’.  Last month President Obama and Xi Jinping agreed to enact ‘nearly complete bans on ivory imports and exports’ and to ‘take steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory’.

Now is the time for the UK to join the global momentum and for the government to turn its promise to ban all ivory trade into long overdue action.

Prime Minister, on behalf of all concerned citizens in the UK, we respectfully appeal to you to honour your pledge and commit the UK to ending all domestic trade in ivory once and for all.

We thank you for your attention and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Maria Mossman

Action for Elephants UK

And the undersigned

Damian Aspinall
Chairman, The Aspinall Foundation

Mike Baker
Chief Executive, World Animal Protection

Claire Bass
Executive Director, Humane Society International UK (HSI UK)

Sport Beattie
Game Rangers International

Sarah Blaine
CEO and Founder of Mahouts Elephant Foundation

Scott Blais
Co-founder, Global Sanctuary for Elephants

Richard Bonham
Co-founder & Director, Big Life Foundation

Rob Brandford
Director David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust iworry Campaign
Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE
Chairman David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Carol Buckley
Founder, Elephant Aid International

Reute Butler
President, Friends of Conservation US
and Jorie Butler Kent
Founder and Chairman, Friends of Conservation
Amanda Bleasby
Operations Director, Friends of Conservation UK

Julie Callahan
March for Elephants, Santa Cruz, CA

Nicky Campbell
TV and radio presenter

Salisha Chandra
Founding member, Kenyans United Against Poaching – KUAPO Trust

Stefano & Liz Cheli
CEOs, Cheli & Peacock Safaris and the C&P Community Trust

Katherine Connor
Founder and CEO, Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary

Ian Craig
Director of Conservation, The Northern Rangelands Trust

Brian Davies
Network for Animals

Arend de Haas
Co-founder & Director, African Conservation Foundation

Iain Douglas-Hamilton OBE
Founder and CEO, Save the Elephants

Lee Durrell
Honorary Director, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Dr Keith Dutlow
Trustee and Director, AWARE Trust Zimbabwe

Dominic Dyer
CEO Badger Trust & Policy Advisor Born Free Foundation

Dr Kate Evans
Founder & Director, Elephants for Africa

Peter Fearnhead
CEO, African Parks

Sudarshani Fernando
Co-founder & Facilitator, Sentinels Against Wildlife Crime (SAWC)

Ricky Gervais
Writer and producer

Jane Goodall PhD DBE
Founder the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

Max Graham
Founder & CEO, Space for Giants

Raabia Hawa
Executive Director, Ulinzi Africa Foundation& Founder of Walk With Rangers Initiative

Stephanie Hilbourne OBE
Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts

Liz Hosken
Director, The Gaia Foundation

Sujeewa Jasinghe
Co-founder & Director, Centre for Eco-cultural Studies (CES)

Stanley Johnson
Author and conservationist

Dr Trevor Jones
Southern Tanzania Elephant Project

Paula Kahumbu, OGW
Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Direct

Max and Josh Kauderer
Founders, Elephant Highway

Alan Knight OBE
CEO, International Animal Rescue

Peter Knights
Executive Director, WildAid

Hussein Lalani
Ex-CEO, 99p

James Littlewood
Director, Natural History Society of Northumbria

Joanna Lumley OBE

Philip Mansbridge
Director, UK – International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Struan McDougall
Founder and trustee, The CCG Trust

Virginia McKenna OBE Hon Dr Science
Founder, Born Free Foundation
Will Travers
President, Born Free Foundation

Kate Moore
Programmes Manager, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust

Dr Ciaran Mundy and Dominic Neate
Trustees, One World Wildlife

Ingrid E Newkirk
Founder, PETA

Graeme Oliver
Director, Poached Rhino


Asgar Pathan
Executive Director, Care for the Wild Kenya

Dr. Mark Pilgrim
Director General, Chester Zoo, former chair UK Elephant Welfare Group

Ian Redmond
Independent wildlife biologist, Founder of the African Ele-Fund and Ambassador for the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species

Mary Rice
Executive Director, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)

Jo Roberts
CEO, The Wilderness Foundation

John Roberts
Director of Elephants, Golden Triangle Elephant Foundation

Jen Samuel
President, Elephants DC

Noor Santosian
Founder, Africa Nomads Conservation

John Sauven
Executive Director, Greenpeace UK

David Shepherd CBE
Founder and President of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith
Bishop of St Albans

Craig Spencer
Founder and Executive Director, Black Mamba APU, Head Warden, Balule Nature Reserve

Patsy Stagman
Rhino Conservation Dubai

Ian Stevenson
CEO Conservation Lower Zambezi


Yvette Taylor
International Executive Director, Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization

Janet Thomas
Founder and Chairperson, Animal Aid Abroad Inc.

Jaime Unwin and Hannah Pollock
Co-Founders, Stand up for Nature

Stéphanie Vergniault
Chairman, SOS Elephants

Rory Young
Co-Founder, Chengeta Wildlife

Members of UK Parliament

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Alba)
Ochil and South Perthshire

David Anderson (Lab)

Clive Betts (Lab)
Sheffield South East

Alan Brown (SNP)
Kilmarnock and Loudoun

Nick Brown (Lab)
Newcastle upon Tyne East

Fiona Bruce (Con)

Lisa Cameron (SNP)

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

Alan Campbell (Lab)

Alistair Carmichael (LibDem)
Orkney and Shetland

Maria Caulfield (Con)

Mark Durkan (SDLP)

Vicky Foxcroft (Lab)
Lewisham Deptford

Roger Godsiff (Lab)
Birmingham Hall Green

Zac Goldsmith (Con)
Richmond Park

Helen Goodman (Lab)
Bishop Auckland

George Kerevan (Alba)
East Lothian

Chris Law (SNP)
Dundee West

Caroline Lucas (Green)
Brighton Pavilion

Justin Madders (Lab)
Ellesmere Port and Neston

John Mann (Lab)

John McDonnell (Lab)
Hayes and Harlington

Grahame Morris (Lab)

Kate Osamor (Lab Co-op)

Andrew Rosindell (Con)

Cat Smith (Lab)
Lancaster and Fleetwood

Jeff Smith (Lab)
Manchester Withington

John Spellar (Lab)

UK House of Lords

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

Lord and Lady Judd

Baroness (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett

Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Baroness Young of Old Scone

Members of European Parliament

Catherine Bearder (LibDem)
South East England

Dominique Bilde (National Rally)

Richard Corbitt (Lab)
Yorkshire and The Humber

Seb Dance (Lab)

Anneliese Dodds (Lab)
South East of England

Stefan Eck (Ind)

Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks)
The Netherlands

Neena Gill (Lab)
West Midlands

Julie Girling (Con)
South West England

Jeppe Kofod (Social Democrats)

Jean Lambert (Green)

David Martin (Lab)
The Lothians

Marlene Mizzi (Lab)

Pavel Poc (Social Democracy)
Czech Republic

Michèle Rivasi (Europe Ecology – The Greens)

Molly Scott Cato (Green)
South West of England

Bart Staes (Groen)

Keith Taylor (Green)
South East Region

Claude Turmes (The Greens)

Ernest Urtasun (Catalunya en Comú)

Ivo Vajgl (ALDE)