I would like to put on record how pleased I am that this Bill is going through the House today, and very speedily—I am grateful for that.
At a reception at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the other day, I watched a very sad film about Sudan, the last male white rhino, who, very sadly, died in March. There are two females left, but it looks as though they are going to die out. I do not want to attend a reception where we mourn the loss of the last elephant, so we must do all we can to protect them.
It is crucial to elephants that this Bill ushers in a vital change to bring us into line with other developed economies around the world that have already introduced their own bans. For too long, we have been overshadowed by the USA, China, France and some of the other biggest global ivory trade markets, which have already introduced comprehensive bans. I am pleased that we will now be part of that positive movement, because we have been absent for far too long.
I am delighted that the Bill will introduce a total ban on the sale of ivory, including, most importantly, antique ivory, because the antique ivory market in the UK is surprisingly large. Some so-called antique ivory is faked—it is aged and stained to look antique. We cannot allow that to happen, and that is why I am delighted that this Bill will be passed.
What is more, we must push for a global ban. In the aftermath of the Chinese ban, Ginette Hemley, the senior vice president of the World Wildlife Fund, said:
“This ban alone won’t end the poaching of elephants. It’s equally critical that China’s neighbors follow suit and shut down ivory markets across Asia.”
So let us in the UK lead the way with this Bill, and let other European countries follow us. I am very pleased with the Bill and I support it.
Read the speech here.
Watch the speech here.