The United Kingdom has just announced that they are introducing one of the toughest bans on ivory sales in the world.

The only ivory products that will be excluded from the ban include musical instruments that were made before 1975 and contain less than 20% ivory; antiques that are over 100 years old and have been assessed by a specialist; items that contain less than 10% ivory that were made prior to 1947; and museum-accredited pieces.

Anyone found in violation of the ban could face up to five years in prison or an “unlimited fine”.

According to the government’s website, the ban was overwhelmingly favored by over 88% of respondents to their survey.

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UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement: “Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol, so we will introduce one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales to protect elephants for future generations.

“The ban on ivory sales we will bring into law will reaffirm the UK’s global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past.”

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The CEO of Tusk Trust, Charlie Mayhew, said: “We are delighted that the Government has listened to our concerns and given the overwhelming public response to their consultation is now moving decisively to introduce tough legislation to ban the trade in ivory in the UK.

“The narrowly defined exemptions are pragmatic. The ban will ensure there is no value for modern day ivory and the tusks of recently poached elephants cannot enter the UK market. We welcome the fact that Ministers are sending such a clear message to the world that the illegal wildlife trade will not be tolerated and every effort will be made to halt the shocking decline in Africa’s elephant population in recent years.”

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