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The Brief: EU faces increasing pressure for tighter regulation on ivory trade

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The Brief: EU faces increasing pressure for tighter regulation on ivory trade
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The EU is facing increasing pressure for tighter regulation on ivory trade within its borders.

Despite calls for a shutdown, a panel from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) decided to push back the decision to next year.

Europe already has strict trading rules in place, but for NGOs, the rules are not working. That's the claim of the director of international policy at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

"The EU measures, at the moment, are not entirely effective in our view and there are some loopholes within them, particularly with regards to what is known as ‘worked’ ivory, so ivory has already been carved into items.

“In theory, if it is an antique, it is still allowed to be sold in the EU, but there is no burden of proof on making sure that these items are antiques.

“And it's those opportunities that criminals are taking advantage of to traffic illegal ivory around. So that is why it is so critical that everyone closes down, both legal markets and those illegal markets that currently exist, but need better enforcement."

A recent study showed that up to a fifth of ivory objects came from elephants killed after the global trade ban in 1990.

According to the conservation group WWF, as many as 60% of elephant deaths are down to poaching.

NGOs want a total ban on ivory trade within EU member states, giving a chance for the elephant population to thrive.

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