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'Europe’s ivory laws are broken,' say campaigners

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By Elena Cavallone  & Damon Embling
'Europe’s ivory laws are broken,' say campaigners

End the ivory trade. That was the message from demonstrators in the heart of Brussels on Tuesday. This as a study shows illegal selling is still happening in the EU, in spite of a ban.

Ivory obtained before 1947 can be traded freely, after that and before 1990, when a global ban was introduced, it can be sold with a government certificate.

The Oxford University research - sponsored by a campaign group - found that three quarters of more than 100 pieces bought in the EU were from after 1947 and one in five have been obtained since 1989.

But none came with a certificate, being presented as older pieces.

"Europe’s ivory laws are broken, they are not working and elephants are paying the price for that," said Bert Wander, Director of the Avaaz campaign group.

"We need urgently to close the loopholes, ban the ivory trade and make sure all elephants are protected so that we can stop the poaching crisis and save them for generations to come."

The European Commission says dealing with poaching and ivory trafficking is a key focus of a wildlife action plan and that it's now looking at the next steps.

Last month, the European Parliament called for a complete ban on domestic ivory trading.