French do the ivory Can Can!

Ha!  Yes indeed.

Thanks for letting me have my little joke but seriously, the news that came out of Paris last week as far as the ivory trade is concerned, is most encouraging.

French Environment Minister, Segolene Royal, announced a number of important measures relating to France’s efforts to tackle the ivory trade including:

  1. A suspension of the exportation of all raw and cut ivory from France from 28th January 2015.  This does not apply to carved ivory but is a significant step in the right direction. Minister Royal has written to the European Commission encouraging all member States to take the same measure.
  2. Internal trade in raw and cut ivory (in other words, within France) although still possible, will be further restricted by a stronger protocol relating to the issue of certificates.
  3. Additional destruction of illegal ivory will take place in 2015 (following on from the destruction of 3 tonnes in Paris  in February 2014).
  4. Minister Royal will convene follow-up meetings every three months or so to share progress and to hear further the views of non-government organisations and experts.

I attended this meeting and was so very pleased with these measures but I also raised the point with the delegates that the decision to suspend all exports of raw and cut ivory from France should be expanded to include all carved ivory as well since, in my  view, ivory trade, in all its forms, creates a commercial environment which supports and stimulates elephant poaching and ivory smuggling.

The Minister also announced, in answer to speculation that France might be the destination for live juvenile elephants caught from the wild in Zimbabwe, that no import permits would be issued were a request for their importation to be made.

So now the question is what is next?

The European Union should, at the very least, uniformly follow the measures announced by France which, in themselves, reflect similar measures taken in the UK.  However, there needs to be international continuity and we are all looking to see whether China, in particular, will take additional steps.  I have been, I think, rightly critical of the recent meeting that has just taken place in China where, together with the CITES Secretariat, the focus has been on clamping down on illegal ivory trade.  My reaction to that can be found here.

So, if France can do the Can Can on ivory, will others do do the Quick Step and bring this brutal slaughter to an end?

Blogging off


4 Responses to “French do the ivory Can Can!”

  1. ada Says:

    I think that it should be disclosed to the public exactly who is buying ivory and for what purpose.
    I am a 57 biologist that do not understand why this brutal and ridiculous trade is still going on.

  2. Catherine Clarke Says:

    Bravo, Segolene Royal.

  3. Denise McCracken Says:

    Unfortunately the name which keeps coming up in all this is China. Until the rest of the world brings the Chinese onside
    To the illegal trade in Ivory and Rhino horn and bear gallbladders these animals are at a huge risk. Chinese medicine
    Demands and the Chinese carving industry alone make it Impossible to protect these animals. China must be made
    To see the impact it is having. Embarrass them ! Don’t buy it ever!

  4. Emilie Says:

    Maybe we should ask her why she allows the import of 15 elephant from Zimbabwe national Park (wild elephants that will be cut from their families and kept in tiny enclosures) to French Zoos….