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Ivory Bill - Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Lord Carrington of Fulham Lord Carrington of Fulham Conservative 4:00 pm, 24th October 2018

My Lords, I support my noble friend Lord Cormack’s amendment. I really just want to add to my noble friend Lord Hague that one of the great problems that the drafters of the Bill faced, and never really answered, is the claim that there is an inability in the ivory markets to tell the difference between modern ivory, newly carved from poached elephants, and antique ivory. It is in fact extremely easy to do and is done as a matter of course; indeed, it is enshrined in the Bill by museums having the expertise to determine whether an ivory item presented as of exceptional international and domestic importance—and therefore exempt under the Bill—is old or new. There is the expertise to determine whether ivory is old or new and to tell whether an ivory chess set—the example used by my noble friend Lord Cormack—is an old ivory chess set or one carved for the Hong Kong market. The reality of all this is that we are destroying a great many highly prized historical artefacts in this country for, probably, zero effect on the elephant population. That is the great tragedy of the Bill.