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Ivory Bill - Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Lord Hague of Richmond Lord Hague of Richmond Conservative 6:15 pm, 24th October 2018

My Lords, as on Amendment 1, I briefly draw attention to the importance of international co-operation in implementing the policy of which the Bill is a part and which these amendments would affect. We will not be able, by anything we do in our Parliament of our own volition, to save the African elephant, but we are able to be part of a concerted and perhaps, one day, successful international effort, represented by, among other things, strong bans on domestic markets.

I mentioned in my earlier intervention that China is now implementing a near-total ban, and the effect of China announcing that last year was to reduce the price of ivory in China by about two-thirds in one year. Pursuing that policy is the way to destroy the profits and attractions of the criminal networks engaged in this trade. That is why strong domestic bans in many parts of the world—in range countries, demand countries, transit countries—are so important.

If I have understood these amendments correctly, they could represent a more serious dilution of the exemptions in the Bill than the previous group. That would be serious, because in some respects it would leave us with much less of a total ban than exists in the United States or China. The Minister was right to say, on the last group, that the Government have consulted widely, and I believe that they have reached the right balance, so unlike my noble friends I would not encourage him to be more receptive to this group than to the last.