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Ivory Bill - Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Lord Grantchester Lord Grantchester Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 7:15 pm, 24th October 2018

I shall speak to Amendments 41 and 78 in this group. Amendment 41 would require the Secretary of State to prescribe appropriate categories for the purpose of publication and specifically precludes the release of any information that would be unlawful or might lead to the identification of the owner. At this stage, I ask the Minister to go somewhat further than she did in Committee and clarify more specifically what the Government can do, at what intervals and through what media, to give confidence that the Bill is working effectively.

Amendment 78 requires the Secretary of State to publish an annual report covering the implementation and impact of the ivory ban domestically and internationally. This includes the work of the various bodies involved, including the Office for Product Safety and Standards, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the National Wildlife Crime Unit. We feel that this is very important given the concerns raised in Committee about the resources—or, perhaps more accurately, the lack of resources—available to these organisations, as well as their specific role in the implementation of the Bill.

We also feel that it is important to consider the hire and sale of musical instruments containing ivory, as my noble friend Lady Quin explained. The 20% exemption for musical instruments is designed to allow most instruments to be exempt from the Bill, including pianos and bagpipes. Although we do not support more widely drawn amendments, we must be aware of the impact that the ban will have on this artistic activity.

Importantly, we would also want the report to build on any international reports considering the impact on nations or communities that generate income from ivory. Poachers who kill elephants are usually poor and looking for a way to feed themselves and their family. However, education and development are needed so that communities can be turned to recognise the value of elephant tourism. An elephant is worth 76 times more alive in a savannah than in a market place. The report could augment the view that managed conservation with tourism will offer an alternative sustainable income to elephant communities and wider populations of Africa. Will the Minister go a little further than she was able to go in Committee?