We will now hear evidence from the World Wide Fund for Nature, Born Free and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Before I call the first Member to ask a question, I remind Members that questions should be limited to matters within the scope of the Bill, and that we must stick to the timings of the programme motion. Could the witnesses introduce themselves for the record and to check the sound?
Do you all feel that the scope of the Bill, about just elephant ivory, is broad enough? If we ban just elephant ivory, could there be a shift towards ivory and horn from other animals being targeted? If it is possible, should we broaden the scope of the Bill to prevent that from happening?Q
That is an important question. Context is important; we all feel that it is important that whatever other considerations there are for non-elephant ivory-bearing species, they do not blow this legislation off course or delay it significantly. We all share the view that it would be a tragedy, to put it in informal terms, if we worked really hard to save elephants and other species were collateral damage in the process. But we need to consider a number of species.
We suggest that the Government commit to a rapid consultation after the Bill, to look at hippos, narwhal, hornbill—which are also facing extinction because their bills are a surrogate for ivory—walrus and not just CITES-listed species but non-CITES-listed species. We recognise that the trade—particularly the legal one—is entrepreneurial and will move to wherever there is an opportunity. Species such as warthog could come into the frame very rapidly as interest in ivory shifts from elephants, which are getting a huge amount of attention, to other ivory-bearing species.
In summary, we would like real attention to be paid to the issue, but we want to make sure that that does not in any way delay this process. That would be detrimental to what is under way.
We endorse that opinion. We are happy that the Bill as it stands, which allows for consideration of other ivory-bearing species at a later date, is sufficient. We would be comfortable with Will’s suggestion of expansion to non-CITES-listed species, too, but our concern would be that to include other non-ivory-bearing species at this point would cause delays to the Bill. With the illegal wildlife trade conference in October, we are keen that the Bill moves quickly through the legislative process.
Again, I endorse what WWF and Born Free just said. There should be flexibility in the Bill to include other species in future, but at this time the focus should be on delivering for elephant ivory, which the consultation was about and where a lot of the research was. That flexibility should enable the inclusion of further species should they be exploited and should there be a need to add them.
ThatQ is interesting because the Bill has been a long time coming and it is great that we have got this far. To knock it off course would be perverse. As we have not consulted on all the other species, would the best thing be to get the Bill through and then all of you who are experts could meet Ministers to decide which species—particulary non-CITES species—ought to be included so that we do not have other species coming on to the endangered list simply because activity has been displaced? I assume that you would all be happy to consult Ministers once the Bill is passed to get that done as soon as possible.
I totally agree with that. We have all worked so hard to get to this point to deliver one of the strongest ivory bans in the world. The initiative that has been taken by all parties and the cross-party support shown on Second Reading have been superb, and there is an opportunity to provide that protection. As we said, as long as there is that flexibility, and consideration for other species, which can be applied in future, and as long as further consultations can be held and we can have those discussions, I would agree totally with that.
Just for the Committee’s interest and information, we are talking about huge volumes of trade in non-elephant ivory. I have four figures that might be helpful. From 2007 to 2016—just under a decade—78,000 hippos and hippo products were exported by CITES parties. Hong Kong imported 60 tonnes of hippo ivory between 2004 and 2014. Between 2007 and 2016—those dates again—7,000 narwhal products were exported and more than 172,000 walrus specimens were reported to have been exported on the CITES trade database. Those are not insignificant by any measure—they are enormously significant. With that kind of volume now, as we have just mentioned, the shift away from elephant ivory could put insupportable pressure on these other species, which is why we would like to see an accelerated process for that after this process has been undertaken. That is a very helpful suggestion.
It has taken a long time to get to the stage of introducing this Bill and I would think it will be a long time before the Government return to this issue. The figures you have given on other species are startling, and you say you want flexibility in the Bill to be able to amend it. Is there a way in which the Bill could allow for, perhaps, delegated legislation or some other way to revisit the issue without having to have an Ivory Bill mark 2, which could be quite a significant time down the roadQ ?
Q I suspect that the trade in ivory that comes from those species is not anywhere near as established as that of elephant ivory in terms of antiques, piano keys and things like that. That trade would be concerned with elephant ivory.
My understanding is that it is genuinely an alternative ivory that is used in decorative materials. It is used in inlays and in almost exactly the same way as elephant ivory is used except less so on the whole. Less so in a large carved tusk in the shape of little elephants, for example.
Q Exemptions in the Bill are all for existing items—in the case of musical instruments it is pre-1975, and much earlier for antiques—so I do not quite understand why there would be a need to reconsider exemptions for items from other species, if you are saying they are being used now. I do not get the moral justification for there perhaps being a different case for items made of ivory from other species. Why is it not exactly the same case as for elephants? Perhaps Lisa can ask more coherently than me.
IQ understand the point: there might be a concern that if these other species are excluded from the Bill and they are an alternative to ivory, there could be a knock-on impact on those species. Would we be at risk of losing those species in the interim period?
We certainly recognise the risk, and that is why we are comfortable with there being the option in the Bill as it currently stands for consideration. Our concern is about including them in the body of the Bill now and the delay that a consultation process on that would cause for the passing of the Bill.
In terms of how you believe this new policy, when law, will change the ivory trade, what do you believe the contrast will be with policy in other countries, most notably the policy in the United States and China? Do you think the law as it will be applied in the UK will have more or less of an impact? What results do you think this will have, when law, compared with other countries?Q
For me, in relation to the legislation and its global impact, introducing one of the toughest ivory bans in the world will establish us firmly as a global leader. In Europe at the moment there are discussions about an ivory ban; on Second Reading there was a discussion about how our ban should act as a template for the European one. It gives us a good opportunity to push for a European ivory ban equal to, if not stronger than, the one we are introducing in the UK. Globally, that will have a massive impact on closing down those markets and the trade that is currently going from Europe to south-east Asia.
Concerning the United States and China, China is implementing its ivory ban very strongly at the moment and doing a very good job. It still has further to go; Hong Kong will be closing down in 2022, and we look forward to that because there is still trade going on legally there. The United States also has its ban, which is doing very well, but it has a federal law and state law, so it is much more complex to interpret. The UK could provide the template for the rest of the world.
I agree with everything that has just been said. I will point out that the UK does not have anybody whose livelihood depends on ivory, whereas in China there were individuals whose livelihoods depended on the ivory trade. China has taken that resolute decision, notwithstanding the fact that people’s livelihoods to a degree depended on it, to move out of it. That is important. It is complex in the US, as has been said, because of the federal and state situation, but the US has also taken resolute actions. The UK, having proclaimed that it would take action quite some time ago, is now in a position to reassert itself as a leader on this issue, not only on our own domestic front, but in the investment we make in supporting African countries in their efforts to tackle illegal trade. Just this morning, there was notification of another seizure by the Kenyan authorities in Mombasa.
It will be one of the toughest. It might not be the toughest—I believe that Taiwan, for example, has a full ban, which is coming in in very short order, with no exemptions and no compensation—but we will certainly be up there.
I very much endorse what has already been said and reiterate the point that with the October meeting of the illegal wildlife trade conference, the passing of this Bill would put the UK in an incredibly strong position to advocate to those countries that have yet to make commitments, particularly the neighbouring countries around China, where we risk seeing a knock-on effect of China’s ban.
YouQ mentioned the upcoming conference in October, and said that, if passed, this Bill will put the UK in a global lead position. Of itself, what contribution would you assess that the Bill will make towards deterring poaching, and how much of that deterrent is contingent on other countries following suit in a similarly clear and robust way?
For the October illegal wildlife trade conference we have a global stage. Senior politicians and Heads of State will come to the UK, and announcing that we have on the statute book an ivory ban that is one of the toughest in the world will be critical as part of that global leadership. As for acting as a deterrent, we know that closing down markets alone will not stop the illegal ivory trade—it is an illegal trade and we need good enforcement measures to go alongside it. We have opportunities with the illegal wildlife trade conference regarding our own law enforcement. The National Wildlife Crime Unit is funded only until 2020, and that funding must be renewed and become permanent if we are to show global leadership in acting as a deterrent and having the correct law enforcement. The CITES Border Force team is our frontline of defence at Heathrow, and they are conducting training all over the world. When staff leave or posts become vacant they must be renewed because we must maintain that capacity to act as a deterrent.
As organisations, we invest—as do the UK Government —in anti-poaching work on the ground. This is not just about closing down markets or legislation; this is about enforcement and feet on the ground doing that anti-poaching work. It is a mixture of measures, but with this Bill the UK can show that global leadership of taking the right steps in the right direction. We know that the Government are also investing in a lot of work overseas by having troops going to Malawi, training rangers, and other overseas investments.
We very much endorse that. To ensure that the impact of the Bill is realised there must be sufficient effort to raise awareness of it, and sufficient support resource going to the implementation of enforcement. We must particularly seek long-term funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
Yes, I would agree with all that, and I want to show the Committee something that may help understanding. The question was about what the Bill’s impact on poaching will be, and it is hard to make a direct correlation. However, we can have a direct impact on other aspects that relate to poaching. I am holding a piece of ivory and it looks antique to me. It obviously looked antique to half a dozen ivory dealers who looked at it and said, “Yep, that is pre-1947. We would be happy to sell it”. We had it DNA tested, and it is from about 2000. It is a modern piece of ivory—well, the ivory is from 2000 but the carving was done later. This must have come from an elephant that was poached in the past 20 years. The Bill will help to deal with that, and that is a direct link to poaching. It is very important.
Investment in wildlife law enforcement in Africa is really important. It is about boots on the ground, but also about agencies that prosecute people. It is about legal systems and ensuring that deterrent sentences are indeed just that and are effective, and that people do not get off with a slap on the wrist. It is about ensuring that law enforcement officers are properly trained and can carry out their duties effectively. The African Elephant Coalition includes 30 countries with African elephants that have worked together, united, to try to deal with this issue across international borders. I am sure future speakers will talk about the countries of the Elephant Protection Initiative, which are coming together under a common agenda.
My final point is that we need to step up and think about investment in a slightly different way. In my view, there is a common linkage with our clear objectives in overseas development, which are to deal with poverty and to provide opportunity. Those are also based on healthy and secure environments, including wildlife environments. Many of the ecosystem services that the poorest people in Africa depend on come from protected areas. If we are not investing in the protected areas where elephants and other species live, we are not doing a great service either to the species we wish to protect or to the people who live literally downstream from those protected areas.
One of the points that has been mentioned is that the Bill is about not only law enforcement but deterrence. There is an opportunity here to introduce a set of sentencing guidance for courts in the United Kingdom, to provide that information to magistrates and judges when prosecuting cases. We need appropriate sentences to be given for the crimes at the end of the day. Having the Bill on its own and having law enforcement is one thing, but we need good sentencing guidance to ensure that appropriate sentences are given.
Are you convinced that sufficient resources are in place to ensure that the provisions in the Bill are full implemented? I am thinking particularly of the resources of the UK Government to make sure that British involvement in the trade can be haltedQ .
I attended the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime conference at Kew last week, and one of the questions I asked was about the growing issue of cyber-crime. Does the National Wildlife Crime Unit have sufficient resources to tackle the illegal wildlife trade online? Quite clearly that is something it would like additional resource for.
As Will said, these criminals are working in an environment where they can adapt and change very swiftly. The online market provides anonymity, as they can create false identities, so trying to prosecute them becomes much more difficult. Only yesterday we had the introduction of new guidelines on the control of trade in endangered species from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which was fantastic. They include a new crime if someone is advertising an endangered species on annexe A and does not have an article 10 certificate.
Steps are being taken, but we are always playing catch-up with these criminals. We need the resources to be able to prosecute them. That goes not only at the UK level but at international level, with Interpol and within the countries where these crimes are taking place on the ground with poaching.
One of the tools at our disposal is to make sure that the charges for the exemption certificates are sufficiently high. I know that it is meant to be a cost-recovery process, but they should be sufficiently high to make sure that the very limited number of exemption certificates that are applied for are not applied for in a frivolous way, so people are not applying for lots of exemption certificates, which would defeat the object. We need to come back to the core principles of what we are trying to do here and ensure that these exemptions are extremely limited. One way of doing that is to say that if you want an exemption certificate, it will cost—I will make up the figure—£1,000. I think people will think twice when they have to go through that process and fork out £1,000 but might not get the certificate at the end of the day. That is another mechanism that we should look at.
Q Thank you for your contributions over many years, particularly through the consultations, which are much appreciated. Do you feel that you have had a chance to have your voices heard through the consultation process? I hope you have, but it would be interesting to hear that from you.
There has been some concern that the ban might lead to displacement to other countries, for example in the far east. You have addressed that to some extent in your comments. Can you reconfirm for the Committee that you believe that the ban will help and that the October conference could be an opportunity to start tackling concerns about displacement?
Yes, very much. We feel that we have had the opportunity to input into this process, and we are grateful for that—the consultation process has been very inclusive. If the Bill can be passed in time for the October conference, we can show that we have one of the world’s strongest pieces of legislation on ivory. We feel that it would put the UK in a strong position to work with other countries, particularly those neighbouring China: Laos, Thailand, Bhutan. There is certainly a risk of displacement from China to those sorts of countries, and this would help them move forward with their ivory legislation as well.
I totally agree. With regard to the voice, it was one of the biggest responses in the public consultation, showing the depth of public concern. It was generated not just by advocacy organisations such as those represented here and others; the public in general wanted to have their say. With regard to displacement, the fact that the Foreign Secretary is so invested in the issue—as was his predecessor—bodes well, because the FCO has a really important role to play in making sure that our position on this issue is well understood in the countries that were just mentioned. Although the Bill is about the domestic ivory trade, it is important that it does not become a domestic issue; it is an influencer far and wide, particularly in those countries that have yet to make their position as clear as they could.
I agree. We have been listened to and consulted well. The consultation run by the Ivory Bill team at DEFRA should be congratulated on doing a superb job. They have consulted far and wide, with a range of organisations, and constructed a carefully crafted Bill.
There is always a risk of displacement to other countries. The investment that is being made and the training that the UK can provide—not only through our armed forces but through our police services—is excellent. The Metropolitan police in the UK have developed an ivory fingerprinting kit, which is now being rolled out to over 18 countries globally. The British high commission in Mozambique has invited me back to do some training with rangers and ANAC, which is the national parks authority. That is a piece of frontline equipment that can help catch ivory poachers on the ground, and it will also be appearing at the IWT conference in October. Team GB have a huge amount to contribute to law enforcement on the ground, and can provide expertise, training and resources where displacement is happening. Those are good strategic opportunities for tackling some of these real hotspots around the world.
Will an ivory ban help? Yes it will. This is a really good piece of legislation that will provide that global leadership and that position. The opportunities you have within the European Union to get a strong ivory ban in Europe and use this as a template are critical. Every available opportunity should be used to push this across Europe via colleagues, so that we can roll out this ivory ban and get a global ban. This is what we really need in order to start tackling the trade. You have a great opportunity and I wish you well.
You talked about cyber-dealing and cyber-trading, and I want to come back to that. As I understand it, there is a significant amount of trade over the internet. How can we enforce this effectively? Do you think that there should be additional measures, or do you think the Bill covers that sufficiently?Q
Additional measures have just been introduced in the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations. Anybody offering an annexe A specimen will need to display their article 10 certificate. That is a new requirement that we welcome. Enforcement is an issue. There has just been a major conference with Interpol in Lyon with law enforcement agencies from across Europe and the world, which was co-partnered with IFAW. It was looking at how we can tackle cyber-crime and where it is moving—again, it is the impact of Facebook closed groups, which are very difficult to penetrate, and also the dark web. An awful lot of further work and investigation is needed by global enforcement agencies, but also by our own enforcement agencies. We have to remember that this is a criminal activity, undertaken by organised criminal gangs using the same routes they use for other commodities, such as guns, people and drugs. It is the fourth largest illegal activity in the world. It is undermining communities and Governments and therefore needs to be a priority. Tackling this in any way we can, and especially online, is going to be critical.
As Will said earlier, these are criminal groups that will adapt and change at the flick of a switch. When one market closes, another one will open. They will use technology to the fore. Now, with our tenBoma scheme in Kenya, we are creating a network to defeat a network, which is critical. We are using the same intelligence software used to tackle poachers before they shoot the elephant, so we can anticipate where they are going to be and make sure the resources from the enforcement agencies are deployed. Enforcement online and on the ground, and using technology, is vital if we are to defeat the poachers.
I want to return to the definitions under clauseQ 35 for a moment. We all share the desire to extend protection to as many species as possible. You can probably hear that there is some concern from Members about the speed with which we are doing that. Would it be right to say that your overriding concern today, in the context of the Bill, is to bring forward the protection for elephants as soon as possible? There is a real sense of urgency here.
Yes, I agree. With 20,000 elephants being killed every single year—around 55 elephants a day—this is poaching at an incredibly high, industrialised level. We saw in a three-year period between 2010 and 2012 approximately 100,000 elephants being poached. This is genocide for elephants on a vast scale. It is industrialised poaching to go to the markets. Something absolutely critical on enforcement is therefore needed. We need to acknowledge the scale of what is going on and the legislation needs to deal with elephant poaching urgently. Over the past two years, the work that the Government has done in preparing the Bill—gathering evidence about ivory markets and ivory poaching, and listening to people—has been absolutely critical in developing what we have in front of us today. So yes, we agree.
I agree with both colleagues. I do not want to bombard the Committee with statistics, but one that always sticks in my mind is that Tanzania was regarded, for many years, as an elephant stronghold—it had the second largest elephant population on the continent. Yet between 2009 and 2014—in five short years—its elephant population fell from more than 100,000 to just over 40,000. That is 1,000 elephants poached every month for 60 months. That just gives you a sense of how once it reaches that kind of critical mass, once law enforcement has broken down to the level that the poachers are winning, the situation can go from hero to zero extremely quickly.
Q Presumably, given the amount of work that has gone into preparing the Bill for this one species, if we have to go back and add more species to the Bill, we will therefore have to undertake all of that consultation work again with other bodies, which is going to delay the Bill. That is antithetical to what you are trying to achieve here, isn’t it?
I am not at all technical on this, and you know it far better than I do, but it seems to me that if we can get this through, with the provision that the Secretary of State can look at other non-ivory-bearing species and bring forward whatever measures he or she wishes in short order, then the consultation may be very short and serve only to verify the situation, rather than to do a long exploratory digging into it—in other words, just to verify the kinds of figures I gave you earlier. The Secretary of State can then come forward with secondary measures, which will hopefully address the issue very quickly. I hope that would be the sort of commitment we could count on.
Yes, clause 35(2) would clearly allow the Secretary of State to bring forward delegated legislation. Can I focus on one other thing you said? That is to include ivory from an animal or species not, for the time being, covered by that subsection. You mentioned non-ivory-bearing species. Did you mean non-elephant?
I am sorry; I meant non-elephant ivory. I have mentioned warthog. At the risk of upsetting people who are concerned about a very small amount of Aboriginal use of walrus, that is really important, but so is mammoth ivory. We should at least be aware of the volume of mammoth ivory in trade. Recall that this is in trade. I have the import figures for the United States. They keep a close record of all mammoth ivory in trade, and I will just give you three years. This is only mammoth ivory carvings—there are lots of different categories— but in 2013 there were 5,049 mammoth ivory carvings and 773 tusks. In 2014 there were 19,335 carvings and 338 tusks. In 2015 there were 7,822 ivory carvings and 120 tusks. That is a not inconsiderable amount of trade in an ivory product that, in marketplaces in the far east, is definitely a surrogate for modern elephant ivory.
I was very struck, David, by the points you made about organised criminality and how the trade is currently undermining communities and Governments. What the Bill will do for us in the UK is great, but how can we ensure that the measures we take here get right through to communities? How can we support them in transitioning away from dependence on poaching? How can we ensure that there is no adverse impact on some of those local communities? Is there anything missing from the Bill, in terms of obligations on our Government, that would enable us to help communities through that transition, to tackle that organised criminality on the ground and to ensure that some of the most deprived communities in the world are not damaged?Q
Those are all excellent points. The Bill will clearly close down markets in the UK. The more markets we close down, the more we deprive people of money and income. The price of raw ivory that was publicly for sale was $2,200 per kilo. After China introduced its ban, it went down to $1,100 and then down to $600. It is now about $450. There has been a massive devaluation in the price of raw ivory, making it a less viable option. Such things are incredibly useful.
With regard to help for communities, on Second Reading there was an interesting discussion in which Members talked about how some of the Department for International Development’s budget might be used. We have to consider a holistic approach. The communities are not isolated from poaching, and the impact of poaching on communities is not isolated from the illegal wildlife trade; they are joined up and hand in hand. There are good opportunities that exist with our overseas development budget to take a more integrated approach to delivering holistic aid and support and anti-poaching measures, to help build communities and tackle corruption.
The support with efforts through the DEFRA challenge fund grant, through DFID and the FCO’s interaction with other communities is also important. It needs to go hand in glove. This is a complex situation that you cannot just wave a wand or a Bill at. It is all part of a jigsaw that really helps, but our overseas aid is another part that we could potentially re-examine and look at, to provide better integrated aid.
The WWF would very much endorse that position. I do not think we need additions to the Bill, but we are supportive of wider conversations about looking at overseas aid for ecosystem-based funding, and looking at bigger-picture landscape approaches to some of the critical habitats where the illegal wildlife trade impacts on the survival of certain species.
I endorse everything that has just been said, and I totally understand that when it comes to spending the £13 billion or so a year in our DFID budget, in most cases we must be risk averse. However, for this sort of issue—I used this term before when I talked about it with Justine Greening three years ago—we need a sort of adventure capital fund. We need a modest amount of money with which we try innovative, new things on the ground or with partners, and try to deliver something that will change the game on the ground and speak to all the issues that have been raised, such as secure ecosystems, secure livelihoods, alternative livelihoods and food security at landscape level. Sitting right in the middle of that can be conservation. If the brief is whether we can make conservation work for communities and people, I think the answer is yes, but it needs not insignificant—although not huge—pump-priming to really get it going. That is where DFID, which is a completely different entity from the one we are talking about right now, could have a major role.
I agree about some of the technical developments and initiatives that the UK can take. I mentioned fingerprinting earlier, and across Africa most countries do not even have an electronic fingerprinting database. When we are dealing with international criminal syndicates and gangs, countries are not capturing the information, and they do not have the capability to share it with neighbouring countries. These are transnational crimes. We must consider how we can develop these countries in a way that provides practical enforcement and really helps them to develop.
We can help to defeat these international criminal syndicates, and simple investments that can be done through development grants or a challenge fund are really important. A national fingerprinting database for a country could cost as little as £60,000. Look at that as an investment and a way to help tackle corruption and crime, including not just wildlife crime but crime and terrorism. That has a massive impact across the world. In tackling the illegal wildlife trade, we must consider some of those simple enforcement measures that can make a game-changing difference on the ground for those countries.
Q You mentioned Hong Kong and the fact that China is implementing this measure quite strictly. You also mentioned mammoth. I understand that in Hong Kong ivory is being passed off as mammoth tusk. Obviously the mammoth are dead—we are never going to save the life of a mammoth—but should we consult on a ban on mammoth ivory as well as on those species that might become extinct as a result of not being included in the Bill? If in Hong Kong, or anywhere else, people can say, “It’s all right; this is a mammoth tusk,” and sell it, does that not create the loophole that those who want to make money are looking for?
It is certainly something that we would be comfortable with. I mentioned an amendment earlier. At the moment the Bill includes CITES-listed species, but mammoth, as an extinct species, are not a CITES-listed species and never will be. One option would be to remove that caveat in the existing legislation, but that could be part of a later consultation process.
Q Let us come back to the scope of the meaning of ivory. You talked about there being a delay if anything is added in. Given that this is the Ivory Bill, not the Elephant Ivory Bill, and that the CITES list makes clear that there is concern about species beyond the elephant, why would there be a delay if you added in the species listed by CITES? The consultation allowed for discussion of other species that are badly affected by this issue, and you have the figures.
We did comment on other species, and we did advocate that there should be consideration, which is what I believe clause 35 refers to. The definition of ivory in the Bill is ivory from elephant species. I understand why it is important to make sure there is consideration of other species, for which there has been no full consultation. We want to understand what is going on with hippo ivory, with narwhal ivory, with walrus ivory, with warthog ivory—non-CITES listed—and with extinct, non-CITES-listed mammoth ivory. There may be—I am just trying to think of the right way of expressing this—specific exemptions that would have been considered for inclusion specific to, for example, mammoth ivory that we would be discussing now had that been part of the overall process to start with.
Q I am just talking about the Bill at the moment. It could be improved quickly by adding in the CITES species, as I know a number of people were suggesting. You could then consult and look at the non-CITES species and the issue of mammoths separately afterwards. My big concern is that you bring this in just for elephants and you very quickly see a shift. You could protect the other CITES species straightaway, without the need to go to consultation because of the nature of the Bill, being the Ivory Bill, if you see where I am coming from.
The built-in flexibility under clause 35(3), and the opportunity for the Secretary of State to add, means you would not need to go through a consultation process. If we were informing the Secretary of State of a shift that has taken place in conservation terms with species that are coming under threat, there should be an ability to provide that evidence for action to be taken swiftly to add those species immediately within the Bill. That flexibility currently exists under clause 35(3).
In relation to the speed of the Bill, I hand it back to you as hon. Members. That is in your remit—your court. As an NGO, we would like to see this Bill completed and into legislation by October, prior to the IWT conference, so we can have a global stage to announce this fantastic piece of legislation. So I hand the ball back to you.
Q I have two very quick points. The first is, having looked at Wikipedia—that great source of authority and information, as we all know—mammoths are included in the elephantidae family. I am rather anxious that what we are trying to do here is to decommoditise the attractiveness of ivory in all its forms and types. Therefore, I wonder whether mammoth is actually covered within the Bill, as set out in clause 35(6).
The other thing, very briefly, is whether you have had a look at the enforcement regulations, as set out in later clauses of the Bill. Do you think they are about right, too lenient or top-heavy?
On the point about the definition of ivory, I am not certain whether mammoth would be included. One of the points we would be keen to raise is that there should be a very clear definition of ivory within the Bill. At the moment, it is referenced in a number of places, and one clear definition would be useful.
In terms of enforcement, we feel it is appropriate, but as mentioned previously there is a need for sufficient resourcing to ensure enforcement is carried out in full.
On definitions, I would look at other ones within the Bill. There is one in the explanatory notes, where it currently talks about “outstandingly valuable” and outstandingly high artistic and cultural value. When the document was originally published, and the Bill was announced on
“the rarest and most important items of their type”.
It seems to me that there has been a change in some of the wording that was announced by the Government in terms of what has appeared in the Bill. We would strongly advocate that, when it comes to definitions, the words
“the rarest and most important items of their type” are reinstated in the Bill to make sure that, if an exemption is given, it is only for these extraordinary items, rather than creating something which allows trade in something which is just of outstandingly high value, rather than
“the rarest and most important”.
We believe there should be tighter control under the definition of the Bill.
Briefly on the enforcement issue, I think the provisions are okay, but it depends how frequently they are applied at the most severe level. Our judicial system should be encouraged to take the strongest possible measures provided for under the Bill—hopefully, the Act—in order to serve as a deterrent.
On the enforcement measures for portrait miniatures, having a size definition would be really important. One that has been put forward is something having a height of less than eight inches and a width of less than six inches. I believe you are speaking to a representative from Philip Mould later today. Getting that definition of a portrait miniature, which they have been working on with the Victoria and Albert Museum, is really important to help with enforcement, because if you have not got some widths, dimensions and a description, how can you enforce the legislation? Having that clarity of enforcement is really important.
Q Do you think the Government should commit under clause 2 to publish an annual register of items exempted under the artistic, cultural or historic value exemption? Do you think that register should be made public to ensure that there is public confidence that this ban and any exemptions applied to it are fair?
Absolutely. It is absolutely critical, where you have an exemption—especially for these items where I am challenging the definition and it should be “the rarest and most important”—that we should be publicly accountable for what is being listed. We have been told that this is only for exceptional items—we are anticipating 75 to 150 a year. Having a public register and seeing what has been sold for what amount is critical. Having that posted as an annual report on the website, publicly available to everybody, gives scrutiny to the legislation and to the processes involved, so I would fully endorse that.
Q I am sorry, I may be being obtuse here, which is why I need your expertise. You say it is an ivory surrogate. Is it ivory in the same sense that elephant tusk is ivory?
It should do. Of course, because it is appendix 1 on CITES, there should be no legal trade anyway. It should all be illegal trade. I guess one could argue that there might be some historical antique going back to whenever, but that should be covered.