I have in this series of blogs pointed out many areas where the EU has little or no influence on Britain and our ‘sovereignty’. One area where the EU does exert a considerable influence is in Environmental Law, and an example of this is in the control of trade in wildlife (both plants and animals). Of particular interest to many people is the control of the ivory trade.
In 2015 it was claimed by the Environmental Investigation Agency that ‘Ivory trade has expanded in the EU, making it the world’s largest exporter of so-called pre-Convention or ‘old’ ivory. An analysis in 2014 of records in the database maintained by CITES – the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – confirms that re-exports of pre-Convention ivory, particularly raw tusks, from the EU have increased substantially since 2007, with mainland China and Hong Kong the main destinations of this old ivory. The increase coincides with a decision in 2007 by CITES to allow China to purchase 62 tonnes of ivory, stimulating market demand. Conservationists demand that loopholes in European law allowing exports of old ivory are closed permanently by Ministerial agreement. Then they cannot be exploited to launder fresh ivory poached in Africa to feed the insatiable demand in Asia, especially China’.
In a measure to combat this the EU passed a resolution on 26 February 2016. The European Commission adopted a Communication on the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking which sets out a comprehensive blueprint for joined-up efforts to fight wildlife crime inside the EU, and for strengthening the EU’s role in the global fight against these illegal activities.
This not only dealt with ivory, but also with trade in live animals, birds, plants and animal parts such as ivory, rhino horn, and baby seal skins, and with trade in plant materials such as rosewood.
To read the full extent of the Communication click Action Plan against wildlife trafficing
Back in January 2014 in the EU parliament 647 MEPs voted in favour of actions which would lead to the reduction in the ivory trade, and 14 voted against. Of these fourteen, 6 were British MEP’s, all members of UKIP. namely Nigel Farage, John Stewart, Gerrard Batten, Derek Roland, William Dartmouth and Paul Nuttall.
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