On November 9, 2020, the Franz Weber Foundation and 14 other nature and animal protection organizations called on the EU to finally close its internal market for ivory by deleting the exceptions currently granted in the law. The European Commission is expected to announce further changes to its ivory legislation soon. The NGOs expect the EU – currently the largest still open internal market for ivory – to finally take on responsibility.
The Franz Weber Foundation (FFW) has been campaigning for years to ensure that the ivory trade in all its forms is banned once and for all. On November 9, 2020, the FFW, together with 14 other nature and animal protection organizations, wrote to EU Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, calling for the EU internal market for ivory – the largest in the world – to be closed at last.
Specifically, the NGOs are calling on the EU to remove the legal exceptions that still allow ivory to be bought and sold under certain conditions in the EU – including old ivory (before 1947), musical instruments or items that contain little ivory .
The African elephants are acutely threatened: almost a third of all elephants on the continent of Africa disappeared between 2007 and 2017, and poaching, which is targeting the animals’ impressive tusks, does not seem to be in decline. If nothing is done, the species could disappear completely within a few decades. For the Franz Weber Foundation, every ivory market, whether legal or illegal, fuels poaching and contributes to the disappearance of the majestic giants. In addition, legal ivory markets – especially the European market – offer the opportunity for “illegal” ivory to be washed as “legal” ivory.
The European Commission is expected to announce further restrictions on its ivory trade legislation in the near future. According to information currently available to the NGOs, however, these timid measures by the EU will not be sufficient to prevent legal loopholes from being used in future to launder illegal ivory on the European market. The EU must take responsibility and ban the ivory trade on its territory once and for all – the survival of the African elephant is at stake!