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ATG's recent ivory debate: call for industry to show its opposition to modern poaching

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The industry will also be asked for its opinion on exemptions to any ban that may be announced by the government tomorrow, to coincide with a keynote address by Prince William at a conference for the conservation charity Tusk, of which he is patron.

The news will come as a relief to dealers and auctioneers selling antique elephant ivory and objects with materials from other species protected under the CITES convention, after media reports today suggested the UK will ban sales of ivory that is not backed by proof that an object is more than 70 years old.

Expert authentication, rather than documentary evidence, would be the preferred option, dealers have told ATG

Call for industry unity

Marco Forgione, chief executive of the British Antiques Dealers’ Association, told ATG: “BADA is very keen to work with the government in establishing an evidential approach to how dealers can demonstrate the age of ivory objects, and urges the whole industry – auctioneers as well as dealers – to get behind such a system.”

He added: “Everything we do has to be underwritten by a declaration – as ATG urged in its recent ‘Great Ivory Debate’ write up – that we as an industry abhor the risk and threat to endangered species.”

An article in the Times this morning said ministers plan rules that will require dealers "to prove the age of items or face having them confiscated and destroyed. Without documentary proof, they may be forced to use costly radiocarbon dating".

A DEFRA spokesperson refused to confirm the Times story when contacted by ATG but conceded that DEFRA is “considering next steps” in advance of next week’s world CITES convention in South Africa.

France is the latest country to introduce procedures making trade in antique ivory more bureaucratic.

See Antiques Trade Gazette No 2259, published this week