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ACCORDING to the Antiques Trade Gazette, to which I subscribe, there is to be a debate in parliament on February 6 concerning the 100,000+ signatories to a petition calling for a total ban on ivory sales.

I do hope this ‘virtue-signalling’ will not prevail.

Stopping dealing in old ivory will not save one elephant. There are already severe restrictions in place regarding the impor ting and exporting of even old ivory [objects] made prior to 1947.

Having to apply for a CITES cer tificate for every item is already an administrative nightmare and a restriction on trade.

An unconsidered consequence of a total dealing ban would prevent dealing in:

▪ Many items of antique f urniture which may have ivory keyhole escutcheons or other small additions

▪ Silver or plated items which have ivory knobs or i nsulators, as wel l as small silver figures w ith ivory hands and faces

▪ Antique gold snuff boxes which may incorporate small pieces of ivory

▪ Art Deco figures which usually have ivory hands and heads. Almost any artefact made in the last 2000 years, even if not mainly ivory, may have small pieces of ivory incorporated.

Earlier last year, ATG reported that on importing such items into the US for a major antiques fair, dealers were forced by customs to damage and deface antique items of all sorts because they did incorporate small ivory elements, and would not even al low them to return un-defaced to the UK.

Some extremists even propose the destruction of existing ivory collections in museums, including many artefacts dating back pre- Christ, an even more outrageous example of virtue-signall ing which again will not save one elephant.

Customs warehouses throughout the world store hundreds, if not thousands of tons of ivory, which if sold on the open market as some people advocate, would reduce the price to a level where poaching was not worthwhile, instead of, as yet another example of v irtuesignalling, burning it.

I do hope you will oppose any further restrictions, which are already severe, on the sale of ivory or items incorporating it.

Ian Harris