Of the total of 127,607 responses to the questionnaire on banning ivory, 39,485 were identical emails from members of the Stop Ivory Campaign (30.9%), 21,099 were ‘largely duplicated’ emails from a campaign by the Avaaz organisation (16.5%), and 66,472 (52%) responded to a 38 Degrees campaign which you would only really sign if you supported the ban.
It is very hard to take this survey as a serious and credible attempt to get an unemotional response to a very serious question
So, these three organisations supplied 99.9 % of the responses. It is very hard to take this survey as a serious and credible attempt to get an unemotional and unbiased response to a very serious question. It is hardly surprising then that Mr Gove got the answer that he wanted.
The population of the UK is at present 65.6m, so one must ask how the opinion of 0.00019% of an uninformed part of the population of the country be allowed to influence its legislation.
Surely this consultation needs to be repeated, with both sides of the argument being available to respondents and a much wider population sampling than previous.
Fletcher Wallis via email
A Defra spokesperson said: “The consultation ran for 12 weeks and we engaged with stakeholders and gathered information. The ivory sales ban takes account of the views and evidence received.”