Thursday, 19 July 2018

Australia needs tighter ivory sale laws to protect elephants, parliamentary committee hears

Parliament looking at whether Australia’s regulations allow poached ivory and horns to be passed off as antiques

Australian Associated Press
Tue 3 Jul 2018 09.53 BST

Australia’s failure to regulate the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns could be contributing to the demise of the animals, a parliamentary committee has heard.

The committee is looking into the country’s regulations and whether they allow newly-poached ivory and horns to be passed off as antiques.

Australia has a ban on ivory imports but it’s legal to buy and sell ivory items domestically.

The Department of Environment and Energy revealed during a public hearing in Sydney on Tuesday it “does not regulate domestic sales of items containing elephant ivory and rhino horn”.
Rather, it is responsible for implementing strict international trade requirements that limit imports and exports, including for research or if the item is vintage.

Labor senator Lisa Singh, who pushed for the inquiry, said the government had a role in enforcing the rules and its lack of regulation was a “failure”.

She claims 50 auction houses across the country are known to trade in ivory and rhino horns.

“We need to determine whether we are creating an opportunity for laundering of illegal wildlife horns and ivory into Australia and through the country,” she said.

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