A Chinese carved ivory sphere dating from the 19th century. The Great North Museum: Hancock. Twam

MA calls for exemption on ivory ban for museums

Patrick Steel, 02.01.2018
Consultation response suggests licensing scheme to purchase ivory
The Museums Association (MA) has called for an exemption from a proposed elephant ivory ban for Accredited UK museums.

In its response to a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs into banning the sale of ivory, the MA suggests a licensing system for ivory, similar to the existing system for firearms.

The MA’s policy officer, Alistair Brown, writes: “The proposed exemption of items of significant artistic, cultural or historical value must be sufficiently tight to achieve the aims of the ban.

“Determining what constitutes artistic, cultural or historic value is clearly a subjective judgement and one which is potentially open to abuse. We recommend that items that are given this exemption should have to first gain approval from a committee drawing on the expertise of curators and other museum professionals.”

The consultation closed on 29 December, and the government aims to publish a summary of responses in the next 12 weeks.

A ban on the trade of ivory in China, the biggest ivory market in the world, came in on Sunday.

Links and downloads

Read the full MA response to the DEFRA consultation