The group claim the UK is currently Europe’s largest exporter of carved ivory to Asia.
Celebrity Stephen Fry lent his support to the calls to ban all ivory on Twitter this week.
He also supported a petition to “Shut down the domestic ivory market in the UK” which has now received more than 60,351 signatures.
Last month a BBC One documentary featuring Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall called 'Saving Africa’s Elephants: Hugh and the Ivory War' investigated the demand side of the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade in China and Vietnam, and the supply side of poaching in Africa. It also called a complete ban on the buying and selling of ivory regardless of age.
Currently only ‘worked’ ivory that is pre-1947 is legal to trade in the UK. Any modern ivory or unworked items such as tusks mounted in silver, are banned.
The antiques trade is fighting to justify the case for pre-1947 antique ivory objects and will enter into consultation with the government next year on the discussion around proposed changes by Defra.
The antiques industry was previously buoyed by a study by Traffic that inspected over 3200 pieces of ivory on sale at shops and markets in London and found only one item considered post-1947.
Mark Dodgson at The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) recently told ATG: “We all want to ensure that only genuine pre-1947 ivory is offered for sale in Britain, so we look forward to working with our colleagues in the British Art Market Federation to help the Government ensure this is the case.”