Victoria Borwick
Victoria Borwick, MP for Kensington & Chelsea and BADA president, who has called on the UK government to exempt antique ivory from any crackdown.

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In response to a letter published in The Telegraph calling for a total ban yesterday, Borwick released a statement arguing items of cultural and artistic heritage should remain exempt.

The open letter to the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, was signed by more than 100 conservationists, campaigners and politicians, including former foreign secretary Lord William Hague.

The letter demanded that the government remove “all remaining legal loopholes that facilitate the laundering of illegal ivory as ‘antique’ (pre-1947)… by introducing a total ban on domestic ivory trade.”

The letter is similar to a version organised by Action for Elephants UK which had a 125 signatories and was published last month.

This latest letter came ahead of the final instalment of a two-part series featuring Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on BBC One tonight called Saving Africa’s Elephants: Hugh and The Ivory War.

“Tackle problem at source”

In response to the campaigners’ letter Borwick said: “The most important point is that the antiques trade do not support the killing of elephants, nor do they support any system that allows raw ivory from post-1947 sources to be traded.

She added: “There is absolutely no reason why the trade in genuine pre-1947 objects cannot continue, whilst tougher measures be introduced to remove from sale objects which are little more than tourist trinkets made in the last few decades.  

“The fight against poaching is best carried out if resources of government are directed against modern ivory and tackling the problem at source, and not against our shared cultural heritage found in museums and collections across the UK.”