Environment minister Michael Gove in parliament on July 4.

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MPs discussed the idea of extending the proposed ban to include other items during the debate of the ivory bill last month, amid concerns the ban on one form of ivory could increase pressure on another.

Environment minister Michael Gove has now confirmed plans to consult on a proposed extension.

Gove said: “Our ivory ban is one of the toughest in the world and will provide vital protection for the African and Asian elephant from the scourge of illegal poaching. But there are many more precious species, like the hippo and walrus, which could fall victim to the callous trade in ivory. The government will therefore consult on extending the ivory ban to other ivory-bearing animals.”

Discussions to extend the ban to other ivory species was first revealed by ATG in issue 2346.

The consultation on extending the ban will be published as soon as possible. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) minister David Rutley said: This process will ensure that if we do extend the scope of the ban, this will be robust, defensible, enforceable and compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.” But he said if the consultation does lead to the widening of the scope of the ban, it will not delay its introduction.  

The government also revealed a new proposed amendment to the bill relating to portrait miniatures.

Portrait miniature amendment

The amendment imposes a size restriction on the items that can quality for the pre-1918 portrait miniatures exemption. The visible surface area of a portrait miniature will need to be less than 320 centimetres squared.

Other exemptions to the ivory ban include musical instruments with 20% of ivory, antiques with less than 10% of ivory and museum-quality objects with ivory.

The ivory bill proceeded to its third reading and report stage in the House of Commons today and will move to the House of Lords for debate later this month. The government hopes for the bill to become law before October.