Australian Senate calls for stricter domestic ivory trade regulations

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-20 11:06:49|Editor: Liu
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CANBERRA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- An Australian Senate inquiry has recommended introducing a ban on the nation's domestic ivory trade.

The 120-page report, tabled by the committee on Wednesday evening, found that Australia's ivory laws were falling behind those in China, Britain and the United States.

Under current laws, ivory and rhino horn products dating back earlier than 1975 can be traded domestically without identification.

Products from 1975 onwards are subject to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The committee, chaired by government Member of Parliament (MP) Craig Kelly, heard "overwhelming support for the implementation of a domestic trade ban for both elephant ivory and rhino horn" during public hearings in capital cities.

"The individual traders and industry representatives that would be adversely impacted by a ban also recognised that action is needed," the report said.

It said that there was clear evidence of the "devastating" impact that the illegal wildlife trade was having on environments globally.

The committee uncovered glaring weaknesses in Australia's wildlife control laws, most notably the lack of regulations on the domestic market.

"For example, there is no legal requirement for any ivory or rhino horn item to be identified as a pre-Cites item before it is traded within Australia," it said.

However, the report did recommend that exemptions be introduced for musical instruments with ivory content lower than 20 percent.

Melissa Price, Australia's Minister for the Environment, said she would consider the recommendations before attending an international wildlife trade conference in London in October.

Lisa Singh, the Senator responsible for launching the inquiry, said the lack of domestic regulations made Australia a "market for poachers."

"There is no doubt that the existence of legal domestic markets around the world in ivory and rhino horn is continuing to fuel the poaching crisis," she said.

"Australia is not immune from contributing to that poaching crisis as a consumer market and as a transit route to Asia."

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