Anne-Marie Trevelyan contributions to the Ivory Act 2018

Wed 4th July 2018 Ivory Bill (Commons Chamber)
3rd reading: House of Commons
3 interactions (104 words)
Mon 4th June 2018 Ivory Bill (Commons Chamber)
2nd reading: House of Commons
Money resolution: House of Commons
3 interactions (1,214 words)

Ivory Bill

(3rd reading: House of Commons)
Anne-Marie Trevelyan Excerpts
Wednesday 4th July 2018

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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HM Treasury
David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
4 Jul 2018, 5:26 p.m.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

What a pleasure it is to move the Third Reading motion for this important Bill. It is a simple but vital piece of legislation with a clear purpose: to help save one of the world’s most magnificent animals, the elephant, from the brink of extinction at the hands of ruthless ivory poachers. The ban on the sale of elephant ivory items of all ages, with only limited exemptions, will be the strongest in Europe and among the strongest in the world. The introduction of the Bill has reaffirmed the UK’s global leadership on this critical issue, and reflects our commitment to making the abhorrent trade in ivory a thing of the past. By seeking to ensure that ivory is never seen by the poachers as a commodity for financial gain or by potential customers as a status symbol, we will protect elephants for future generations.

The Bill has been improved today by amendments made on Report that took account of the evidence put forward by expert witnesses in Committee. This is my first time taking a Bill through the House as a Minister, and I am grateful for the positive way in which Members have engaged with it as it has progressed; I hope that that spirit will continue. We can all be rightly proud of the Bill. Let me take this opportunity to thank all the non-governmental organisations, the museums, the antiques sector and the enforcement bodies for their contributions and written evidence taken and received in Committee evidence sessions.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan Portrait Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (Con) - Hansard
4 Jul 2018, 5:28 p.m.

The Minister mentioned museums. On Second Reading, I raised the question of Northumbrian pipes made since 1975 using CITES-approved ivory. I understand that in Committee, despite these pipes’ unique and beautiful nature, it proved impossible to give a specific exemption for pipes made since 1975, but will the Minister meet me to discuss how we might find a way to use the local community or to set up some sort of fund, so that these pipes, which are owned by families, will not be lost to the musical traditions of Northumberland and will find a repository that can be passed on to future generations?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
4 Jul 2018, 5:29 p.m.

That issue was also raised by the hon. Member for Blaydon (Liz Twist). My hon. Friend is a formidable local champion and I will of course meet her to discuss how the Government can look into ways to continue to keep that rich part of her community’s heritage very much alive.

Ivory Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
(Money resolution: House of Commons)
Anne-Marie Trevelyan Excerpts
Monday 4th June 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mr Ranil Jayawardena Portrait Mr Jayawardena - Hansard
4 Jun 2018, 9:02 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for her kind words, and I urge her to go further in her leadership of the group to deliver what she sets out. She is right that we must be very clear about what we are seeking to achieve. We do not want to create loopholes for those who would seek to perpetuate such crimes against elephants and other animals. We must not allow those loopholes to exist, and we must not create new ones that they would wish to exploit. As my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire (Mrs Latham) set out, there is a potential loophole in the case of species that are alive and well today but perhaps lower in number than we might like, and in the classification of ivory from mammoths. We could be creating an unnecessary loophole instead of closing it right now. Indeed, I believe we should do that. Unless we are to carbon date every piece of ivory coming through customs checks, we might find that those who commit these crimes will continue to do so.

Britain is very proudly a nation of animal lovers. Animals have a very special place in British society and in the hearts of the generous British people, with a quarter of annual charitable donations going to animal welfare causes. It should therefore come as no surprise that the Bill has wide support from beyond the predictable non-government organisations, which are to be lauded for their efforts in this area. It is so important that the public are on the side of this initiative. Out of 77,000 respondents, 88% supported a ban. The British public want this. Members have called for this. Animals deserve this. Let us get on and do it.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan Portrait Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Jun 2018, 9:04 p.m.

I am delighted to be able to speak on this important Bill, following on from my hon. Friend the Member for North East Hampshire (Mr Jayawardena), and to continue to highlight just how Britain is taking the lead across the world in protecting the special and diverse wildlife across our planet. From oceans to the illegal wildlife trade, the Government are showing the environmental leadership that other countries across the globe can emulate and learn from.

There are, sadly, so many species of wildlife across the earth that need our protection from all manner of viruses, diseases, human poaching and destruction of habitat. The poaching and hunting of elephants for ivory is decimating elephant numbers, maiming and killing those sentient animals in the most cruel fashion, and fuelling serious and organised crime which has led to corruption in many of the states where elephants are poached.

The forests of central Africa are the hardest place to study or protect elephants, but it seems they are the first to be hit by poachers. Over the last decade, their number has declined by almost a third. I will not repeat the many statistics already shared with the House, but as my hon. Friend the Member for North East Hampshire just said, the statistic that 20,000 elephants are being lost every year should shock every person listening to or reading this debate.

The demand for ivory in the far east has been the primary driver of the renewal of killing over the last two decades. In the last four years, the wholesale price of raw ivory in China has tripled and reached a $2,100 a kilo. It is unacceptable for nations to stand by as elephants are killed in their hordes for their ivory. I am proud that, in order to protect elephants for future generations, we are introducing one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales. The maximum available penalty for breaching the ban of an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail seems appropriate, but we must ensure effective enforcement. This tough action will send a message to poachers and countries across the world that Britain is not prepared to stand by while the poaching continues unabated.

While I fully support the Bill and protecting the African elephant, I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare) about extending its provisions to Asian elephants, the rhino and the narwhal. It is important to consider that when we get into Committee. This is a one-off opportunity to highlight those particular mammals.

I want to raise an issue regarding the exemptions in the Bill. It is good news that there will be exemptions for musical instruments created before 1975 and items with less than 10% ivory content created before 1947—two years when steps were taken towards reducing the ivory trade—as well as those rare items and portrait miniatures that are at least 100 years old. Sales to and between museums will also be allowed, which, thanks to the Bill’s registration process, will help us to catalogue these historic items, which are part of the world’s artistic heritage.

The WWF has been clear that it does not believe that the exemptions will have a negative impact on the poaching of elephants or the illegal ivory trade. I also note that the exemptions in the USA, which are more relaxed than those in the Bill, have already resulted in a significant decline in the ivory trade across the pond. Given all that, as well as the Chinese ivory ban, which came into effect a few months ago, and the consequent fall in the ivory price, we can have every hope that the Bill will contribute to a reduction in the poaching of our wonderful elephant.

With this in mind, I would ask the Minister to consider one further narrow exemption that I as a Northumbrian MP believe is important for our musical heritage and which should be included in the scope of the exemptions for older musical instruments. In the north of our great country, the pipes—bagpipes and Northumbrian—have been a military and cultural part of our heritage for centuries, and pipers have a particularly long history in Northumberland. The Northumbrian pipes are a physically smaller and perhaps less terrifying musical instrument than their bigger cousin north of the Tweed.

The Northumbrian Pipers’ Society is extremely concerned, as am I, that this excellent Bill will inadvertently risk doing severe damage to our piping tradition and therefore to our regional musical heritage. The retrospective nature of the proposals on musical instruments containing ivory, which will make it unlawful to sell or hire instruments made with any ivory in them after 1975, even though they were made perfectly legally and were exclusively made using antique or CITES-licensed ivory, will, according to some estimates by key pipe makers and figures in the tradition, result in at least 500 to 600 sets ceasing to be marketable.

I must declare an interest: my daughter is a Northumbrian piper and owns a set of pipes that contains ivory. I do not know when it was made, and we do not intend to sell it, since we hope to perpetuate this musical Northumbrian tradition by passing them down the generations, but this is no less of an issue for all that. We bought them from a family whose grandfather had died and none of whose children had learned to play. We have been the happy recipients of a musical instrument and a county tradition.

Most of our Northumbrian pipe makers are retiring, including the amazing David Burleigh from the village of Longframlington in my constituency, and the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society relies heavily on second-hand sets to fill the gap and be sold on to those of the next generation, such as my daughter, to continue this ancient musical tradition. It would be a huge error to inadvertently suffocate one of our country’s finest musical traditions—it is the only instrument indigenous to England that has an unbroken history of performance—by missing a small exemption to this Bill, which I do not believe would have a negative effect on the poaching of elephants since we are talking about pipes made by recycling old or ancient ivory.

I think it fair to say that extending the exemption to cover all sets of Northumbrian pipes made before and during the Bill’s passage would not in any way encourage poaching or feed the illegal trade in ivory, given that the ivory concerned comprises very small pieces that could not realistically be reworked for sale in any other form. I should be delighted to meet the Secretary of State to discuss the matter in more detail, and to find a way of protecting the great tradition of those instruments and the heritage of Northumberland.

Apart from that one issue, which I call on the Government to consider further, I am delighted to support the Bill and to ensure that the UK leads the world in tackling the scourge of the illegal wildlife trade. I want the children of the future to watch “The Jungle Book”, which is my favourite film—[Laughter.] Confessions, Madam Deputy Speaker! I want those children to see the wonderful herd of elephants on Jungle Patrol, and to know that they are seeing a representation of a living, thriving animal community, not an extinct species.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing) - Hansard

Order. I am afraid that I must reduce the speaking time limit to five minutes.