Ivory – exemption for musical instruments update

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The coalition of the MIA, MU, Association of British Orchestras and the International Fund for Animal Welfare met with DEFRA last week. The consultation is now open (until end December) and we met to discuss the detail of the proposals to exempt musical instruments from the ban.

We were also delighted that Peter Beare of Beare Violins joined us and brought some ivory-tipped bows and the amazing instrument in the picture dating back to 1629 and worth a fortune!

Anyway, main matters discussed:

  • We have been invited to speak at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Endangered Species at the House of Commons on November 23rd
  • The IFAW confirmed that ALL the main animal welfare NGO’s were now supporting the instrument proposals (amazing news!)
  • There is a proposed general exemption for musical instruments
  • There is also a deminimus proposal of 300grammes or 20% of total instrument volume
  • We are lobbying for a 1989 cut-off and not just the 1975 one as some instruments were still working with ivory up to about 1980
  • We discussed the value and importance of these instruments to musicians (for whom many will use the instrument as their pension)
  • We naturally discussed the major impact a ban would have on touring musicians
  • We discussed the impact on music shops of not being able to trade in the instruments and the travesty it would create in ivory components being thrown in a bin to “get round” the ban!

We will report back after the meeting at the House of Commons.