Ivory proposals – the good news!


The Musicians’ Union, Music Industries Association and the Association of British Orchestras are delighted to see that musical instruments will fall into the exemptions as set out in the Government’s proposals for an Ivory ban

In most cases musical instruments with Ivory date back many many years. Some instruments made before 1947 may contain very small amounts of Ivory and since 1989 the use of Ivory in instrument manufacture has ceased. We support the ban with the welcome inclusion of a musical instrument exemption. Without this exemption these highly valuable and unique musical instruments, beautifully crafted to produce the best possible sound, would become devalued overnight.

We are fully supportive of including a definition of ‘musical instrument’ that prevents creating a loophole in the law, based on ensuring that its primary purpose is being played in a live performance along with de minimis thresholds relating to the quantity of ivory it contains.

Paul McManus, Chief Executive of the Music Industries Association said:

‘The musical instrument industry totally supports the aims of the government with the proposed ban on the ivory trade. It is equally delighted with the proposed exemption for musical instruments. There are many, many older instruments in the UK with decorative ivory features and it would be a tragedy for our music shops, their customers and music lovers everywhere if these beautiful products were prevented from being played and bringing joy to both the musicians and the general public. We look forward to working with the Government on this sensible and pragmatic exemption.’

Dave Webster, Live Performance Organiser for the Musicians’ Union says:

‘Instruments are, for many musicians, their pension fund and often the most significant investment a musician can make in their lifetime. We welcome the ban, of course we want to see the end of Elephant poaching for good but we do also need to build in vital protections for musicians and their instruments.’

Mark Pemberton, Director of the Association of British Orchestras says:

We fully support the Government’s proposals for an exemption for musical instruments. Many musical instruments owned by orchestras and their musicians pre-date 1947, especially in the field of period instrument performance. We look forward to working with the Government on ensuring that the ban on the ivory trade doesn’t prevent our world-class ensembles from taking the best of British music-making across the globe’

To ensure an exemption is in place is key and we are working closely with the Government and International Federation of Animal Welfare (IFAW) to achieve that.

To see the full consultation document and the impact assessment, click here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/international/banning-uk-sales-of-ivory/