As you know, we managed to secure an exemption for older musical in the government proposals to ban the sales on ivory. The previous story can be seen here: mia.org.uk/uk-ivory-ban-exemptions-for-older-musical-instruments/
The next phase of the process followed the public consultation that saw circa 70,000 responses. The MIA, together with our partners at the Musicians’ Union, Association of British Orchestras and International Fund for Animal Welfare were asked to speak at the Public Bill Committee on June 11th at Westminster. This Committee of MP’s and Civil Servants subsequently asked us a number of questions relating to the proposed exemption for instruments.
Dave Webster (MU) and I stated that this was about protecting musicians and their vintage instruments (pianos, bows, bagpipes, flutes etc) and allowing them to continue to make their music for the Nation and, if required, to be able to sell them.
We stressed that our industry totally supported the government in eradicating the evil trade in ivory and that our industry was simply trying to manage the legacy of instruments made decades ago when alternate materials were not readily available (eg plastic keys for pianos).
We talked of the fact that there is no music industry “trade” in these beautiful instruments, but simply an ongoing series of “one on one” transactions between fellow musicians (and music shops) to repair, maintain and sell the instruments.
We stated that the proposal to allow the sales of instruments made with ivory before 1975 (when Asian ivory became banned) was pragmatic for the vast majority of instruments and that the deminimus of the instrument needing to have ivory being less than 20% of the total volume of the product was equally sensible.
We all stressed that any costs for “registration” should ideally be kept to an absolute minimum to encourage, rather than prohibit, support from the musical community.
We stated that a discussed ban on internet sales would not be pragmatic.
So, so far, so good and we now hopefully move onto the next phase of this important legislation and equally important exemption for our musical instruments!