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The Ivory Prohibition Act
The Ivory Prohibition Act

An Act to prohibit ivory dealing

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Section 1: prohibition

1. The following are prohibited:
a. Buying ivory
b. Selling ivory
c. Keeping ivory for sale or hire
d. Exporting or importing ivory into or out of the United Kingdom

Section 2: ivory products

1. Ivory products include:
a. An item made of ivory
b. An item that has ivory in it

2. Ivory means ivory from the tusk or tooth of an elephant.

Section 3: exemptions

1. The following are exempt from this Act:
a. Any product which has a certificate of exemption issued by the Secretary of State
b. Pre-1918 portrait miniatures with a surface area of no more than 320 square cm
c. Pre-1947 items with low ivory content (defined as less than 10% by volume of the item)
d. Pre-1974 musical instruments where the volume of ivory is less than 20% by volume

Section 4: certification

1. The Secretary of State may issue a certificate of exemption to allow pre-1918 ivory items to be traded, for any of the following reasons:
a. To allow museums to buy or sell ivory items or items containing ivory
b. To allow items of outstanding artistic value and importance to be traded
c. For reasons of education or research
d. To protect the national interest in exceptional circumstances

2. Applications for a certificate of exception must be made, in writing, to the Secretary of State and must include ownership details, item descriptions, photographs, reason(s) an exemption is being sought, any details of the sale or trading; if necessary the Secretary of State may order that the item be inspected by a professional assessor with the cost of the same being paid for by the applicant

3. If granted the exemption certificate must specify the duration, any relevant restrictions, and full item details

4. The Secretary of State may revoke an exemption certificate any at time

5. Where a certificate is refused or revoked, the Secretary of State will provide written notification along with reasons for the decision

Section 5: sanctions

1. It is an offense to breach the prohibition, to cause the prohibition to be breached, or to facilitate a breach of the prohibition

2. A person commits an offence under this section in relation to an item only if the person knows or suspects, or ought to know or suspect, that the item is ivory, is made of ivory or (as the case may be) has ivory in it.

3. It is a defense for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that the person took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence.

4. A person who commits an offence under this section is liable

a. On summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine (or both)
b. On conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine (or both)

Section 6: powers

1. This section applies where a police or customs officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has committed, or is committing, a relevant offence

2. The officer or official may:
a. Search the person for relevant evidence
b. Search a vehicle for relevant evidence
c. With appropriate warrants, search premises for relevant evidence

3. A police or customs officer who is exercising the power of search under relevant law may seize and detain anything found in the course of the search to serve as evidence; relevant notice and written receipts must be given

4. Permanent forfeiture of the item can be ordered by a court of law on or following conviction

Section 7: Enactment

1. The provisions of this Act to become law on approval of Her Majesty The Queen.
Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Madam Speaker

Last month the government introduced legislation to protect domestic animals here in the UK. The bill enjoyed widespread support in the House.

The government is now turning its attention to overseas wildlife and specifically to elephants. Every year tens of thousands of African elephants are slaughtered for their ivory. This is leading to a worrying decline in population numbers.

As the House will be aware, there are already restrictions on the trading of ivory products. However, some dealers get around these by disguising new products as antiques. It is for this reason that the government wishes to institute a much wider clampdown on the sale of ivory products.

This legislation represents one of the strictest bans implemented anywhere in the world. Although it allows some exceptions for the trading of ivory for research purposes or for pieces of exceptional interest, it largely outlaws all sales of ivory products.

The government believes that this legislation will help reduce the incentive to poach wild elephants, thereby minimizing the harm done to these magnificent creatures and the ecosystems they inhabit.

I seek the support of the whole House in passing this important bill.
Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Leader of the House?
Madam Speaker,

Point of Order. Given the Government has no bills in Second Reading, and this bill has been in First Reading for some time, does the Government wish to tell the House it's intention for this bill?
Member for Newcastle Upon Tyne East - 1992-Present
Member of the Labour Party
Madam speaker

I beg this bill be read a second time
Sir Harold Saxon MP

Acting Prime Minister

Chancellor of the Exchequer (1994 - )
MP for Aylesbury
ORDER! Second Reading!
Madam Speaker,

I rise in support of this bill. While at one time the ivory of elephants was exotic and earnestly sought for - the time for that trade has ended. We know the costs of that trade - the destruction of a species, the use of poachers, and a rather colonial attitude to the wildlife of other peoples. What I appreciate about this bill is not only does it affirm our commitment to end the trade, it tackles the demand for such products by criminalising it head on.

This is a fine bill, Madam Speaker, and I urge its swift passage.
Rt. Hon. William A. Harris
MP for Birmingham Hall Green
Conservative and Unionist Party
SOS for Defence 
SOS for Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Office
Madam Speaker,

I rise in support of this bill. I commend the government on tackling this important issue. I do however have some questions that I would like the government to clarify and some concerns about the bill.

Firstly, could the government clarify as to why the option of a fine is available to the judiciary in the event of an indictable offence under the bill? 

Secondly, could the government clarify what will be considered "exceptional circumstances" under section 4(d)?

Finally, I do have concerns about the lack of definition given to the word "search" in the bill under section 6(2a). As the wording of the bill currently stands, it does not preclude strip searches. 

Therefore, I do propose this amendment:

Quote:Section 6(2a): Change the word "search" to "frisk".

Madam Speaker,

This amendment will make clear the limits of the search powers in the bill.
Member for Newcastle Upon Tyne East - 1992-Present
Member of the Labour Party
Madam Speaker

I thank the Honorable Lady for Newcastle Upon Tyne East for her broad support and for her observations.

In terms of the search provision under section 6 of the bill, this only comes into play where the police or customs offers have reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has committed, or is committing, a relevant offence. Such an offense does not include the mere possession of ivory as this is not prohibited by the legislation. No officer of the law can engage in a search without such a determination, which must be backed by reasonable evidence. These safeguards ensure that random searches will not be implemented and, as such, I do not believe there will be any major infringement of civil liberties.

As to the more specific question of the nature of the search, this is governed by current guidelines and procedures. The Honorable Lady is correct that, should the circumstances warrant it, this could include strip searches. This is no difference to the procedures used for other offenses and such powers are already available to police and customs officials under a very limited range of circumstances.

All that said, given the nature of ivory products and the more specific nature of the offense. I am not opposed to the Honorable Lady’s suggestion and I, therefore, am happy to take her amendment as friendly.

With regard to the other points.

The option of a fine is available to give the judiciary discretion in what punishments they levy. As trading can involve significant sums of money, it is correct that a fine element is available especially as this can act as a major deterrent to those looking to gain financially.

The exceptional circumstances exemption may include instances such as the commercial return of ivory pieces to foreign nations for diplomatic and cultural reasons, the purchase of such items for similar reasons, or the permission of a private individual to purchase a piece in order to keep it in the country. The government does not expect these powers to be commonly used, which is why we have noted them as exceptional.

Once again, I thank the Honorable Lady for her points.
Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Madam Speaker,

I thank the Secretary of State for her responses and accepting my amendment to clarify the search section of the bill.
Member for Newcastle Upon Tyne East - 1992-Present
Member of the Labour Party

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