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UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Public Comment: [email protected]

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PETITION TARGET: The UK’s Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

UPDATE (6/5/2023): In a victory for these persecuted animals, the import of ivory from hippos, walruses, killer whales, sperm whales, and narwhals now is banned in the United Kingdom! Thank you to everyone who signed our petition advocating for these animals. We’ll keep doing all we can for animals everywhere. — Lady Freethinker Staff


Thousands of hippos, walruses, and whales are at risk of bloody and painful deaths by poachers who want their teeth, despite the United Kingdom’s Ivory Ban of 2018, which only aims to protect endangered elephants from merciless slaughter for their tusks.

Poachers wary of running afoul of increasing protections for elephants have turned to other species using the same brutal methods, including riddling animals with machine gun bullets before wrenching out their teeth and tusks.

One study revealed that more than 38,000 hippo teeth, close to 7,000 hippo tusks, and 6,500 carvings made from hippo ivory flooded markets — with many within European Union countries — in a single decade. The teeth from thousands of walruses and whales also ended up as carvings and jewelry in the same period, according to the report.

The UK government called for public comment in 2019 about extending the Ivory Ban, not yet implemented, to species other than elephants.

The feedback — from conservationists to antiques dealers and museums — was mixed. But what surfaced was that other animals — particularly hippos, who currently are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List — could benefit from a ban on the sale of their ivory, or face extinction without one. 

The Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is now considering extending the ivory ban’s protections to hippos, with a second option to also extend those protections to narwhals, killer whales, sperm whales and walruses.

No animal deserves to be brutally killed to have body parts bloodily extracted and turned into trinkets.  It’s time for the UK to crack down on this gruesome practice for these precious species.

The department is accepting public comment on the issue through September 11, 2021, at 11:45 p.m. UK time.

Sign our petition telling DEFRA that you support Option 2, which would extend the ban on the sale of ivory from whales, walruses, and hippos. 

Then take a moment to send your own comment, supporting the end of this brutal practice for these additional species, to [email protected] (by September 10 to account for time zone difference, if you want to be safe!)