Letters: Now shut down domestic markets for ivory

These letters were published in the Monday 17th February edition of The Independent

Share

As the London Summit on Illegal Wildlife Trade closed, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was pleased to see positive measures pledged to provide greater protection for elephants, rhinos, tigers and other threatened species.

However, more must be done to ensure lasting protection for our wildlife for future generations.Shockingly, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory, with between 25,000 and 50,000 slaughtered each year so their tusks can be used to make trinkets that nobody needs.

We welcomed the UK’s leadership in bringing together around 50 key countries at such a crucial time to fight wildlife crime and were pleased to see a commitment to reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products – ensuring that there are strong laws in place that are effectively enforced, and that there are sustainable alternative livelihoods so that people are not forced into poaching animals out of desperation.

However, while we broadly welcome the contents of the declaration, we are disappointed that it does not explicitly commit to eliminating domestic markets for ivory, rhino horn and tiger products. These markets confuse consumers, make enforcement difficult and provide criminals with an opportunity to launder their illegal products.

Wildlife crime has been widely acknowledged as being a serious threat to wildlife, but also has implications for international security.

In recent weeks IFAW launched an ivory surrender in the UK, asking members of the public to donate their unwanted ivory so it could be destroyed. We would like to thank The Independent newspaper and its readers who supported this campaign and reacted positively by donating dozens of ivory items, from carvings and jewellery to whole tusks.

In total almost 100 kilos was donated or pledged and ahead of the London summit, these items were crushed, ensuring they will not find their way into the marketplace and also sending a strong message that the UK public want to see elephants protected from the ivory trade.

Robbie Marsland

UK Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare

London, SE1

Feeding a healthy giraffe, such as Marius, to the lions could be an unfortunate precedent. If risk of inbreeding is to be an excuse to cull species, the human race should watch out, especially those in high places who have notoriously tended to select their mates from small gene pools.

David Hindmarsh

Cambridge

When a storm brings power lines down

We knew it was only a matter of time. Sure enough, last night we lost power – no heating, no hot water, no cooking, no business. This time it was only off for 11 hours. Lucky, aren’t we, in comparison with the tens of thousands of others, who are left bereft for days, or even weeks?

We are second-class citizens because we live outside the town and city. For us the rules are different: we pay the same for our electricity, but it’s delivered via cables strung on poles – hideously ugly, as well as inadequate against wind.

It is way past time that our government acknowledged that electricity is no longer a luxury, but a prerequisite for both business and a civilised life. Regulations that require underground service to all new development, and urban homes and businesses (often now one and the same address), must be extended to benefit everyone. Same charge, same service.

Ian East

Islip, Oxfordshire

People who live by the side of a river, on the coast, on flood plains or on reclaimed marshland (such as the Somerset Levels) are playing a percentage game. They are gambling that the once-in-a-couple-of-centuries series of storms won’t happen while they live their idyllic waterside existence.

Most of the time, because the percentage chance of it happening is so small, they get away with it. It is hypocritical of them to complain if the Environment Agency and the Government plays the same percentage game.

How much would the public be complaining if billions was spend on flood defences, when nothing is likely to happen for decades or centuries? The railway to the South West has been there since Brunel built it. The Thames hasn’t flooded this high since long before 1947. How many billions would you like us to spend now to make sure that these things are still safe in the year 2235?

Paul Harper

London E15

Unions and Labour: dream and nightmare

Owen Jones (13 February) in his dreams believes that if the unions had been dictating Labour Party policy there would have been no Iraq war, and no scrapping of the 10p tax band; there would have been proper regulation of the City and public ownership of the railways. To paraphrase Charles Dickens, “If that is what Owen Jones believes then he is an ass, and I can only hope that he does not learn by experience.”

The last time the unions dictated Labour Party policy, in the Sixties and Seventies, the country was brought to its knees. Their inflated wage demands in every manufacturing sector simply made them uncompetitive. This set the scene for the de-industrialisation of swathes of the UK, and eventually made thousands hostage to the welfare system.

Simply swapping one set of vested interests for another will not create a more fair society.

G Barlow

Wirral

Student invasion of independent Scotland

If Scotland left the United Kingdom, and managed to stay in or rejoin the European Union, the rest of Britain would then have the same legal status as any other EU member, so our nationals, like the nationals of all other EU members, would be entitled to free tuition at Scotland’s universities.

But the Scottish government in its recent publication Scotland’s Future says that it would “maintain the status quo by continuing our current policy of charging fees to students from the rest of the UK to study at Scottish higher education institutions”.

However, discrimination against nationals of other EU member states has been found to be in breach of EU law. Many senior academics from Scotland’s universities, including professors of European Union law, have therefore questioned the legality of the SNP’s proposed policy.

If the SNP policy were banned as illegal, Scotland’s universities “would be swamped by essentially fees refugees”, as Scottish Education Secretary, Mike Russell MSP, has acknowledged.

The loss of funding from students based elsewhere in Britain would, according to the SNP’s own figures, cut about £150m from Scottish universities’ income. This would threaten the affordability of free tuition for Scottish students. This brain drain from the rest of Britain would also cut the incomes of the universities in the rest of Britain,

Will Podmore

London e12

Tory party interns ‘employed’ for free

The Conservative Party’s claim that its efforts to avoid having to pay interns  (report, 14 February) is simply “trying to be a responsible employer” is ludicrous.

Anybody in the “employment” of an “employer” would, reasonably, expect to be in receipt of wages for services rendered.

Those who provide service without recompense are either volunteers or slaves. Given that the Tories abandoned support for slavery some time ago, we can assume any interns are volunteering their services to the party. Therefore, the Conservative Party cannot claim to be employing them, and any claim to being a “responsible employer” is pure cant.

A “responsible employer” would show care for its employees and ensure that they receive a fair wage capable of supporting a decent standard of living. But then the Tory ethos, from the aristocracy and landed gentry through to today’s stockbroking, City elite has always been to build wealth and power off the backs of other people’s work at the lowest cost possible.

Barry Richards

Cardiff

Monster at the wheel

It’s always good to have your prejudices confirmed. Two days ago a car overtook me recklessly in a 20mph zone (I was doing 20mph). I caught it up at the next traffic lights, and was keen to see what kind of person would drive so dangerously. The driver was smoking, and his passenger was a child. I expect he was texting as well and sitting on his seat belt.

David Ridge

London N19

Talking to babies: shock findings

I am curious as to how much it cost Professor Anne Fernald to come to the conclusion that talking to babies and young children boosts their educational performance (report, 15 February). I could have saved her a lot of money if she had asked me, and I’m an electrician.

David Carr

Houghton-le-Spring,  Tyne and Wear

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station  

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

Ian Birrell
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk