Denis Farrell/AP

UN Authorizes China to Buy African Ivory

July 17, 2008 12:06 PM
by Isabel Cowles
The decision to allow China to buy tons of ivory from African government surpluses sparks controversy among animal rights activists.

30-Second Summary

With recent clearance from the United Nations, China will import ivory from African government stockpiles. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted to authorize the one-off purchase due to China’s recently improved enforcement of ivory-trade regulations.

China has traditionally been at the center of the ivory trade, encouraging poachers in Africa to perpetuate the sale and distribution of illegal animal products.

After mass amounts of illegal animal byproducts were discovered in China by The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) last year, China has made serious efforts to enforce trade regulation.

But China’s long history with poaching and the country’s widespread disregard for animal rights is an ongoing cause of concern for many who consider the United Nations' decision a mistake.

“Environmentalists claim that the entry of China into the market will provide a substantial opportunity for the laundering of illegal ivory, and provide the impetus for further poaching across Africa, where more than 20,000 elephants are illegally killed every year,” The Independent reports.

Headline Link: 'Ivory Politics: China Gets OK to Buy Tons'

Background: China and ivory

Opinion and Analysis: Some remain unsure of China’s reforms

Reference: Poachers and the international black market

Related Topics: China and animal rights


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