I was lucky enough to grow up in a country where, throughout my childhood, I was able to see animals roaming around in their natural habitats. In the same country, twenty years later, that is no longer the case; poaching and human/wildlife conflict has devastated Kenya. Now, it’s rare to see a herd of elephants and even rarer, if not impossible, to catch a glimpse of rhinos in the wild. The war against poaching has been raging for years, and we were just starting to make headway with China announcing its ban by the end of 2017, along with global recognition of the crisis we face. So, you can imagine my utter horror and disgust when the Conservative party released their 2017 manifesto which quietly scrapped their earlier pledge to ban the ivory trade in the UK.
There are no two ways about this: it’s disgusting! The manifesto, instead of mentioning the ivory pledge made a vague vow to protect endangered species and the marine environment. But let’s not hold our breath – this is the same party who would like to re-introduce fox hunting.
An elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory, with further ones being killed for fun by big game hunters. It’s a bloodthirsty war which is being fought across the plains of Africa. Rangers die every day in order to protect these majestic creatures, and conversationalists dedicate their lives to giving them a voice. In the past decade, the number of African elephants has dropped by around 111,000 as a direct result of poaching – and for what? To please the rich in the Far East? Well, I for one am not OK with this.
We were starting to turn the corner on poaching, people we starting to talk about it – to take action against it. Prince William has always been vocal about how we need to do more, Leonardo DiCaprio produced a documentary called The Ivory Game which highlighted where we need to focus on (it’s on Netflix – if you haven’t watched it – do), and leaders around the world came together to discuss putting an end to this crisis. The Conservatives pledged to help put an end to this crisis, so to see them do a complete U-turn and cast aside the plight of elephants is completely and utterly heart-breaking.
So why have they done this?
In this case, unfortunately, the finger points directly at the British Antique Dealers Association and Conservative politician, Lady Victoria Borwick who rallied against the proposed ivory ban in 2016. So there we go – some rich Tory who doesn’t care about the slaughter of endangered animals as long as her antique piano keys are still in good condition, is setting the tone for the kind of leadership her party would bring. The law already makes it illegal to sell ivory from elephants killed after 1947, but dealers could still deal in it as long as it was claimed to be “antique”.
What can we do?
When it comes to the protection of wildlife, the Conservatives have shown themselves to be uncaring and cruel. This sly movement away from their ivory pledge just demonstrates the lack of empathy they share with the natural world, and that we cannot trust them to help protect it in the future.
It’s our duty to stop them – it’s our duty to help protect the natural world. So vote, but don’t vote for the conservatives. Vote for a party which has pledged a total ban on ivory such as Labour, the Lib Dems or The Greens – do your bit to help save the planet by casting your vote for elephants on the 8th June. And spread the word, please share and tweet about this – after all, it’s something that The Conservatives wanted to keep quiet –let’s not let them win!