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UK ivory sale ban among toughest in world: Gove

By Georgina Stubbs

A British ban on ivory sales will be one of the toughest in the world in a bid to protect elephants for future generations, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has claimed.

The robust measures will be brought into force through primary legislation and will cover ivory items of all ages.

Government confirmation comes in the wake of a consultation on the issue, in which 88% of the 70,000 responses backed a ban.

Mr Gove said: "Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol, so we will introduce one of the world's toughest bans on ivory sales to protect elephants for future generations."

Those found guilty of breaching the ban face a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Campaigners estimate that around 20,000 elephants a year are being slaughtered for their ivory.

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