eBay Bans Sale of Ivory After Holidays

Online auctioneer, eBay has said it plans to put in place a global ban on the sale of ivory after the holidays.

Richard Brewer-Hay announced the company’s decision via eBay Inc, the official eBay blog. Brewer-Hay explained that 10 years ago 171 countries came together to ratify the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (known as CITES), which generally prohibits international trade in endangered plants and animals, and products derived from them. As a result of this, in 2007, eBay banned cross-border sales of ivory in an effort to balance the protection of endangered species but at the same time offer a way for sellers to legitimately sell products containing or made from ivory within domestic markets.

Over the last while, eBay has consulted with a number of organizations, including World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States, and has decided that it can’t ensure that ivory listed for sale on eBay is in compliance with the complex regulations that govern its sale and as of January 1, 2009 a global ban on the sale of all types ivory will take effect.

While the ban will be enforced as of January 1, Jack Christin, Sr. Regulatory Counsel for eBay has said that the ban will allow for some antique items that contain a very small amount of ivory, such as a small table with ivory inlay or an antique piano with ivory keys. However, eBay defines antiques as anything dated pre-1900 and stipulates that anything containing a significant amount of ivory, such as chess sets, ivory broaches or jewelry, regardless of age, will not be allowed.

While Christin says the company will be working closely with international and domestic law enforcement authorities in relation to dealing with those who break the law, there is no mention of what kind of punishments ivory sellers may face.

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