Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has called for the Government to reassess the use of Foreign Aid so that it can be used to support the war on elephant poaching and animal welfare.
Speaking in Parliament during a debate on the domestic ivory market Mr Chalk said:
“I accept that banning the domestic trade of antiques in the UK may make some difference at the margin, but does my hon. Friend agree that this must not distract us from the most pressing concern of all—the devastating poaching in Africa? Should we not use our foreign aid to help African Governments to protect wildlife as well as alleviate human suffering?”
The debate was triggered by a 100,000+ petition on the domestic ivory trade.
In response to the debate, Therese Coffey MP Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said:
“We are supporting projects in communities that share a landscape with elephants. Many hon. Members dwelt on the role of the Foreign Office and, in particular, DFID. We recognise that the money to be made from poaching can be a huge temptation to get involved, so we must continue working closely with DFID and the Foreign Office to create viable alternative livelihoods, but hon. Members will be aware that there are tight controls on official development assistance classification.”
Alex Chalk commented: “I am encouraged that the Government has committed to introducing the most effective ban possible on the ivory trade. It is absolutely right that this country does everything in its power to tackle the demand that drives poaching, enforce rules more effectively and strengthen criminal justice.
“There are plans for a ban on the sale of worked ivory that is less than 70 years old. The Government has agreed to consult on what more can be done. But I believe we must focus on how we can stop poaching at source. I think that effective targeting of foreign aid should not be ruled out. I will be studying the outcome of the Government’s consultation with great interest.”