skip to main content

The Ivory Ban: MU and ISM Submit a Further Response

In August the Government consulted on the civil sanctions that are being proposed in connection with illegal trading in Ivory. The consultation closed on 19 September. The MU and ISM submitted their joint response on behalf of musicians.

Photo ofDave Webster
By Dave Webster Published: 05 October 2021 | 12:53 PM Updated: 06 October 2021 | 11:37 AM
Photograph of a big pile of elephant ivory tusks.
Musicians wishing to trade their instruments – provided they fall under the exemption criteria – will need to register their instruments. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The MU deplores the illegal trade in Ivory, and through discussions with the Government were able to secure an exemption to the Ivory ban for instruments containing Ivory that were made prior to 1975 and contain less than 20% by volume.

Since then the MU has responded to consultations around the inclusion of non-elephant ivory such as mammoth and walrus etc. The Government have rightly chosen not to include mammoth ivory which is good news as stocks of mammoth ivory are still being used in instrument manufacture and repair as a legal alternative to elephant ivory.

Musicians will need to register their instruments

Musicians wishing to trade their instruments – provided they fall under the exemption criteria – will need to register their instruments. Details of how to register have yet to be supplied by the Government.

In order to deter any illegal trade in ivory the Government have proposed a range of civil sanctions which can be imposed if an item that is banned or not registered is traded.

The Government must supply clear guidelines

The main thrust of our joint submission is to ensure the Government must supply very clear and understandable guidelines for musicians, as we are concerned that without this clarity some musicians could fall foul of the sanctions through no fault of their own.

We wait to see the outcome. We believe these sanctions are there to deter illegal activity. However we need to be sure that musicians are not impacted due to unexpected consequences.

Read the full text of our joint response with the ISM.

Get MU membership today

From gig players to part-time teachers and professional instrumentalists, MU members can access specialist insurance for musicians. This includes accident cover, health schemes, travel insurance and car insurance add-ons through the Musicians’ Union.

Explore our member services

  • Get public liability insurance for musicians
  • Access expert legal support
  • Be represented in your profession
  • Access expert career advice, resources, and training events
  • Connect, network, and get to know the community of musicians

Learn about all membership benefits

Get MU membership today

Continue reading