MPs debating the ivory bill must distinguish between the illegal market and the legitimate sale of significant works of art, saysMartin Levy. Cecilia Grayson draws parallels between the ivory trade and the food industry

Fiona Harvey reports that, despite restrictions in place since 1989, illegal ivory is being sold across Europe (Report, 10 July). Nothing more clearly demonstrates the significance of the widely welcomed ivory bill currently passing though parliament.

However, the impression given in the pages of Hansard suggests that many MPs cannot distinguish between culturally significant works of art created over the millennia, and the knick-knacks sold online (which they often cite)and other popular outlets. The elimination of the market for trinkets is unequivocally supported by campaigners for bona fide, pre-1947 works of art. It is hoped that when the bill becomes law, appropriate consideration will be given to the regulations required to ensure its fair operation.

The elephant must be saved, but so too should the appreciation, ownership and trade in this artistic element of our universal inheritance.
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