Elephants of the world rejoice – Hong Kong has just voted to officially ban ivory trade for good! This trade, which is considered inhumane and cruel by many is now set to be completely eradicated by 2021.

This new legislation is considered an especially significant move towards the end of the global ivory trade, Hong Kong has the largest market for this in the world that has been trading for over 150 years.

Worldwide crisis campaign organization Avaaz have dubbed this vote a “lifeline for elephants”, they are quite literally correct as Elephant tusks are vital for the animal’s protection, and hunting. Hunting these majestic creatures not only results in huge volumes of bloodshed but as a result, many baby elephants are left completely parent-less.

Prior to Hong Kong lawmakers voting to make ivory trade illegal in their country – activists had protested outside Hong Kong’s legislature, posing the question “do you really need ivory chopsticks?”, other campaigns across the world also question whether human commodities are more important than an important body part of another sentient being.

This gradual process will phase out ivory trading in Hong Kong with three steps: first banning hunting trophies and ivory obtained from after 1975, then extending that ban to all ivory obtained from before 1975, finally all ivory traders will be forced to dispose of all their stock before 2021.

To further deter ivory hunters from engaging in trade once the new legislation comes into full effect, the penalties for law-breakers will skyrocket. Those found guilty can be fined HK$10m (equivalent to $1.3m or £1m) – this is twice the current fine. Offenders also face time behind bars – the sentence for those convicted will increase from two years to 10.

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