Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Elephant lobby target Portobello Road again

Above: Elephant grave yard drawing on Portobello Road at the weekly Saturday antique market [pict. Antiques Trade Gazette]

Portobello Road Market, London

A chalk drawing of an 'elephant graveyard' appeared at the entrance to the Portobello Road Market on Saturday, January 10. The three-dimensional pavement art depicting an elephant carcass was the work of representatives for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), who in recent years have singled out the weekly antiques market in its campaign to curb the illegal trade in modern elephant ivory.

Since 2004, IWAF have carried out investigations into the ivory trade in the UK, focusing their attention on eBay, car boot sales, curio shops, flea and antiques markets where, they claim, "worryingly large quantities of ivory items are being sold illegally."

In the much publicised Elephants On The High Street report of 2004, IFAW were highly critical of the ignorance of traders at some of the UK's best-known antique markets. Portobello Road received a particularly poor press.

Although the Portobello Traders' Association make it clear that their members must be aware of the rules around the items they are selling, the report found some dealers at Portobello unaware of the legislation surrounding the ivory trade and others who encourage purchasers to flout the law when exporting ivory. The emotive findings of the report has largely ignored the input of the legitimate antiques trade and appears to have provided the impetus for the latest publicity stunt.

Elephants On The High Street report of 2004


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