Why Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk is sticking up for elephants


JordanBhatt, Gloucestershire Live

Date Published

The elephants won’t forget Alex Chalk’s assistance

MPs campaign for a variety of different causes like the NHS, potholes, climate change – and now elephants.

Cheltenham’s Alex Chalk has ramped up the pressure on the Government to intervene on 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.”

Conservation organisations, including a charity championed by Prince William, say that by allowing the trade to continue the UK is fuelling the annual slaughter of thousands of rhinos and elephants.

Mr Chalk replied saying: “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.”