LFA Newsletter – August


LFA Newsletter – August
Expressions of interest should be accompanied by a
brief statement of relevant skills and attributes, and
position. Expressions of interest must be received by
30 September 2014. It is not necessary to be a current
member of LFA in order to express your interest in this
Lawyers for Animals
Newsletter: August
For more information or to express your interest in this
role, please contact the current Volunteer Coordinator,
Katherine Cooke:
[email protected]
Animal Law Breakfast
LFA news and events
New Voluntary Role at Lawyers for Animals –
Call for Expressions of Interest
Lawyers for Animals seeks expressions of interest for
the new voluntary position of Assistant Volunteer
Coordinator. The successful candidate will work under
the supervision of the Volunteer Coordinator and our
Executive Committee more generally.
The position commences in October 2014 and has two
main responsibilities: maintaining our database of
expressions of interest from prospective volunteers;
and preparing and administering the roster for the
Animal Law Clinic via email and occasional text
message (all mobile expenses reimbursable). The
role will require a regular but very manageable time
commitment of no more than one to two hours per
week, partly during business hours. Your tasks will
include communicating by email with LFA volunteers
and liaising with the LFA Volunteer Coordinator and
Fitzroy Legal Service reception staff.
Attendance as an observer at monthly meetings of the
Executive Committee is optional, as this is a nonExecutive role. Contribution to LFA's other project
work is also strictly optional.
Anyone with a commitment to improving animal
welfare and with access to email and text messaging
is welcome to apply. This is an administrative role and
does not require legal knowledge although it may
especially interest those with an interest in animal law
and access to justice issues. All work may be carried
out remotely, rather than from LFA's office.
Expressions of interest from applicants based outside
Melbourne will also be considered. The successful
applicant will be required to hold current membership
of LFA.
The annual Animal Law Breakfast, hosted by Lawyers
for Animals and Victorian Women Lawyers with the
generous support of Maddocks, took place on 22
Julian Burnside AO QC and Felicity Millner discussed
the Supreme Court case MyEnvironment v VicForests
[2013] VSCA 356. Julian and Felicity acted for
environment group that sought to prevent VicForests
logging in part of the forest of the Central Highlands.
MyEnvironment was concerned that this logging would
destroy the habitat of the endangered Leadbeater’s
Although MyEnvironment was ultimately unsuccessful,
the case did place much-needed scrutiny on
VicForests and the difficulties faced in ensuring
protection of species’ habitats under current laws.
The morning ended with a call to action from Simone
Holding, a partner at Maddocks, who urged those of
us not directly involved with strategic litigation of this
kind to use our legal skills in other ways to make a
difference, such as writing to lawmakers calling for
legislative change.
For more information about the case, visit the
MyEnvironment website:
Other events
Invitation to Comment – Proposal to Take
Stricter Domestic Measures to Regulate the
Import and Export of Specimens of African
The Australian Government is calling for submissions
on the regulation of African lions under the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (“CITES”).
Specifically, the
Government is considering listing African lions under a
different Appendix in CITES, which would make it
more difficult for people to trade lion products,
particularly in the form of hunting trophies.
The following information is taken from the Federal
Department of Environment’s website:
The Australian Government is considering a
proposal to treat specimens of African lion as
though they are listed on Appendix I of the
Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES), which will affect the regulation of the
import and export of lion specimens, including
hunting trophies.
Species are listed under CITES based on how
threatened they have become through trade:
 CITES Appendix I includes species
that are currently threatened with
extinction (trade can only occur in
 CITES Appendix II includes species
that are not threatened with extinction
now but could become so if trade is
not regulated. Trade in Appendix II
species requires a CITES permit,
issued only where it can be
scientifically proven that trade is
sustainable, and
 CITES Appendix III includes species
that are threatened only in one
country (trade requires CITES permits
or certificates).
Lions are currently listed on Appendix II of
CITES and are protected under Australia’s
national environmental law, the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
1999 (the EPBC Act). International trade in
any lion specimen is regulated under this
legislation. The proposal to introduce a stricter
domestic measure for trade in African lions is
in response to concerns about trade in lion
specimens, including hunting trophies. If
introduced, the proposal would restrict trade in
lion specimens to those specimens that meet
one of the following criteria: the specimen was
obtained prior to the listing of African lion on
CITES; the specimen is being traded as part
of an exchange of scientific specimens or for
research purposes; or as part of a
Cooperative Conservation Breeding Program
(for live specimens). Lion trophies could only
be traded if they could be proven to be preConvention specimens (specimens obtained
prior to 1976).
The proposal to further regulate trade in lion
specimens may have implications for
businesses involved in wildlife trade and
tourism, other industries and individuals. You
are invited to submit information to help the
Department identify the potential impacts of
treating the African lion as an Appendix I
species under Australian legislation.
Please provide your written comments by
AEST 5pm 22 September 2014 to:
The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
[email protected]
For the Love of Wildlife, an Australian grass roots nonprofit organisation, has been working to get the
Australian Government to take a stand against the
industry of canned hunting by tightening legislation
around the importation of hunted animal trophies into
Australia. Visit www.fortheloveofwildlife.org.au for
further information.
LFA Article
The Protection of Elephants under
International Law: CITES and the Ivory Trade
By Fei Wu, LFA Volunteer
Alternatively called ‘white gold’, ‘organic gemstones’,
or ‘bloody teeth’, ivory from elephant tusks has
become the latest conflict resource in Africa. A
burgeoning appetite in Asian marketplaces is fuelling
demand for ivory that is being met by increasingly
sophisticated and ruthless criminal syndicates and
armed militia. In 2013, over 20,000 elephants are
reported to have been unlawfully killed in Africa, 1 part
of a worrying trend which is threatening the survival of
elephants and testing the strength of international
protection of these endangered species.
What is CITES?
At the international level, commercial trade in elephant
tusks is prohibited under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (“CITES”). Currently, 180 States are
party to the convention, including China, Thailand,
Vietnam and most of the countries in Africa. CITES is
a multilateral treaty with the goal of regulating
international trade in wildlife so that the trade does not
jeopardise survival of wild animals. CITES seeks to
achieve this goal by offering varying degrees of
protection to over 35,000 species of animals and
plants listed in its three Appendices:
1. Appendix I offers the highest level of
protection. It lists ‘all species threatened with
extinction which are or may be affected by
trade’.2 Accordingly, international trade in
these animals is totally prohibited except
where the trade is for a non-commercial
purpose such a scientific research. Comprised
of approximately 3% of species listed under
CITES, Appendix I animals include tigers,
giant pandas, orang-utans and both Asian and
African elephants.
2. Appendix
hippopotamuses and certain types of orchids
that are not yet at risk of extinction but which
could be threatened by unlimited trade.
Appendix II also includes species that look
closely enough like others already on the list
to promote conservation of the already-listed
species. Commercial trade in Appendix II
listed species is allowed when conditions are
satisfied, such as when a ‘Scientific Authority
of the State of export has advised that such
export will not be detrimental to the survival of
that species’.3 Approximately 96% of the
wildlife species listed are protected under
Appendix II.
3. Appendix III of CITES lists species that are
only protected under national laws of a State
party and the State has requested cooperation
from other States to aid in conserving those
species. Commercial trade in these species
must not contravene national laws and
requires the presentation of export permits
and certificates of origin. The wildlife listed in
Appendix III comprises only around 1% of the
species listed in CITES. Examples include the
four-horned antelope (protected in Nepal), the
golden jackal (protected in India) and the
double-striped thick-knee bird (protected in
The Ivory Crisis
In the 1980s, widespread poaching wiped out almost
half of Africa’s elephant population, 4 which prompted
African elephants to be added to Appendix I of CITES.
This effected a global ban on sales of ivory and
elephant numbers slowly recovered. But then
individual African countries (among them Zimbabwe,
led by Robert Mugabe) started disobeying the ban.
This then led to some legal ‘one-off’ sales of ivory by
Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia in 1999 and then
2002. In 2008, CITES gave in to aggressive lobbying
by China and sanctioned another ‘one-off’ sale of 102
tonnes of stockpiled ivory to Chinese and Japanese
traders. This controversial sale raised US$15.4 million
for local African communities and elephant
conservation.5 Supporters of the sale hoped that an
influx of cheap, legal ivory would save elephants by
undercutting the illegal trade, while opponents warned
that it would revive the market. The opponents were
Camouflaged by a flurry of legal ivory transactions, the
black market for ivory flourished. Since 2008, ivory
3 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora, Article IV, paragraph 2(a).
4 ‘Tackling the Ivories, The Status of the US Trade in
1 Report of the CITES secretariat.
Elephant and Hippo Ivory’, TRAFFIC North America, World
Wildlife Fund, September 2004.
2 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
5 ‘Ivory auctions raise 15 million USD for elephant
of Wild Fauna and Flora, Article II, paragraph 1.
conservation’, CITES Press Release, 7 November 2008.
prices (and elephant casualties) have climbed steeply.
In June 2014, the CITES Secretariat published a
report stating that poaching has risen back to
unsustainable levels, with over 20,000 African
elephants poached in 2013.6 The report also shows a
marked increase in seizures of large ivory shipments
of over 500kg, which suggests the involvement of
transnational organised crime.7
Wildlife trafficking is a lucrative trade, particularly in
tumultuous and impoverished nations. Estimated to
have a value of up to US$20 billion annually, 8 it is
characterised as a high-profit, low-risk crime. Illicit
trade in ivory, in particular, is facilitated by political
unrest, porous borders and corrupt officials. Notorious
extremist militia groups such as the Lord’s Resistance
Army and the Janjaweed are said to use elephant
poaching and ivory trafficking to sustain their other
crimes. A large proportion of this ivory is smuggled into
Asia, where prices are soaring and one pair of tusks
can be worth more than 10 times the average annual
income in many African countries.9
Is CITES protecting the elephants?
It has not escaped the notice of the CITES Standing
Committee that, despite being afforded maximum
protection under its Appendix I, elephants are still
being systematically slaughtered across Africa. In
March 2012, at the 16th meeting of the Conference of
the Parties of CITES (CoP16) in Bangkok, eight
countries from Africa to Asia were identified as having
significant involvement in global ivory trafficking:
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as source and exit
points in Africa; Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam as
transit countries; and most importantly, China and
Thailand as the end-use markets which are driving the
demand for ivory. Each of these countries were
required by CITES to develop action plans
demonstrating how they intend to stem the flow of
banned ivory.
illegal under CITES.11 This report was published days
before the next intercessional meeting of the CITES
Standing Committee. Unsurprisingly, Thailand’s lack of
progress was heavily criticised by the CITES Standing
Committee. The meeting concluded with Thailand
being given an onerous timetable of actions to be
completed to curb the illicit ivory trade, this time
backed with the threat of trade sanctions. It was
decided that if Thailand had not made sufficient
advances in this regard, members of the CITES
Standing Committee would vote on whether punitive
trade sanctions should be imposed against Thailand,
depriving the country of its lucrative orchid and exotic
wood exports. These actions have been widely
welcomed by the media and conservation groups such
as the World Wildlife Fund.
Thailand’s failure to meet its CITES obligations and its
public rebuke from CITES, however, has diverted
attention from China’s inaction. As the other country
identified in CoP16 as an end-market for trafficked
ivory, it is said that China’s vast and proliferating
middle class is the biggest driver of demand for ivory.12
As one of the fastest growing economies in the world,
China’s GDP is well over 20 times that of Thailand.
Whilst this means China is not as vulnerable to
sanctions such as those facing Thailand, it also means
that China is much better placed to make a real
impact. It will be necessary, therefore, for CITES to
exert pressure on China to put an end to its substantial
part in this illicit trade. The alternative is the gradual
decimation of the elephant population and the
inestimable consequences of living in a world with no
more elephants (but littered with bits of elephant
Despite the chastisements and the action plans of
CoP16, an undercover survey conducted in Bangkok
showed that the ivory market had roughly doubled in
size10 from January 2013 to May 2014 and concludes
that the vast majority of the ivory sold in Thailand is
6 ‘Elephant Conservation, Illegal Killing and Ivory Trade’,
Lawyers for Animals
CITES, Sixty-fifth meeting of the Standing Committee
Geneva (Switzerland), 7-11 July 2014.
7 Elephant poaching and ivory smuggling figures released
today, CITES Press Release, 13 June 2014.
8 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/world/africa/africas-
REG NO A0047I00G
ABN 74 557 651 569
9 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/world/africa/africas-
11 ‘Polishing off the ivory: Surveys of Thailand’s ivory
10 The number of worked ivory products found for sale rose
market’, TRAFFIC, World Wildlife Fund, 2 July 2014.
from 5,865 and the number of ivory retail outlets rose from
61 to 105.
12 ‘From Elephants’ Mouths, an Illicit Trail to China’, New
York Times, 1 March 2013.

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