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Belgium destroys 1.5 tonnes ivory stockpile

Published on Apr 10, 2014 2:40 AM

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Belgium crushed 1.5 tonnes of ivory, its entire stockpile of seized ivory tusks and statuettes, as a global campaign to save the world's elephants gathered pace.

"Not only are we losing an elephant every 15 minutes but the ivory trade is undercutting law and order... and enriching organised crime syndicates," said Azzedine Downes, who heads the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

As the ivory seized by customs was heaped into a crusher to be turned into dust, Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx said the idea was to send "a strong signal" to elephant poachers.

The European Union is organising talks this week on new measures to fight such trafficking, which claims the lives of some 36,500 elephants each year, killed for their ivory.

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