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Ukip MEPs Voted Against Ivory Trade Clampdown In European Parliament

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Ukip has been accused of "defending the indefensible" after it emerged the party's MEPs - including Nigel Farage - voted against a resolution designed to combat the illegal ivory trade in Europe.

Only 14 of the 671 politicians who voted opposed the resolution, and six of them were Ukip.

They included Farage, along with the party's deputy leader Paul Nuttall, Derek Clark, Gerard Batten, John Agnew and William Dartmouth.

The resolution, which was voted on in January, called on EU countries to recognise they are "a major transit destination for illegal wildlife products such as ivory and live animals" and implored them "to introduce moratoria on all commercial imports, exports and domestic sales and purchases of tusks and raw and worked ivory products until wild elephant populations are no longer threatened by poaching".

It also called on EU countries to implement Interpol recommendations on combating the illegal online trade in ivory and to destroy any stockpiles of illegal ivory to "send a clear signal against wildlife trafficking and demand for illegal wildlife products".

None of the Ukip MEPs present for the vote were in favour of the resolution.

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Labour MEP Linda McAvan, the party's European spokesperson on the environment, said: "The vote on the illegal ivory trade once again shows UKIP's true colours - as with the crisis in Ukraine, this is a party so blinded by its hatred of anything European it votes against eminently sensible measures and defends the indefensible, be it Putin or poachers."

Historian and columnist Tim Stanley said Ukip voting against this was "morally repugnant". Writing in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, he wrote: "(I) expect Ukip to explain that they always vote against anything that expands EU power.

"As a passionate anti-EU conservative, I appreciate that stance. But when it comes to taking action against something as squalid as the ivory trade, even this rabid patriot would compromise my anti-EU principles. What next? Refusing to uphold a ban on child labour?"

Keith Taylor, a Green MEP who voted for the resolution, told The Huffington Post UK in a statement: "I'm sure that many people who were planning to vote for UKIP in the upcoming elections will be shocked at the party's dismal record on protecting animals.

"Often UKIP's MEPs don't even bother to vote in the European Parliament. But when they do vote UKIP are the party of 'No'. They say no to protecting animals, no to workers rights, no to measures aimed at fighting climate change.

"The EU has the potential to act as a force for good when it comes to key issues like protecting animals and defending our environment from pollution. It's a real shame that UKIP's europhobia gets in the way of them standing up for the issues that matter to their constituents."

HuffPoUK has approached Ukip for comment but had not received a response as this story went live.

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