The Musicians’ Union (MU), the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) and the Music Industries’ Association (MIA) are ‘delighted’ at the news that musical instruments are among the exemptions set out in the government’s proposals for an ivory ban.

Although the use of ivory in instrument manufacture has ceased since 1989, numerous historical musical instruments contain ivory.

The MU, ABO and MIA are working in partnership with the International Federation of Animal Welfare. They fully support including a definition of ‘musical instrument’ that prevents creating a loophole in the law, based on ensuring that an instrument’s primary purpose is being played in a live performance, along with de minimis thresholds relating to the quantity of ivory it contains.

In a statement, the organisations said: ‘Without this exemption these highly valuable and unique musical instruments, beautifully crafted to produce the best possible sound, would become devalued overnight.’

‘Instruments are, for many musicians, their pension fund and often the most significant investment a musician can make in their lifetime,’ said Dave Webster, national organiser of live performance with the MU. ‘We welcome the ban and wish to see the end of elephant poaching, but we are pleased the government’s proposals ensure protections for musicians and their instruments.’

Paul McManus, chief executive of the MIA, said: ‘The musical instrument industry totally supports the aims of the government with the proposed ban on the ivory trade. It is equally delighted with the proposed exemption for musical instruments.

‘There are many, many older instruments in the UK with decorative ivory features and it would be a tragedy for our music shops, their customers and music lovers everywhere if these beautiful products were prevented from being played and bringing joy to both the musicians and the general public. We look forward to working with the government on this sensible and pragmatic exemption.’