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Vatican spokesman promises action against illegal ivory trade

Catholic World News - January 23, 2013

Prodded by a pressure campaign launched by National Geographic magazine, the director of the Vatican press office has promised action to discourage international trade in ivory.

In an article lamenting the illegal killing of African elephants for their ivory tusks, National Geographic had suggested that a policy statement from the Vatican might discourage the use of ivory for religious objects. The National Geographic campaign encouraged readers to write to Father Federico Lombardi, asking for a clear denunciation of the illegal trade.

In an exhaustive 2,460-word response to the National Geographic campaign, Father Lombardi provided detailed answers to the charge that the Vatican has been involved in the illegal ivory trade. Although he said that the Holy See was very unlikely to make a major policy statement on the issue, he promised to bring the issue to the attention of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; encourage Vatican Radio programming in Africa opposing poaching; and publicize statements by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences emphasizing the need to preserve the environment and animal species.

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