Turning a blind eye to elephant slaughter is fuelling a global ivory trade, South East MEP Catherine Bearder has said.
Catherine addressed the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Denmark last week and said more must be done to stop the flow of ivory into the Far East.
She said: "The fact ivory is treated as a resource is driving elephants to extinction in most parts of Africa.
"Legal sales of ivory gives cover to the huge business that is the illegal slaughter, transport and sale of ivory to the East.
"The blind eye and acceptance of illegal exportation of ivory is feeding corruption, terrorist organisations, destabilising communities and supporting violent gangs.
"It is driving the extinction of elephants in large areas of Africa. Ivory must be seen as valuable only whilst is on a living animal."
The European Commission vowed to fight gangs after the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reported the death of 350 elephants in Cameroon since January.
Catherine added: "We ask that you also raise this at every opportunity with the countries, and especially China, that still allow the open sale of ivory until they see this bloody product for what it is."