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Ivory Trade Ban
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grufty jim
grufty jim
1947 posts

Re: Ivory Trade - no total ban
May 30, 2017, 23:18
Hi. It's been a couple of years since I've posted here, but a friend of mine who still hangs out here occasionally alerted me to this thread (knowing it's something I've had an interest in). Anyway, just some thoughts on the reasons why a total ivory sale ban is the only genuine policy to pursue if you're serious about preventing elephant poaching. And anyone who says different either doesn't know the facts, or is lying.

According to one conservation group:

"The plain fact is that the UK's ivory market provides an environment in which an illegal ivory market can hide and flourish. By allowing the sale of legal ivory products, the UK’s market is used by criminals to launder illegal ivory. In addition, much of the UK’s ivory is exported to East Asian markets in Hong Kong and China, fuelling consumer demand for ivory and therefore the poaching of elephants."
- Tusk

Not a fan of loony, tree-hugging activist groups? There's a fairly well-respected media outlet that has this to say:

"Research and investigations, including a 2002 report from the Humane Society of the United States, show that large amounts of ivory, labeled as antique, continued to enter the U.S. At least some of that ivory was from post-ban times—and likely from poached elephants."
- National Geographic magazine

Although US-specific, I think it would be naive to assume the same loopholes aren't being exploited anywhere without a total ban.

In fact, this is made quite clear by another charity (one with Prince William as its primary patron no less... doesn't mean much to me, but I'd have thought the tories might consider it a badge of respectability):

"At present a legal ivory trade exists in the UK, one of the largest markets for ivory in Europe. Significant amounts of ivory are also sold through online marketplaces in the UK. The existence of a legal trade serves as a cover for illegal sales of ivory, while perpetuating the cycle of supply and demand. A recent study, ‘The Ivory Project’, produced by Caroline Cox at the University of Portsmouth for the House of Commons, stated that the UK is the third largest supplier of illegal ivory items into the US."
- Action for Elephants UK

Third largest supplier of illegal ivory. That can only happen if there's a so-called "legitimate" trade to hide in.

Even eBay -- as naked an example of pure commerce as you can imagine --
implemented a ban on antique ivory sales. They point out in very dry legalese that there's just no easy way to prevent illegal stuff being sold under the guise of "antique":

"In reviewing this issue, eBay has consulted with a number of organizations, including World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The team concluded that we simply can’t ensure that ivory listed for sale on eBay is in compliance with the complex regulations that govern its sale. So, to protect our buyers and sellers, as well as animals in danger of extinction, eBay has decided to institute a global ban on the sale of all types of ivory."
- eBay (2009)

So there you have an activist group, a charity, a generally well-researched news outlet and a commercial organisation all stating the patently obvious; namely that if you have a legal ivory trade, it's clearly going to provide a better environment to fence poached ivory than if you ban it outright.

If -- having learnt the facts -- you claim you are in favour of a legal ivory trade, and also in favour of protecting elephants, then you are lying on at least one of those counts. It's just common sense. The former makes the latter much more difficult. And with a species like this... most compassionate people would seek to minimise the risks; even if it means a niche marketplace gets closed down.

All ivory trading harms elephants. It's supported by all the research. And it's accepted as legal fact by commercial organisations who would otherwise profit from the trade.

Claims to the contrary for party political reasons are frankly shameful.
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