I got an email blast yesterday from John F. Calvelli of the Wildlife Conservation Society

Dear Robert,

First, the good news: On Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the first state ivory ban into law! [ED: click here for A3128]

It was a huge moment for elephants, but where state lawmakers are stepping up, Congress could be caving in.

Attacks on the proposed federal ivory ban are intensifying. Bills in both the House and Senate would kill the federal ban and could block states from passing their own bans, effectively repealing portions of the New Jersey State ban.

We need to make sure lawmakers get the message: Americans support banning ivory in overwhelming numbers. Stand behind the ban!

Yes, well, the way I see it . . .

Far from banning the sale of elephant ivory, we should encourage it. We should do what we can to convince African nations to widen legal, controlled elephant hunting and its by-products.

The countries with native elephants would then reap tremendous financial rewards. They could use that money to more effectively manage elephant populations – channeling the cash to the wide range of people who would benefit from the trade. Who would all have incentive to protect the elephant herds from criminal predation.

Then again, Africa is almost as corrupt as New Jersey. Would the cash generated from expanded legal elephant hunting process and legal ivory sales simply disappear down a rat hole, leaving legal and illegal hunts existing side-by-side (as they are now), until the elephants were hunted to extinction?

Help me out here. I know emotion rules this “debate,” but if we could set aside irrational appeals to our better nature, should we repeal the bans on elephant ivory, expand them or leave them be?

83 Responses to Question of the Day: Should America Ban Elephant Ivory Sales?

  1. The notion of slaughtering seven tons of elephant for a hundred pounds of ivory seems insane to me, as does the notion of banning ivory that was legally taken a hundred years ago. But if I had to choose between the two extremes, I’d ban it all while there are still elephants left in the wild.

    • Of all I could be accused, tree-hugging is nowhere on the list. Though I have to agree that even ‘legalized’ harvesting for the sole purpose of acquiring ivory is repugnant.

      Gets murkier for me if a sustainable population exists, and the entire animal were allocated in the harvest (meat for locals, hide, etc). But simply for ivory? No.

      • Who cares if only the ivory is harvested? The only relevant question is whether or not allowing the sale of ivory would help maintain or expand a sustainable elephant population like big game hunting seems to have in general.

        Certainly using the meat to feed people would do more good on top of using ivory proceeds to fund hunting reserves, or however it might be structured. But beneficial is beneficial, even if only ivory is harvested.

        Of course if harvesting only ivory WOULDN’T be beneficial then a ban would be the preferred policy.

        In short: simply for ivory? If it helps more than hurts, then yes. Otherwise, no.

        Repugnancy doesn’t enter into it.

    • Well; the meat taken from a trophy animal is given to the local population; so no animal goes to waste. There is also no free lunch; if you want to give an incentive for the local population to protect the wild life from poachers,(themselves) you can do it by the legal way of sanctioned hunts; or by illegal poaching by that same local population.

      This is already the way a number of countries in Africa have stopped the mass slaughter of the animals and given an incentive for the locals to protect a cash resource.

      • “Well; the meat taken from a trophy animal is given to the local population; so no animal goes to waste.”

        I am not trying to sound like a troll here but rather I want to understand the opinion better. Mostly for the sake of trying to settle the hypocrisy I have in myself, when it comes to hunting deer vs elephants.

        If you don’t mind please entertain me and elaborate on this:
        If I shoot a deer and leave the carcass, it does not go to ‘waste’ either, it will have been eaten by other hungry animals that otherwise would not have gotten to eat meat that day.

        Why is this different than local humans eating it….who could just as well hunt that animal.

        • When there is a legal system in place to harvest animals; there is money to also pay someone to manage those animals from the tags sold which can be $50,000 for an elephant. Locals get money by hunters hiring guides, the hunting parties spending money at the local villages and towns, the meat of the animal gets spread out among the population. Everyone benefits from the process, giving everyone a reason to keep the herds at a sustainable level. Outlaw the hunting of elephants, since there is no other sources of income from the elephants, and the cost of black market ivory goes up there by increasing the illegal poaching of elephants ultimately wiping out the herds.

    • Here is the problem as I see it, elephants are slow, what fun are they to hunt, they taste like crap (don’t ask), and there is nothing you can make out of ivory that you can’t make out of unicorns (much tastier). It all comes down to market, the more rare it is the higher the price. So elephant farms need to be developed, to drop the price of ivory, and stop making it “cool” to own.

    • Because all trading is outlawed, and there is no legal source for products for which there is a high demand (elephant ivory, rhino horn, etc) the only source for these products are illegal black market ones (poachers irresponsibly taking game for the sole purpose of getting the product) with no consideration for herd management or conservation. Most of the governments have conservation programs that routinely cull males from the herds of endangered species. A common reason is an aging alpha male that is too old to have enough strong offspring to increase population, but is still big and intimidating enough to monopolize females and prevent younger healthier males from increasing genetic diversity and number of offspring. If these governments, instead of being banned from selling the ivory/horn available as a result of these carefully managed cullings, could sell them to the consumers (willing to pay a high price) in a regulated limited market, there would be not only a LOT more funds available to support these critical herd management efforts, but the government/citizens would see these an immediate benefit to protecting/managing these endangered populations, where now they are seen oftentimes as a burden (destroying crops/property of nearby human populations, game preserves occupying potential farmland, etc) with no benefit to those we expect to protect them.

  2. Hard to say which is more corrupt, New Jersey or Africa. But seriously, I would favor a ban because I just don’t trust any African country to spend the money protecting and managing elephant populations.

    • I suspect Africa is more corrupt, but it is close. What I want to know is who s going to go around to all the folks who own old pianos and confiscate the ivory from all those keys? Of course, politicians seldom think of that sort of thing (think is mostly beyond them anyway, unless it is how to increase their power over us).

    • This. In principle, sustainable hunting to raise funds to protect and expand the population is a good thing. In practice, it is only going to work in the absence of corruption. When the local officials are faced with the choice of taking all of the money from tourists and just appropriating it all, here and now – but no elephants in, say, 30 years – or spending most of it on conservation effort, but knowing that it’ll still be a revenue stream in 100 years and more – they will usually pick the former. This is not just an African problem, it is a general problem with corruption, people who do it don’t bother about long term.

    • I would settle for a peaceful, prosperous country. There were people starving in Appalachia before the illegals began invading. So we focus on this BS. If New Jersey wants to foster a black market in ivory, fine. It’s their problem. Let them solve it. While Newark rots.

  3. The only thing the United states can apparently do on the issue is make legislation “banning” things or launch “Patriot missiles.” I don’t think either of those will save the elephants.

    Ultimately it is not our choice. It is the choice of the locals who live near the elephants. It is their country and their nation. If America were to ban the sale, they could just sell it somewhere else. There are lots of other collectors and other countries. It is up to the natives of those countries with elephant populations to decide if the existence of elephants are important or profitable, and to take appropriate action as needed.

    • Patriot missiles are anti air, I don’t think too many African countries have successful air forces….

      • Countries in subsaharan Africa with air forces tend to hire former combloc pilots these days. There are a lot of Russian and Ukrainian mercenaries in Africa.

  4. Once we remove the incentive for protecting elephants and their ivory, poachers will be unopposed and will slaughter them. There is still be plenty of worldwide demand for black market items, including ivory.

    • The end result of every action taken by government to solve a “problem”. They make the problem worse.

      • the story about the mountain gorillas worked out, didn’t it? they are making far more money from the tourists coming to see them than they ever did selling the hands as ashtrays. now they ‘hunt’ the poachers because they impact their tourist income every time they come into the reserve.

        edit: granted this was not really a .gov mandate it was just a matter of education and realization of the more profitable potential.

    • No. You can kill a walrus instead. Their tusks are also made of ivory. Perhaps the elephant tusk could be surgically removed but the ‘phant is going to have a shit life afterwards. Battles for breeding rights will be forfeit unless they can be trained in martial arts.

  5. I think its barking mad to restrict Ivory that’s not taken illegally. This is one more trap for unsuspecting people who own an old gun with ivory grips to fall into. The main threat to elephants is habitat destruction for agriculture , and poachers who sell the ivory to china and other far east countries.

    out ban would be one more trap for people who don’t know that the old family bagpipe has some ivory parts.
    so more well meaning but unsuspecting people can get a federal jail time and a huge fine for selling something they were unaware had ivory (ignorance of the law is no excuse) in it.

    It will do not one fig of good for the elephants either. Heres an unfortunate example of a similar situation.
    http://www.steynonline.com/6505/piper-lament
    the relevant issue is towards the end of the posting about some boy couts and their bagpipe at us customs.

    tho me this kind of do nothing – feel good law is the worst kind of political ” bread and circuses”

    Disclaimer: I own no ivory of bagipies .

  6. I think we should legalize the trade of Chinese testicles. I hear they’re a great aphrodisiac. Promptly send in heavily armed poachers in helicopters to collect a few thousand pounds. I’ll pay top dollar.

  7. Managing wildlife for fun and profit is already a proven concept, here and in Africa. Witness the rhino hunts being advertised for big big money. We already get in an uproar over “blood diamonds”, so surely there’s some incentive to properly track ivory such that we can identify legal versus black market.

    On that note, maybe we can also legislate away genocide and other hate crimes occurring in other parts of the world. It’s worked so well with the war on drugs.

    • Touché Don!!! Well put.

      Legislation is one think….. Enforcing it is another.

      I also don’t believe in punishing those who already own Ivory and have acquired it legally.

    • The best way to keep endangered species from going extinct is to give humans an economic interest in keeping them alive.

      I understand the sentiment, but a ban is a bad idea.

  8. Legal hunts have shown to increase conservation efforts and give local populations a reason to protect targeted game animals from poachers. Banning random tools, behaviors, or acts doesn’t stop shit.

  9. I don’t know one way or the other about an elephant ivory ban. But I would bet the ranch that “Americans in overwhelming numbers” don’t really give a tinker’s damn about elephant ivory.

  10. Kenya banned elephant hunting back in the 70’s. Now they hardly have any left due to poaching.
    Botswana has huge herds right now. When a hunter harvests one of those brutes, it feeds a village for about a year.
    They just banned all elephant hunting. My guess is, the poachers will start killing them with no regard to sustainability of the herds, and they will become rare sites.
    South Africa and Zimbabwe manage their herds quite nicely and only allow X number of permits per year. Seeing 150 or so in a herd was incredible to watch, hear and feel.
    I’d shoot one if money was no object. Where I was at, tags were $50,000.
    I think if the ivory was well documented as to its legal harvest, a guy should be able to bring it back.

    • Spot on Tom. Plus some of the Parks have huge stores of Ivory that they can not sell. When an elephant dies they collect the ivory, their stores could fund these parks indefinitely. The major problem is keeping the money generated from dispersing into corrupt hands. The problem with corruption in Africa or at least parts of Africa is that every cop, every military, every Gendarme is corrupt, and try to get bribes. It is not just the politicians.

    • Botswana has outlawed elephant hunting on gov’t/public lands so the disaster there is just starting. They have an over population of elephant that the bleeding hearts don’t care about. Soon the habitat will be destroyed plus now they have no value to the locals. Utter disaster.

  11. I thought importing ivory was already banned. Synthetic billiard balls are much more lively. Synthetic ivory piano keys don’t yellow and crack. Nobody uses ivory pistol grips since Patton died. The synthetic stuff lasts longer and is stronger. When I think about what happens to get a few slabs of ivory it gives me the creeps. Gotta go – the burgers are about done on the grill.

  12. This is a great idea, just look how the War on Drugs is working with all our wonderful drug laws.

    How come the vast majority of people use bathrooms instead of roadways and sidewalks to take a sh()? Because it is socially unacceptable not to do that, not because of more laws. (and most of us don’t carry toilet paper).

    • I want to agree with this, but smoking crack or shooting heroin is not socially acceptable either, and yet it is done in public all the time. Ironically, those same people often defecate in public, as well. More ironically; those who are homeless and addicted to drugs, if not dosing in public, are dosing in a restroom. There is a certain level of addiction, in my opinion, that can’t be tolerated from a public health perspective; remember, most of these people are old enough to drive. Passing the bong maybe doesn’t rise to this level, but I legitimately worry that the “movement” has created a slippery slope here.

      • I hope that you’re aware that every single one of the problems you’ve cited is because of the war on drugs, not because of the drugs. Look at Portugal. They legalized all drugs, so those who need treatment aren’t stigmatized for what’s essentially a medical problem.

        There simply is no downside, other than the hysteria of the ones who still have the madness, which, other than the fetish object, is practically indistinguishable from hoplophobia.

      • Rich, I think you hit on the problem. And I think its opposition is twofold. One obviously is what you pointed out: the hysterical feel-gooders and nannies that feel that all drugs, even those consumed for medical and religious pirposes, are evil. Then there is the vast complex of the multi-trillion dollar drug industry, which grows and manufactures product, distributes it, seizes and destroys it, and finally regulates it (both positively as in FDA and negatively as in DEA). At the bottom of this mountain, and paying for it is the addict population. They pay overtly by buying the product. But another industry is the treatment of the addicted, which varies anywhere from shoddy to absurd, but is another cash cow. Eh, rant over. It’s bigger and more entrenched problem than we realize.

        • ” It’s bigger and more entrenched problem than we realize.”

          Well, we can always hope that when the SHTF, the alphabet-soup agencies will be tripping all over each other and their own feet as they jockey for jurisdiction, in-fight for funding, which will be the first to dry up, and hopefully the Constitutionalists will, if not present a united front, all have the security and Liberty of the individual at heart.

          But mostly fighting with each other over who gets funding and who gets “credit” for a particular bust.

          Like Ron Paul said in one of his speeches, we’ve already gone off the cliff, what we’re doing now is figuring out how/where to land.

  13. Hunting is the only thing standing between elephants(as well as hundreds of other species) and extinction. Hunting gives these animals value, and once that is taken away they are nothing more than nuisance animals to the locals. This has been demonstrated in several countries that have banned hunting. This ban would also make it illegal to buy or sell anything that has ivory in it such as guns with ivory grips, guns with ivory sights, pianos, bagpipes, and numerous other objects that contain ivory.

  14. My 2 cents on the matter: since African nations are part of the equation, any solution could be equally wrong. They don’t seem to care. Take a good look to Africa: does it seem to anybody that they care? About anything?

    Yes, safaris/legal hunts paid them to care. What happens when the number of hunters decreases? When the received pay is no longer enough, in their opinion? What happens when it’s no longer profitable for them to care about elephants? In fact, they don’t care. They care about profits.
    Take a good look at the African nations: do they care about they living standards, literacy, health, education, economy, etc? All I see it’s an entire continent ravaged by wars, criminality, diseases, corruption, cruel poverty. And, beyond the emotional arguments, they had all the chances to be otherwise than they are. They are fully responsible for their present situation.
    Sorry to say, but Africa is wasted on Africans, same way youth is wasted on youngsters. Africa has only one problem: Africans. The rest of the problems are mere symptoms that come from that problem.
    Want to solve problems there? Remove 70-80% of Africans. Problem solved. Colonize it with Americans and Europeans(regardless of their skin color). Problem solved long term. Africa becomes functional.

    • Oh please, D.G. Cornelius. It is obvious you are on the wrong site. Go over to Democratic Underground where most people already support the mass murder of the unborn and the mass murder of gun owners.

      You will be much better received. By the way. Margaret Sanger; the liberal/progressive that all Liberal/progressives look up to was the one to suggest the eradication of the Black race through birth control and abortions. Where do you think most abortion clinics are located? In black neighborhoods.

      • Although those stated by me seem to be related with skin color, they are not. Frankly, it has nothing to do with skin color. I would have said the same, even if they were white, yellow, red, blue, transparent, purple, green, etc.
        What I said is not skin color related. It is related with the results of those nations, regardless of their skin color. If you consider that racist, in spite of my assurance that is not, well it’s your problem.

  15. I am curios about the properties of ivory. Exactly what makes it so valuable? I would think in this modern day of plastics, that an artificial sort of ivory could be manufactured.

  16. Not certain how this thread got stuck on hunting, though some good points have been made. But considering a LAW, there is one more thing to consider. If not shot, are elephants immortal, or do they sometimes die of old age, accident, or disease? How can that ivory be safely destroyed so that it can’t be used for anything? And why would we wish to do that? Import laws will change nothing except to give a bigger government even more power to abuse its citizens. There is absolutely no justification for such a law, much better would be the death penalty for poaching, no penalty for use of ivory of any description.

    • the more we learn about other beings, the definitions that we use to justify our right to kill them get less and less valid.

      I don’t want to turn this into semantics but when we discover that another animal actually does what we used to consider to be unique to humans(learn, memory, predict future events based on past experiences not based on instinct, grief about loss, joy of reunions, family structure, self-aware), how can I still stand by making the point of that they are ethically or morally killable but killing humans is not? I own birds as pets, keep them in cages for my own entertainment(if i deduce it to the lowest level) and just this week I learned that birds don’t only use tools but make tools(i knew that part) and then that the same species on the same island has groups of birds that make and use tools differently, and that is considered them having a unique culture.

      I don’t have the answer to this but if you look back at our history when there were medical publications which ‘proofed’ that the ones put into slavery were not deserving of human rights more than the ox you force to pull a cart. Will we look back in 100 years and find it unacceptable that we hunted elephants, whales or anything else alive?

      While i personally don’t hunt, I currently don’t have any moral or ethical objections to someone hunting a deer today.

      • The acts of killing and hunting, in and if themselves are amoral. Neither evil or good. It is the context around the act that determines whether it is ethical or not. This context is usually found within a western Judeo-Christian framework of morality. So the short reply is that hunting and killing other living creatures, or confining them to benefit oneself (as in your birds) is not unethical.

  17. “Then again, Africa is almost as corrupt as New Jersey. Would the cash generated from expanded legal elephant hunting process and legal ivory sales simply disappear down a rat hole, leaving legal and illegal hunts existing side-by-side (as they are now), until the elephants were hunted to extinction?”

    Yes, it would go down the rathole, New Jersey will take 100 more years to become as corrupt as any African nation – I lived there for a year, trust me.

    • That depends on where you lived. I would not walk the streets of Newark, Jersey City, Bayonne, and Trenton at night unarmed for all the money in the world. They’re on a par with Kinchasa, Lagos, Nairobi and other havens of “civilization” in Africa, IMO.

  18. Seeing as it is already a federal crime to sell elephant ivory in the USA this is another law that is useless. It is like a state in 2014 passing a law stateing that selling slaves is now suddenly illegal, in 2014. Logicaly they both are the same. IMHO

  19. Can we please stop the killing of these creatures for the sake of the sickos who covet their ivory?

    Can we find a RESPONSIBLE way to conserve these magnificant creations of God?

    Does that mean no ivory? No.
    Does this mean not killing them to the point of extinction? Yes.

    Africa remains one of the world’s largest cluster flops.

    That is all.

    • there is certainly a point in there. if we still had 3-5 million elephants in africa that were alive in the 60-70 years ago, poachers alone killed 23k in africa in 2013, there would be lots of ivory available just from sick and old animals passing away. put a gps tag on them, collect the ivory once they are dead. ivory problem solved?

    • Why do we always have nonsensical types that get hysterical over this. I hope they’re eating and wearing grass, if not they’re hypocrites.

  20. Our morally superior political leaders ban this to save that with no regard for the consequences of their actions. If banning the possession of ivory increases poaching/black market activity and decreases funding for game management it does not matter. This is clear from legislation banning alcohol, drugs, guns, smoking and everything else they have tried. A better question to ask is, should the possession of ivory be criminalized? Clearly, our state and federal criminal codes do not have enough felonies. We can all look forward to a bright future where every man woman and child is a potential felon.

  21. To the local Africans the elephant is a reality. That reality eats several hundred pounds of forage a day and is not particular where they find it which to a subsistence farmer can mean starvation. Where hunting is legal the elephant feeds a hungry populace that might otherwise not have meat and the herds are kept to manageable numbers supported by their environment. The usually exorbitant fees frequently go to employ otherwise idle people.

    When there is a hunting ban the reality of the elephant still exists, reproduces, and gets more than mildly peckish in the absence of predation. Further, when hunting and ivory are banned that means a sharp rise in price for the now contraband ivory. Now you have created a starving population with multiple motivations to not only kill elephants but wipe them out. Don’t know if I would, more to the point don’t know if I could, after all once you’re close enough to shoot you’re also close enough to die. But in essence this is not about personal desires or individual tastes in regard to hunting. If you want a healthy elephant herd to continue, then hunting and the results in the form of hides and tusks/antlers need be openly traded and displayed.

  22. This sounds like another great opportunity to turn otherwise law-abiding people into criminals.

    Next question, please.

  23. Let’s get this out of the way- I do not believe in animals rights, stopping animal testing or giving money to animal charities or anything like that. I do however believe that if you are going to kill an animal, you should use as much of it as possible. Elephant hunting? You use the horns, alright. But anything else? Do you use the skin? Eat the meat? The hooves? Organs? If the answer to this is yes, then hunt away to you hearts content. No? then stop wasting healthy animals. Note that I said healthy there. In some African countries, rhino hunting licences are sold on occasion. The catch is, the animal chosen for hunting is an old animal, ne that poses a threat to the youngsters of the herd. The same should be implemented for elephants.

    • that is how I consider the hunting of deer in my state but does it matter to you and your opinion if the rest of the animal is not used by the hunter or its family/tribe?
      Is giving it to the starving mountain lion population different than giving it to the local human population? I am far from being against hunting but somehow that reasoning seems to have a flaw. Or just an excuse to justify the hunting of elephants. It is not like the locals could not have killed the elephant if they chose to use it for food. they lived and survived along with the elephants long before anyone gave two shits about any of this.

      Would me and you go out and kill a heard of one hundred deer or buffalo this weekend, under the name of feeding the poor and hungry ppl in the US, be any different?

      On that last part, I wish we were allowed to feed invasive pests like boar to the hungry but .gov doesn’t let you donate it.

      I am not trying to sound like a troll but whenever this topic comes up, I come to the conclusion that while I fully support hunting to feed me or my family is ethical and morally just, that I cannot find the same when it comes to me getting on an airplane, paying 50k to kill an animal for the experience of it. I am certain it is an awesome experience to hunt in africa but it never quite passes the litmus test for me.

      any philosophy majors on here to help answer that?

      • I will first apologise for the rather confused post-it was late in Britain and I was very tired, long day.
        No, jumping on a plane and paying 50K just for ivory is ridiculous. I don not support that idea in the least, it disgusts me. I do however feel that is an animal is old and is threatening the younger of the herb, as with old rhinos, then ethically killing the animal like most elephant conservationalists (?) would advise is alright. In that case, why not get some money into the economy and allow some dumbass rich guy to take the shot and take the ivory? Better than the ivory going to waste, as with the leather.
        I would go out and hunt dear to feed the hungry. The thrill of the hunt is something I enjoy, so I can provide for charity doing something I like. I’ll keep some cuts for my family if it’s a large deer, but we have plenty and they do not so why not? (Actually I don’t own any firearms or even have a licence but this is working on the theory that I do).
        Finally, could I ask you to explain your first paragraph as I cannot make head nor tail of it. Sorry about that.

    • Yes, the ivory is taken. Skin? Ever heard of elephant skin boots and belts (until that was severely restricted. Meat? If you read any of the previous posts, you’d know that you’re just being a troll. “I do not believe in animals rights, stopping animal testing or giving money to animal charities or anything like that.” Yeah, right.

      • I believe I already apologised for the confusion and contradictions and explained so I do not appreciate being termed a ‘troll’.
        I do not give to animal charities but I disagree with the idea of killing an entire animal for the sake of a small amount of materials.
        >> Meat? Yes, meat. In Africa it is fairly common and is considered to have an effect like Viagra in Thailand. If the hunter, say, donated the meat to poorer people, or ate it himself, then I would consider the killing alright.

        One common African dish is Elephant Soup. Try this elephant meat recipe at home!

        • one-half pound of elephant meat
        • three cups of beef broth
        • one onion
        • one cup hazelnuts
        • one cup boiled peas
        • one small green onion
        • one cup of shitake mushrooms
        • two tablespoons of lard
        • salt and black pepper (to taste)
        • one-half cup of milk

        Combine meat with other ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.”
        Recipe from EveryMeat.com

  24. cant we ban poachers? That would be nice.
    It is such a shame that major species who’s existence is threatened all seem to be either an aphrodisiac, adverse to agriculture/ranching, or coveted for the house mantel in Asia or Arab countries. On the other hand, i guess we need to keep increasing the world population at a good steady rate, gobble up resources, so lets keep killing elephants, tigers, Asian bears, etc till they, and their habitat, are all gone and the debate will be over – no real solutions here.

  25. Politicians love to ban things because it make them look good to people who want immediate, “feel good”, solutions. Banning ivory sounds like a great idea, surely we can get by without ivory, until you find that your 1935 bagpipes or your vintage Gibson hollow-body guitar just got confiscated by the Fish and Wildlife Service because their original ivory fittings are “illegal”. And just see how far explaining that the bagpipes or the guitar has been in the family for generations and that it was built long before the ban was instituted.

    • For example:

      “They did everything by the book. They had their CITES permits. They even disclosed to the officials that they were carrying instruments that featured antique ivory. But Campbell Webster and Eryk Bean, both age 17, are nonetheless each without their vintage Robertson drones after they attempted to return home to Massachusetts after a successful weekend in Canada competing at the games Maxville and Montreal.”

      “At first they were told that the pipes would be held for a week. But while pipes|drums was speaking with Campbell and Lezlie Webster, they received the devastating news that neither set of pipes would be returned.

      Ever.

      But the two were later informed that their pipes would in fact be returned to them, in what they hope would lead to the ultimate end in the roller-coaster two days.”

      http://www.pipesdrums.com/article/confiscated-two-vintage-bagpipes-seized-at-us-border/

  26. Right now the policy is to crush or burn seized ivory. You might wonder is selling and accounting for it might generate revenue to protect the elephants?

  27. And, make no mistake, this is what gun-control will look like, once the state get’s enough “reasonable” laws passed. Let’s do it for the kids.

  28. There is a critical lack of effective enforcement preventing poaching already. Encouraging the ivory trade would disproportionately benefit black market sales. Though a system could be put in place to try to prevent poached ivory from getting into the legal US market, I don’t see much hope in that being terribly effective.

  29. Did anyone actually read about the new law! FIRST HUNTERS WILL BE ABLE TO BRING THEIR TUSKS BACK INTO THE US AND YOU ARE ALLOWED TO KEEP WHATEVER IVORY YOU MAY HAVE YOU JUST CANNOT SELL OR TRADE IT

  30. I actually hold a degree in Wildlife Management so I feel vaguely qualified to answer this one. First off, I don’t know anything about managing elephants. However, banning the sale of ivory would simply increase the demand. People pay big bucks to tranquilize white and black rhinos. I suspect people would do the same for an elephant. Biologists would then remove the tusks and sell them later on. Pumping even more money into the program for better research or protection for the elephants. People have claimed this puts the elephants at risks from other bulls, but if most of the animals tusks are removed the risk would greatly decrease. People think that hunting laws are just some made up jargon to keep some blood thirsty hunters at bay. In reality it’s a very exact science fueled by constant data and visible facts. Unfortunately, it is as you said and people are too emotional about the subject. People watch Bambi and feel totally qaulified on making important environmental decisions.

  31. Sure, banning it would work just like banning drugs has worked. Oh wait….

    Allow it, tax it, direct the money towards herd management. Even the corrupt officials will see that skimming money is smarter and will yield more money.

  32. The United States government (and many others) actually encourages poaching by destroying thousands of pounds of illegal ivory, which keeps prices high and encourages additional poaching. The government should auction seized ivory. Best of both worlds? Governments steal back poached ivory and thus provide a legal ivory supply that discourages the black market ivory trade. We should discourage ivory ownership, but destroying many tons of ivory just lowers the supply and rewards poachers with higher prices. The sale of seized illegal ivory could go a long way toward protecting the elephant herds. I think that once a piece of ivory is declared legal and passes into private ownership, it should remain legal forever. We can be scrupulous about declaring what ivory is legal, but we shouldn’t just declare privately owned legal ivory unsellable, in effect legally worthless.

  33. 1. Elephants need the tusks for a variety of reasons in the wild. So, it’s not our place to simply go and grab them because we want them.
    2. What part of wild in wildlife don’t people understand? They don’t need managing, it’s humans and their wildlife habitat encroachment that needs to be managed.
    3. Saying old ivory was legally obtained and so should be ok to sell it is like saying slaves were legally obtained when legal so people should continue to allow owning them.
    4. The legal sales have sparked more demand in Asia and has given rise to poaching. When ivory sales were banned in the 90s, demand went down and elephant populations were rebounding. Unfortunately, CITES, the organization that regulates trade in wildlife allowed a one time sale of ivory in 2008 and we are paying the price.
    5. Tourism revenue dwarfs trophy hunting revenue; it’s not even close. But trophy hunters could care less as long as they get to shoot animals and can brag about it, even though one wonders what’s so heroic about being able to be driven by a professional hunter right next to your prey and then shooting it from a safe distance. Try chasing and killing a lion on foot with a knife/spear, then we’ll talk about bravery.
    6. The ‘exact science’ of hunters someone mentioned is nothing but paid ‘experts’ funded by groups like Safari Club. We all know how that works. If hunting was so beneficial, why are predator populations down in the US? Hint: they are being eliminated so hunters have less competition for game animals. That’s their CONservation.

  34. Predator populations are down? I’m pretty sure that the exact opposite is true. Coyotes have come back with avengence. Wolves who have been protected in Yellow Stone have just recently began to venture out of the parks boundaries. This had prompted heavy debate within western ranching communities. Mountain lions are even making a small come back. This is mostly a result of conservation efforts via state wildlife

  35. Predator populations are down? I’m pretty sure that the exact opposite is true. Coyotes have come back with avengence. Wolves who have been protected in Yellow Stone have just recently began to venture out of the parks boundaries. This had prompted heavy debate within western ranching communities. Mountain lions are even making a small come back. This is mostly a result of conservation efforts via state wildlife programs funded, in some instances, solely by the revenue hunters generate. The coyotes are just doing it all on their own though. There will be no tourism if all the elephants are killed by poachers. Animals do need managing because of people. When a species is no longer adversely affected by humans focus is placed elsewhere.

    I apologize, my previous statement was cut off.

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