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TOTAL US IVORY BAN

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I just received this email from David Warther, who works with ivory and supplies bow tips and other mammoth and legal elephant ivory pieces. What the US Government is proposing seems rather draconian, especially in the Land of the Free. Apparently all forms of ivory are included. It will impact the musical instrument trade as well as any other that uses any form of ivory. I imagine even the tooth fairy will be unemployed.

This is what he sent me.

 

Hello Everyone!

Ivory Ban - The Presidential Advisory Committee that met 12/16/13 does plan to recommend a total ban on ivory sales, within the US, to the task force on Wildlife Trafficking.

If you want to oppose that action please email ACWT@FWS.GOV before December 28th when they file their report. I have attached a letter beneath my signature (below) that you can use by cutting and pasting but feel free to change it as may fit your interests and work.

This is not a ban on new ivory but rather a ban on the sale of ALL ivory that is in any form. This includes pre-ban and antique ivory in musical instruments, knives, guns, cues, etc. and will make Grandma's piano illegal to sell if it has ivory keys. This sounds ludicrous but it is true. If this passes then it will take the form of a bill that will be set before Congress in 2014.

Presently this ban on the sale of ivory is to include fossil mammoth ivory as well as pre-ban and antique elephant ivory.

Please forward this information to everyone you think may want to voice their opposition to this type of government control.  

Sincerely ,

David Warther

2561 Crestview Dr. NW

Dover , Ohio

                            44622

www.guitarpartsandmore.com  ( website )

Letter :

 

Dear Advisory Committee,

 I stand against a total ban of all ivory sales in the US.

As called for in the Presidential Executive Order I ask that the recommendations continue to allow for "legal and legitimate commerce”. 

The ivory market in the US is stable and /or declining, and the seizure records indicate that a high proportion of the seizures made were personal effects lacking the correct paperwork, not the “blood tusks “ spoken about in the media. The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) analysis indicated that the amount of ivory (by weight) seized annually has not increased in recent years. WE are not the consumers of the poached ivory. Therefore banning ivory sales within the US will do nothing to save the remaining world population of elephants.

CITES MIKE report (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) September 2013 report, page 64 analysis states "Africa's elephant populations are managed sustainably" and that in 2013 the quota for permits for legal elephants was 1350 animals. There is legal trade that can be monitored with DNA testing and permitting. Enforcing and policing a ban would use funds that should be used to support the ban on imports already in effect.

I fully support the CITES rules, closing international borders to elephant ivory trade, a law already in effect that should be fully supported and enforced. I stand against a total ban of all ivory commerce within our United States borders, a decision that would be an enforcement nightmare. Like prohibition it will cause a new wave of illicit commerce where a legitimate one now exists. Museums, antique dealers, collectors, artisans and individual citizens have invested in a legal and valuable material. Sanctioned trade in ivory that is legal (culled and pre-ban) and comes from unthreatened sources (mammoth, boar, warthog, antique and recycled products) can pose no possible threat to elephant herds in the wild.

I believe our mutual goals are the same and a solution can be reached. Please keep the focus where it belongs. To increase the elephant population the killing must be stopped in Africa and at its borders. 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

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Thanks for posting this,

I hope a lot of us will respond.

I suppose they have some logic behind banning fossilized mammoth ivory, but THEY are no longer endangered. In my letter, I too pointed out that these bows are going to be sold one way or another, and if sales are not allowed legally, they will certainly be sold without the government getting their taxes. Maybe they will understand that , if nothing else.

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I'm sure that doing forensics to determine whether the white stuff is mammoth or not costs money and personell. Since they can't farm out the work to a third world country it's cheaper to just make it all illegal and lay off the forensics staff. No down side politically since most Americans can't tell real natural material from plastic anyway.  I've been using white mammoth ivory for my collars and pips since the beginning. Now I won't even be able to do that I guess.

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I just received this email from David Warther, who works with ivory and supplies bow tips and other mammoth and legal elephant ivory pieces. What the US Government is proposing seems rather draconian, especially in the Land of the Free. Apparently all forms of ivory are included. It will impact the musical instrument trade as well as any other that uses any form of ivory. I imagine even the tooth fairy will be unemployed.

This is what he sent me.

 

Hello Everyone!

Ivory Ban - The Presidential Advisory Committee that met 12/16/13 does plan to recommend a total ban on ivory sales, within the US, to the task force on Wildlife Trafficking.

If you want to oppose that action please email ACWT@FWS.GOV before December 28th when they file their report. I have attached a letter beneath my signature (below) that you can use by cutting and pasting but feel free to change it as may fit your interests and work.

This is not a ban on new ivory but rather a ban on the sale of ALL ivory that is in any form. This includes pre-ban and antique ivory in musical instruments, knives, guns, cues, etc. and will make Grandma's piano illegal to sell if it has ivory keys. This sounds ludicrous but it is true. If this passes then it will take the form of a bill that will be set before Congress in 2014.

Presently this ban on the sale of ivory is to include fossil mammoth ivory as well as pre-ban and antique elephant ivory.

Please forward this information to everyone you think may want to voice their opposition to this type of government control.  

Sincerely ,

David Warther

2561 Crestview Dr. NW

Dover , Ohio

                            44622

www.guitarpartsandmore.com  ( website )

Letter :

 

Dear Advisory Committee,

 I stand against a total ban of all ivory sales in the US.

As called for in the Presidential Executive Order I ask that the recommendations continue to allow for "legal and legitimate commerce”. 

The ivory market in the US is stable and /or declining, and the seizure records indicate that a high proportion of the seizures made were personal effects lacking the correct paperwork, not the “blood tusks “ spoken about in the media. The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) analysis indicated that the amount of ivory (by weight) seized annually has not increased in recent years. WE are not the consumers of the poached ivory. Therefore banning ivory sales within the US will do nothing to save the remaining world population of elephants.

CITES MIKE report (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) September 2013 report, page 64 analysis states "Africa's elephant populations are managed sustainably" and that in 2013 the quota for permits for legal elephants was 1350 animals. There is legal trade that can be monitored with DNA testing and permitting. Enforcing and policing a ban would use funds that should be used to support the ban on imports already in effect.

I fully support the CITES rules, closing international borders to elephant ivory trade, a law already in effect that should be fully supported and enforced. I stand against a total ban of all ivory commerce within our United States borders, a decision that would be an enforcement nightmare. Like prohibition it will cause a new wave of illicit commerce where a legitimate one now exists. Museums, antique dealers, collectors, artisans and individual citizens have invested in a legal and valuable material. Sanctioned trade in ivory that is legal (culled and pre-ban) and comes from unthreatened sources (mammoth, boar, warthog, antique and recycled products) can pose no possible threat to elephant herds in the wild.

I believe our mutual goals are the same and a solution can be reached. Please keep the focus where it belongs. To increase the elephant population the killing must be stopped in Africa and at its borders. 

Respectfully Submitted,

I'm happy to see that the Presidential Executive Order allowed for legal and legitimate commerce.  Maybe the total ban will not be passed by Congress.  Making possession of pre-ban and mammoth ivory illegal seems to be a form of punishment for acts that were not illegal when they were committed.

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I'm sure that doing forensics to determine whether the white stuff is mammoth or not costs money and personell. Since they can't farm out the work to a third world country it's cheaper to just make it all illegal and lay off the forensics staff. No down side politically since most Americans can't tell real natural material from plastic anyway.  I've been using white mammoth ivory for my collars and pips since the beginning. Now I won't even be able to do that I guess.

 

There is no functional reason for mammoth ivory for collars and pips other than to imitate genuine ivory whose only function is as a symbol of luxury and wealth. This status symbol is exactly what is driving the trade of illegal ivory to China for those that now have new wealth to display. Poaching elephants, which also funds terrorism, is not something that I support. I don't know what the solution is but we need to be willing to try. 

 

* I want to note that it isn't my intention to be confrontational towards Eric, who has my highest respect as a craftsman, only to illustrate part of the problem as I see it.

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There is no functional reason for mammoth ivory for collars and pips other than to imitate genuine ivory whose only function is as a symbol of luxury and wealth. This status symbol is exactly what is driving the trade of illegal ivory to China for those that now have new wealth to display. Poaching elephants, which also funds terrorism, is not something that I support. I don't know what the solution is but we need to be willing to try. 

For bow tips, I think ivory is still a good material.  It protects the head by shattering when dropped.  Mastodon ivory is what is used in most shops now.  You can tell what is mastodon and what is elephant ivory by looking at the endgrain.  The pattern is different.  There is a bunch of mastodon ivory around as far as I know.

 

 

I edited some of my earlier comments in this post because I think I might have been wrong and I don't want to add to misinformation.  So if you read my post before I edited, forget what I said.  

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I may be mistaken, but I believe the agency involved in deterring market and the poaching of endangered species is Federal Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.  I've searched, but have not been able to locate the recommendation mentioned.

 

Before I consider writing anyone, I think it would be a good idea to at least read the proposed restrictions for myself.  Anyone know where this can be found?

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I originally got upset about this and jumped to all kinds of conclusions.  I usually like to point to misinformation when I see it or sense it, and in this case I think I got caught up in the hype.  I feel a little silly.  Anyhow...

 

I did some more research and the story probably comes from a meeting of the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.  They did have a meeting on the 16th of December.  Here is the agenda of the meeting.  http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/advisory-council-dec-13-meeting-agenda.pdf  Here is the outline for the meeting http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/council-meeting-outline-dec-13.pdf

 

Here is something about the meeting that may be a little easier to digest http://firstforwildlife.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/sci-foundation-speaks-at-advisory-council-meeting/

 

As far as I can tell there was no mention of mastodon ivory, but if someone finds something else, let us know.  

 

I suspect, but don't know for sure that the message the OP got (we got the same message) is a response to stuff like this. https://www.facebook.com/GiveAShitAboutElephants/posts/776608425697922

 

There may in fact be an outright ban on the sale of ivory in the near future based on some of these meetings and the buzz that seems to be going around on the internet, but nothing seems to be conclusive as of yet.  It might still be helpful to contact a representative to voice your opinion about how a ban should look, or that (in my opinion) there should be some sort of protection for the sale of goods in our business (existing ivory on bows and fittings, mastodon ivory, etc.)  For now, I will probably do more research before writing my representative, but will keep an eye on the topic.

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Whew, I was going to have to turn in my Mother to the guillotine for that ivory figurine that my Dad brought back from China in "45"--- ( though she probably had it coming). Seriously. if the powers that be do screw the very people who have been trying to use alternative (yet beautiful) alternatives over the years, just because their product looks like the real thing, it would be ridiculously misguided. Anybody who thinks that finding and using a material that is 20,000 years old, to try do the right thing, instead of elephant has never worked the stuff and is killing the messenger. All of us old timers have lot's of old nuts and saddles from Martin guitar replacements that we could more readily and easily use if we didn't care. i

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I originally got upset about this and jumped to all kinds of conclusions.  I usually like to point to misinformation when I see it or sense it, and in this case I think I got caught up in the hype.  I feel a little silly.  Anyhow...

 

I did some more research and the story probably comes from a meeting of the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.  They did have a meeting on the 16th of December.  Here is the agenda of the meeting.  http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/advisory-council-dec-13-meeting-agenda.pdf  Here is the outline for the meeting http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/council-meeting-outline-dec-13.pdf

 

Here is something about the meeting that may be a little easier to digest http://firstforwildlife.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/sci-foundation-speaks-at-advisory-council-meeting/

 

As far as I can tell there was no mention of mastodon ivory, but if someone finds something else, let us know.  

 

I suspect, but don't know for sure that the message the OP got (we got the same message) is a response to stuff like this. https://www.facebook.com/GiveAShitAboutElephants/posts/776608425697922

 

There may in fact be an outright ban on the sale of ivory in the near future based on some of these meetings and the buzz that seems to be going around on the internet, but nothing seems to be conclusive as of yet.  It might still be helpful to contact a representative to voice your opinion about how a ban should look, or that (in my opinion) there should be some sort of protection for the sale of goods in our business (existing ivory on bows and fittings, mastodon ivory, etc.)  For now, I will probably do more research before writing my representative, but will keep an eye on the topic.

Matt,

I think the quote that is concerning is:

"Those in support of a ban wish to make it illegal to trade any item that contains ivory, or horn, forever, because it is easier to enforce"

A quote from the fourth paragraph.

This to me means that although they are targeting rhino horn and elephant ivory, they want to ban all ivory and all horn because it is easier to enforce.

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Just to add an anecdote, one of the world's top bow experts recently had a case full of fine bows seized when entering the US. When asked whether the head plates of the bows were ivory, he said "yes" in all honesty and simplicity, and all his papers were not sufficient to prove that the bows were made prior to 1850 in the eyes of the customs officers. I'm glad I haven't been playing in the States and am not planning to for awhile. What bow can I bring? No ivory tips and pernambuco sticks, and i'd be afraid my Vuillaume metal bow would be seen as a lethal weapon at the x-ray machine, so that leaves my Roth fiberglass "col legno" special, unless I get a carbon fibre...the world is going nuts!

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Matt,

I think the quote that is concerning is:

"Those in support of a ban wish to make it illegal to trade any item that contains ivory, or horn, forever, because it is easier to enforce"

A quote from the fourth paragraph.

This to me means that although they are targeting rhino horn and elephant ivory, they want to ban all ivory and all horn because it is easier to enforce.

I agree. That's concerning.

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There is a site called moveon.org where you can start a petition. I think this would be more effective than individual letters, especially if you can plug in to all your luthier archetier networks.

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For bow tips, I think ivory is still a good material.  It protects the head by shattering when dropped.  Mastodon ivory is what is used in most shops now.  You can tell what is mastodon and what is elephant ivory by looking at the endgrain.  The pattern is different.  There is a bunch of mastodon ivory around as far as I know.

 

Thanks Matthew. I'm not against mammoth ivory. I'm against poached elephant ivory and I don't think we are doing anyone any favors by unnecessarily muddying the waters. If mammoth ivory is essential for bow tips then we should reserve it for that. It's not essential for peg decorations or bow frogs and I think we would be wise to discourage its use there. 

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Daryl, I feel that your thinking is a bit muddied. I feel confidant that most, perhaps all North American bow and violin makers would not knowingly use poached ivory. I also know that things are not perfect, if they were CITES would have been responsible for stopping this abhorrent practice. It hasn't, and the poached ivory is going to other countries that are in the bow and instrument trade in a big way, and could care less about elephants. Using Mammoth ivory is a legitimate way to have ivory "trimmings" without resorting to poached ivory. This is my opinion for what it is worth.

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I have a feeling that those of us with an interest in this ought to seek out someone with clout; in short a person or organization with lobbying abilities or skills.  Because all the people who are willing to be ABSOLUTE, and demand a TOTAL BAN are probably very adept already at getting their point across.  And, I guess it can't hurt to contact our congresspersons.  (I realize there seems to be some doubt about whether the total ban is already being considered, but it's not to early to start researching what may be in the offing)

 

Any Ideas? 

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I don't get the essential / non essential  part of your logic. Perhaps collars and pips are more difficult to identify than bow tips, but there are also less frequently used  and less impactfull.  I really can't see the detriment to elephant populations by using substitutes for peg accents. How about the mastodon saddles on a tailpiece? Is that OK? Is it just a ornament for rich dilettants or accousticly viable? Is it OK to have such on an old Martin? There are no mammoths alive today, we are not effecting the elephant population in any way. Ivory was used to adorn pegs from the times of Stradivari. If we use tagua nut or some other white material we are still simulating the ivory that was historically utilized. Mammoth and Mastodon (mostly Mammoth by the way) has been employed for many years by those who cared about the future of the elephant populations. These folks, myself included, went way out of their way to do what they thought was the right thing. We all used ivory in the 70s and it was a learning curve and a shift of perspective and economics  to acquire new material to replace it. This was considered by the agencies that control such matters to be kosher and correct and now suddenly it is possibly the wrong thing. So all of these adjustments and adornments whether essential or not, made with the idea of protecting elephants, are now potentially bad, bad, bad?  i truly believe this idea by those coming late to the game is a lazy way of  making life easier for some by making it tougher for others under the guise of streamlining. If this, as you contend, clears muddy water, it just clears it for those who aren't impacted.

 

If this goes through, by shooting the messenger the waters are, for some, even muddier. One can tell, with a little effort,the difference between the two materials. They are, after all, totally different species. Elephants are slaughtered, not for peg pips and bow tips, but for the carved tusks that are common in the East and have been so for centuries. So, by this logic, since Madagascar ebony is endangered, we make all ebony, even those species that are not threatened, verboten because it is too much work to identify them. How about swartzia? How about umpingo? Anything hard and black? There have been many posts here about how to tell "brazilwood'  bows from real pernambuco. Are those now on the the list because they are threatened or because they look too much like their endangered cousin. 

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