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FenwickG

TOTAL US IVORY BAN

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Lyrics from Shel Silverstein:

 

"Now a little bitty termite, he come knockin', Knockin' at my front door, He walked right in, sat right down Started nibblin' on the kitchen floor He chewed on the walls and the ceilings and the halls -- Lord knows he tried -- But he kept a-gettin' thinner And he never got no dinner And finally he sat up and cried... He said, "It's plastic, good Lord, it's plastic! I know it ain't no wood And it can't do me no good, Because it's plastic -- and you can't eat plastic, Everything's gonna be plastic by and by!" Then one afternoon in the month of June I went down to the beach. There were cuties and beauties in little bathin' suities And all of them within my reach. Then a 38-24-36 miss just happened to be pa*sin' my way. I said, "Please don't think I'm nervy, but you look so very curvy Please tell me how you got that way!" She said, "It's plastic -- it's only plastic, It's pretty as can be, but you know that it ain't me, Because they're plastic, oh yes they're plastic, Everything's gonna be plastic by and by."

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Perhaps I'm an idealist but I don't think anything I've written is that far off base. Nevertheless, I'll leave it at that and bow out.

 

I hope it doesn't seem like I'm picking on you. People approach problems in different ways often with different solutions. I'm an idealist too, which is why I started using prehistoric ivory in he first place. I like the way it looks even though it is a bitch to select, fit and work down. I usually talk customers out of it, but not because it looks like elephant. Maybe I should. I make little cards saying that I made the stuff and it is not elephant and it's 10,000 years old, but I guess i coiuld be lying, How would they know unless they find someone who knows the difference. Isn't that a big part of our cllective business? finding people who know the difference?

.I may have to stop using it if people startt getting hassled a borders. It's a wierd world and it was a better place when there were less people in it to screw it up. Ultimately that is what is dooming all the big beautifull wild things of the shrinking wild places. -- Us.

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Perhaps I'm an idealist but I don't think anything I've written is that far off base. Nevertheless, I'll leave it at that and bow out.

 

While in the end we may not be able to do much to affect the decision made by our congress or other gov't entities, and even though I'm personally not in favor of solutions that require a wide brush (and therefor limits to personal liberties and dilution of our ability to make individual decisions concerning our social responsibilities) rather than a focus on the specific material(s) or problem(s) involved, I think discussing all sides of the issue are important.  Fire away, Daryl.

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Hi Joe, I somewhat regret opening my big mouth here. I’d like to think of myself as a nice person but sometimes I wonder if I come across as otherwise on these forums. Not sure if it’s the text format or what. Anyway, I really like you and we’ve actually met briefly at a VSA competition. Your work is amazing and I would be delighted if some day I could put your fittings on one of my violins. I think ultimately we want the same thing, but have slightly different takes on it. To illustrate, imagine for a moment we are both ivory trinket carvers and have neighboring shops where we sell our wares to tourists. One day over lunch we decide that elephant poaching is wrong and that we are going to stop using elephant ivory. You decide to carve your trinkets from mammoth ivory instead and you provide certificates to prove this and instruct your customers on how to deal with customs officials. I decide to carve my trinkets from wood and avoid the whole situation since they are just trinkets and don’t need to be any kind of ivory.

 

Neither of us would be wrong. Are we both equally right?

 

The harsh reality is that nearly 100 elephants per day are being killed by militants to fund terrorism in Kenyan shopping malls. The sole value of these elephants is in their tusks, which are carved into little trinkets for folks with disposable income to buy and put on their bookshelves. The recent boom in the mammoth ivory trade doesn’t appear to have lessened the poaching of elephants. Perhaps I’m wrong, but to my eye mammoth ivory isn’t a solution only a complication.

 

Perhaps as morally conscience craftsman we could agree that ivory, of any sort, for purely decorative purposes doesn't move us forward towards protecting a species from a brutal extinction. But there I go again as an idealist.

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Daryl, your "big mouth" is absolutely needed in this debate. Species facing man induced extinction are under tremendous and unrelenting pressures. There are always "reasons" (many are special interest reasons) why certain policies cannot be implemented to stave off extinction of a species. The Maui dolphin is a case in point (read about it if you are unfamiliar with this very sad case). With that said, in a perfect world, what Eric writes also has merit and I agree. But we don't live in a perfect world. We live in an imperfect world and it is this imperfect that policymakers need to face if we are to save species such as elephants and rhinos. Clearly bowmakers and violinmakers are in no way responsible for this calamity. It is principally the Asian, most notably the Chinese, desire to possess ivory carvings as a sign of wealth and affluence that is driving the market for poached ivory. Imagine a world without keystone species such as wild elephants...That would represent a total and foretelling failure on the part of the global community.

 

With that said, hopefully the government will take a reasoned but effective approach.

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The issue for me is the stated reason they are considering this total ban. They want to ban all ivory not for the arguments stated here, they propose the ban on all ivory because it would be " easier to enforce". They work for us and are willing to put hardship on countless people to make their job easier?

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They work for us and are willing to put hardship on countless people to make their job easier?

Well, we could hire more people, to make the job easier.  But that has to be paid for.   ;)

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Maybe we should just hire different people!

... who will cave in to special interest groups (that’s us), and make any solution to illegal ivory trafficking ineffective.  In other words, screw the elephants.  They don’t pay taxes, do they?   :P  :lol:

 

I’m just sayin’...  ;)

 

Yeah, I know, plastic sucks, and camel bone is really yellow.  <_<

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Well, we could hire more people, to make the job easier.  But that has to be paid for.   ;)

 

Or we could make the job easier by not contributing unnecessarily to the problem in the first place.  

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... who will cave in to special interest groups (that’s us), and make any solution to illegal ivory trafficking ineffective.  In other words, screw the elephants.  They don’t pay taxes, do they?   :P  :lol:

 

I’m just sayin’...  ;)

 

Yeah, I know, plastic sucks, and camel bone is really yellow.  <_<

Doing the right thing is not a special interest.

For the record, I am very fond of elephants. Just sayin.

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Doing the right thing is not a special interest.

Only if the majority hold the opinion that that course of action is “the right thing to do."  By definition.  Just sayin’   :ph34r:  :D

 

For the record, I hate the policy side of science, because it’s rarely science.   <_<

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Are you guys really in favor of putting plastic on all the classic old French bow tips because some federal worker does not want to take the time to find out when the bow was made?

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For the record, I am very fond of elephants. Just sayin.

Elephant sausage? Just kidding. :lol:

 

I hope everyone who supports the blanket ban on "ivory" has already happily and properly documented all the ebony they own, and is OK with the burden of doing so for all the ebony they purchase in the future.

Just so ya know, solid documentation for ebony purchases needs to go all the way back to the original permits for harvesting the tree (with those permits possibly written in a foreign language, or falsified),  and all subsequent documents in the "chain of custody", being genuine. Or you can take some shortcuts and make some assumptions, and hope for the best.

 

I kinda went into this business because I wanted to be a fiddle-maker, not an international detective and paper-pusher.

 

Contributing to our comfort though, the government people I've interacted with have indicated that the fiddle trade isn't an enforcement priority. It's nice to know that I probably won't go to jail over my 40-year-old ebony supplies, unless enforcement priorities change. Wish I could assure all fiddle owners (including my customers) that they don't have anything to worry about, like getting something confiscated at some border crossing.

 

Bone looks a little like ivory, to a little-educated enforcement agent, so we better ban that too.

 

After that, we can move foward to banning ivory and bone imitating plastics, along with abolone-simulating plastic shirt buttons. That will make everyone happy-happy-happy, and the world will be a much better place. :rolleyes:

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I hope everyone who supports the blanket ban on "ivory" has already happily and properly documented all the ebony they own, and is OK with the burden of doing so for all the ebony they purchase in the future.

FROM MY COLD, DEAD... uh, yeah, um, ebony?  What ebony?  alarmed-smiley.gif?1292867546

It’s dyed pearwood.  Yeah, that’s it.  Very common on old Italian and French violins.  You knew that, right?  No?  Well, um...  backing-out-smiley.gif?1292867551

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Are you related to the Tar McAdams by any chance?  black stuff and all that¿?

I’ll have to talk to my publicist before I answer that.  

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Thanks for that!

The only real solution is to physically protect them.

Could it be done, is it reasonable?

Maybe a little.

You can watch people walking around from satellites ,, you can track then with gps implants,

but elephants are invisible.

As long as some one has the cash and wants a certain thing,

some one else will be willing to steal it for them to satisfy their lustful selfish cravings,

it cannot be stopped.

The nature of man.

The one that wants,,, and the one that provides,,, has to have one thing in common.

no conscience.

The same in human trafficking, drugs, and weapons of destruction.

and at the other end there are those controllers that believe that squeezing the bystanders a little harder

might help the problem, and as our straight jackets tighten a little tighter,

you still can ship any thing around this country for next to nothing for those that want to hide it,

as the innocent get searched and confiscated.(Gibson still makes me ill, a sign of things to come)

Destroying all of it will not stop the trade, it is a gesture,

The slaughter will go on until they are physically protected,

You have to physically stop things from happening when there is no conscience,

it is the nature of man.

It will take a group effort to accomplish. The larger a problem becomes the more important it is for

cooperation among all parties involved.

Had cooperation started years ago the problem would be much more under control,

People don't get along well enough to deal with reality till there is a disaster.

just the nature of man.

Hundred of millions spent on ridiculously stupid things,, There is enough food to feed all involved parties,

clothes for all, yet people starve on a daily basis, and are hungry and cold, and if you tell the truth

you are often hated for it,,,

or sometimes just ignored,,

also the nature of man.

searching the heavens for signs of intelligent life,,

spending millions,,,

Do YOU think THEY will ever find it.

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Another view:

 

The only thing protecting much of Africa from humans is sleeping sickness, Tsetse flies.

When the cheap cure for sleeping sickness is found, lowland Africa and it's wonderful

ecosystem will be gone, including the elephants. 

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There are too many of us chasing too few resources.

... Which drives the price up, which makes some try to increase supply, which is why elephants are being poached... which is why some policy makers are talking about a U.S. sales ban...

But my understanding is that it's the Asian market that's the main market for poached ivory.

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There are too many of us chasing too few resources.

We,  as a culture seem to have replaced or at the least overvalue resources over resoursefullness, I don't think that banning trade will do much to stop the trade , Consider the underwhelming success of the drug war in the U.S. The "problem" has more to do with extreme poverty, hunters and smugelers are not doing what they do for kicks. If wealthy nations would share ...consider,  the pennies on the dollar aproche the diamond trade has with Africa, simply being fair goes a long way.

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