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FenwickG

TOTAL US IVORY BAN

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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.

Mike,

 

Poachers regardless of their wealth are driven by people who can pay. Take a look at Wall Street: Dishonest traders are not driven by (their) poverty.  ;)

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In the 80s the Kenyan government took all of their recovered tusks (tons of them) and burned them to somehow discourage poaching. All it did was make the living elephants more of a target since the prices went up. More good intentions that have the opposite result than is intended. Hell, even the goddamn terrorists believe they are doing the right thing, as insane as that seems.

i agree with Jerry. I think this is more of a cost cutting maneuver, being sold to the public as a way to discourage ivory sales. If the borders were secure from the elephant ivory trade the tusks would never make it to where the big dealers are getting them to carve up. It's a lot easier to pick on a traveling fiddler with a Pecatte than an organized tusk smuggler I guess.

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Sadly, in most of these issues the matter of whether the solutions will work or only make things worse in unforeseen ways is not going to slow the mob with pitchforks.  And I certainly agree that we as a civilization ought to take these things seriously. But mobs with pitchforks are not usually very sophisticated and discriminating in the "fine tuning" department.

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Mike,

 

Poachers regardless of their wealth are driven by people who can pay. Take a look at Wall Street: Dishonest traders are not driven by (their) poverty.  ;)

yep agreed, greed in general is a major problem the sence of entitlement that come with power,reguarless of how the power is obtained. 

Extreem poverty on the other hand will cause people to do things that they would otherwise rather not do,

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In the 80s the Kenyan government took all of their recovered tusks (tons of them) and burned them to somehow discourage poaching. All it did was make the living elephants more of a target since the prices went up. More good intentions that have the opposite result than is intended. 

 

So do you think that the recent crushing of 6 tons of illegal ivory by the US government was a bad idea?

 

 

i agree with Jerry. I think this is more of a cost cutting maneuver, being sold to the public as a way to discourage ivory sales. If the borders were secure from the elephant ivory trade the tusks would never make it to where the big dealers are getting them to carve up. It's a lot easier to pick on a traveling fiddler with a Pecatte than an organized tusk smuggler I guess.

 

So are you suggesting increased enforcement at the borders in the answer?

 

It’s been estimated that the 6 tons of illegal ivory that has been seized by the US government since the 1989 ban represents 10% of all the illegal ivory that has entered the US. If the US government doubled the number of enforcement agents and inspections then presumably they might still only be catching 20% of the illegal ivory coming into the country. That doesn't sound like much of a solution to me and will only mean more disruption for traveling fiddlers.

 

Then there’s the question of the remaining 54 tons of illegal ivory that has made its way into the US since the ban. No doubt much of this has now become “pre-ban” ivory and continues to fuel the trade of elephant ivory, of which the US has the second largest market in the world.

 

Perhaps I'm wrong, but if we could work to minimize the status symbol of ivory that might go a long way to reducing consumer demand, which is the only thing driving elephants to extinction.

 

*All said in the friendliest debating tone possible. I’m not carrying a pitch fork :)

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So do you think that the recent crushing of 6 tons of illegal ivory by the US government was a bad idea?

 

Maybe. What about selling it instead (which would probably suppress the price and make poaching less profitable), and put the proceeds toward better enforcement of the existing laws? 

 

Crushing sounds more like an act of drama, than a responsible use of resources.

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Destroying this ivory will signal to the world our unflagging resolve as a nation to halt the slaughter of elephants and other imperiled wildlife, and encourage other nations to do the same.

 

It will show the world that our nation will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens to wipe out any species.

 

Some argue that the seized ivory should be sold to alleviate the demand for ivory.

 

Decades of experience shows that allowing ivory to enter legal trade only makes enforcement harder, by giving traffickers ways to disguise sources of poached ivory.

 

It also fuels demand, maintaining the perception that ivory is a status symbol, rather than an emblem of greed and callous indifference to life.

 

-Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

 

From his blog post:

http://www.fws.gov/director/dan-ashe/index.cfm/2013/11/14/Being-Faithful-to-the-Elephant

 

 

To me the notion of selling ivory to fund better enforcement seems as absurd as if the DEA were to sell its confiscated drugs to further fund the DEA.

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... and the DEA has such a good track record.   :)

 

The destruction (crushing) of illegal Ivory seems barbaric to me.  I think your post and Mr. Ashes quote acknowledges the drama of it.  

 

In the past, in my discussions with F,G & W (back when I had an import license for endangered species), they indicated their commitment to using confiscated goods for educational and research purposes.  This is a departure from that policy.

 

I am understanding of the problem, but I am not supportive of the method...and am unconvinced of it's effectiveness.

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In the past, in my discussions with F,G & W (back when I had an import license for endangered species), they indicated their commitment to using confiscated goods for educational and research purposes.  This is a departure from that policy.

 
"...the Service will retain small amounts of ivory for use in conservation outreach and education as well as ivory needed for investigative and forensic purposes and for training our wildlife law enforcement officers, our wildlife detector dogs, and officers with our partner agencies."
 

 

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To me the notion of selling ivory to fund better enforcement seems as absurd as if the DEA were to sell its confiscated drugs to further fund the DEA.

 

Hmmm, kind of an odd comparison. What is the human death rate from ivory overdose?

 

How many "family units" fail in association with ivory addiction?

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I think it has been well documented that members of the DEA have sold confiscated drugs to further fund members of the DEA.

Has taking the "allure" of drugs done anything to lessen it use?  Has more draconian law making?

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OK here we go

 

 "So are you suggesting increased enforcement at the borders in the answer"?

 

I was actually talking about the Kenyan border,  where the live elephants actually come from. By the time the US border people get the contraband the elephants are long gone. I would actually like to see the remaining wild elephant herds thrive, and that is not going to happen regardless of what they do or don't do at the US border. 

The various estimates that you site-- the estimate of 54 tons of ivory coming into the States: who is doing the estimating and how could they possible know these figures? This figure appears to be based on 6 tons of confiscated items. If it is post 1989 it is, by definition, illegally imported regardless of when the animal was killed. It does sound startling to think of 54 tons of tusks from elephants killed since 1989 coming in to the US to supply the booming ivory knick-nack manufacturing business.  Is that what you are implying? You seem to think that the allure of using ivory can be mitigated by passing laws and crushing antiques.  If it is even harder to get than it is now do you really think hunters will stop selling tusks?  There is so much old ivory floating around you could burn that amount and not destroy something that wasn't made 50 years ago.  Lots of antiques were made from ivory. English gentlemen used Holtzaphel lathes to turn ivory decorative art as a hobby.  It used to be used like plastic before there was plastic. The idea that elephants and walruses and narwhales needed help to stay in existence is a relatively new phenomenon in history. There is still much of this art around. Do I think that crushing it will stop ridiculously poor Africans or ridiculously inspired terrorists from killing elephants? Don't be silly.  It might make some feel better about being helpless in the face of the loss of what is left of the wild places of the Earth but as long as tusks are able to be shipped out of Africa, it will be worth the effort for subsistence hunters. I would think that information on how much per tusk a poacher can realize is a more import figure in real terms than how much ivory is confiscated at US borders.  We work pretty hard out here to stop the USFS from cutting the last of the old growth but I don't expect some out of work logger to agree with me. He may not walk in the woods for any other reason than to cut down trees. My house is made from old growth timber. should I have it crushed and rebuilt with particle board?  

I would take the proceeds from all that crushed and burned ivory and pay some guards to protect what is left of the wild elephant herds like David suggested.  I'll bet 6 tons of ivory $100 a pound could save quite a few elephants. How about paying some group for every elephant that isn't killed. That might stop the poaching and save the animals in places where live elephants actually run around. You say that the US is the second largest market. Sounds bad, but what percent is going to China? I'd like to know that figure.  What are they doing to prevent the biz?  If the US stopped all items made from recently killed elephant tusks from entering, would that do anything at all to help elephants in reality?  

 

I repeat again, I don't use elephant ivory and haven't for many years. Do I think that taking the nut and saddle off my Martin and crushing it, is going to make me regret using it in the first place when I was young and clueless? Is it going to do anybody any good including any living elephant? No way.

 

I make pernambuco fittings. It comes to me from my friends the bow makers who didn't want the end cuts from the lumber, and the pieces that cant be made into bows, wasted. Should they have burned it so as not to encourage the use of a dwindling resource? Some would say yes, I'm not one of them. I'm not willing to stop using mastodon either, any more than you should have to stop using boxwood collars on your pegs because some myopic character might confuse them with ivory. Are you, by your logic, promoting killing elephants because they looked like they could be ivory in the photo on you site ? Till someone actually sees them and identifies your peg collars as wood they are just unnecessary ivory-like adornments which could have just as easily been made of plastic or ebony. Oh wait, all ebonies will soon be illegal too, because one can't be sure if it comes from Madagascar or not.

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Daryl,

Are you In favor of banning the import and sale of all ivory regardless of age or species?

 

No.

 

Hmmm, kind of an odd comparison. What is the human death rate from ivory overdose?

 

How many "family units" fail in association with ivory addiction?

 

It’s well documented that there are criminal organizations linked to terrorism that traffic ivory. I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to think that this ivory might have more than just elephant blood on it.

 

Nevertheless, the notion of a government agency funding the enforcement of an illegal substance by selling that same illegal substance still seems absurd to me.

 

The various estimates that you site-- the estimate of 54 tons of ivory coming into the States: who is doing the estimating and how could they possible know these figures? This figure appears to be based on 6 tons of confiscated items. If it is post 1989 it is, by definition, illegally imported regardless of when the animal was killed. It does sound startling to think of 54 tons of tusks from elephants killed since 1989 coming in to the US to supply the booming ivory knick-nack manufacturing business.  Is that what you are implying? 

 

I don’t know how the estimating was done. The fact remains that the US has collected 6 tons of illegal ivory since the ban. They, not me, estimated that this accounts for 10% of the trade. Perhaps its really 90%, who knows. Surely we could agree that it's not likely they're catching all of it. What happens to the ivory that gets into the US? I don't know, but I suspect that much of it becomes "pre-ban" ivory and enters the legal market. 

 

Frankly speaking, we'll just have to agree to disagree on the rest. Cheers,

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In the violin world there really is no need to use either ivory or pernambuco or tortoise shell or Madagascan ebony or any endangered species. There are alternatives for them all. If we really want our children and grandchildren to enjoy a healthy world, then we need to stop pontificating and arguing and just do it, before it really is too late; if it isn't already. Happy Christmas everyone.

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In the violin world there really is no need to use either ivory or pernambuco or tortoise shell or Madagascan ebony or any endangered species. There are alternatives for them all. If we really want our children and grandchildren to enjoy a healthy world, then we need to stop pontificating and arguing and just do it, before it really is too late; if it isn't already. 

Roger, would you consider taking this a step further by making this simple statement in the Strad Magazine. I´m sure the Strad would be happy to support this worthy cause by donating a full page with your statement above along with signatures of support from other respected makers and musicians promoting the use of legal alternatives to ivory so as to protect what little reamians of the worlds elephant population. 

 

Brian

 

PS,  I found this video very informative 

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Roger, would you consider taking this a step further by making this simple statement in the Strad Magazine. I´m sure the Strad would be happy to support this worthy cause by donating a full page with your statement above along with signatures of support from other respected makers and musicians promoting the use of legal alternatives to ivory so as to protect what little reamians of the worlds elephant population.

Brian

Mastodon, mammoth, and pre ban ivory ARE legal alternatives to elephant ivory. NO ONE HERE IS AGAINST PROTECTING THE WORLDS ELEPHANT POPULATION.

This is about whether or not the bureaucrats in Washington should be able to ban these alternatives because discerning between them and elephant ivory is too much trouble.

Jerry

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NO ONE HERE IS AGAINST PROTECTING THE WORLDS ELEPHANT POPULATION.

Jerry

No need to shout Jerry, it's not going to help the situation. Who said anyone here is against protecting the worlds elephant population? I certainly didn't.

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No need to shout Jerry, it's not going to help the situation. Who said anyone here is against protecting the worlds elephant population? I certainly didn't.

Of course, I am not shouting, and this is not aimed at you. This argument seems to have moved to protecting elephants instead of the real issue, bureaucratic laziness.

In fact I think you are right, an article about exactly that would be a good idea. Much like what was done with pernambuco, violin and bow makers coming out in support of endangered species by stating some of the rather elegant alternatives and conservation efforts by the trade.

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This is about whether or not the bureaucrats in Washington should be able to ban these alternatives because discerning between them and elephant ivory is too much trouble.

Jerry

My thinking is it's an impossible task for any government to try discern between the alternatives you mention and elephant ivory. You can see in the video above whats involved just to check one small artifact.

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I also notice that the old timers, who bought their stocks of materials when it wasn't customary for suppliers to document origins and species, are in more of a bind. I mean do we really know where all our ebony came from?  It was black, it had few pores, it was reasonably priced -- we bought it so we could work. It was hard to find so we snapped it up when we could.

The wood that we didn't use, the Brazilian rosewood the pernambuco bow sticks the boards of ebony, all you can do is take some photos of them swear up and down that you have had them for thirty years and hope you can get your money back. They are beautiful precious materials that we all treasure, destroying them is not right, and perhaps selling them will become either a bureaucratic nightmare or illegal. Not all bow makers can switch their production to carbon fiber and snakewood isn't right for all bows. Who knows how much of that is available and for how long. Same with ipe.

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“Established custom is not easily broken, till some great event shakes the whole system of things, and life seems to recommence upon new principles.”

Dr. Johnson, 1773.

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