25 September 2015

My Comment On Banning Domestic Trade In Ivory

Banning the sale of existing ivory in the US is not going to have one iota of an effect on living elephants in Africa.
To be blunt, the horse is not only already out of the barn, it's past being put out to stud and now resides in a bottle of glue.
Never mind that bans on drugs have done nothing to eliminate them from being commonly available; all a ban will do is make what illicit ivory there is more valuable making it even more lucrative to poach what elephants remain.
A steady, legal, supply of ivory from trophy hunting and safaris ensures the conservation of the animals in the wild and drops the price of ivory well below the level required to make poaching worth the efforts and risks. Additionally, as can be observed where Cecil the lion was killed, now that legal hunting of lions by tourist hunters has been banned, the locals are actively wiping them out. There's nothing in it for them to keep a living apex predator around without the money coming in from hunters.
The same applies to elephants. Elephants are a monstrous burden on the residents of African nations, a burden that is mitigated and eliminated by the profligate spending of hunters willing to wade through the morass of licenses, transport and graft to go on a legal hunt.
Once again the government decides that it must do something and since an outright ban is something it decides it must do that; rather than rationally examining the problem at hand and doing something that would actually be positive for everyone involved except those already profiting from illegal ventures.
A better model to apply to the problem would be that of domestic hunting, there are more deer, ducks and other game in the US now than before Columbus landed. Despite thousands of hunters shooting thousands of deer every year, they are not in any danger of extinction, and in fact my be nearing overpopulation.
Additionally all of this ignores that the primary market for illicit ivory is not the United States at all, but Asia, where this ban will have exactly zero effect.

More here, including links to the rule's text and comment form.


  1. I've commented on this myself on my own LJ. And it appears that rhinos can be raised domesticated (more-or-less) and have their horns removed without harming them, and grow the horn back in a few years. But NO-O-O-O! We can't do THAT! So instead the rhinos lurch toward extinction.

    1. But did you comment on the gov's site? That's the important place to let your opinion be made known.


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