Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A letter in opposition to the proposed ban on ivory sales. ----- Honorable Representative Curt Clawson: This letter is written in opposition to the proposed ivory ban. Please let me tell you why. My wife and I have been working with Native Americans and Native Alaskans for years, buying and selling their artwork. This a form of subsistence for them and often includes carvings of walrus tusk ivory. They acquire the ivory as a by-product of hunting for food. We are concerned that the recently proposed ban on ivory sales, intended to protect African and Asian elephants, will lead to a similar ban on walrus tusk ivory or, at least, widespread confusion discouraging sale of walrus ivory as well. We could accept those conditions if common sense told us the recently proposed ivory ban will achieve its intended goal. On the contrary, with reports from Africa indicating that an elephant is being killed every 15 minutes. An Ivory ban will do too little, too late to have any significant impact on well-intended efforts to stop the slaughter of elephants by African and Asian poachers. Only direct and immediate action at the source can prevent the possible extinction of the elephant. The proposed ban is an act of “feels good” legislation that does not address the problem. It will, however, have an adverse impact on law-abiding antique dealers, collectors, museums, musicians and others who possess legal older objects containing ivory, not mention Native artists who depend on marine ivory carvings as a source of income and sustenance. What is needed is enforcement of existing anti-poaching laws in the country of origin and preservation of habitat. The United States needs to direct funds and effort at the problem in Africa and Asia. The present U.S. emphasis on an ivory ban will divert media attention and resources from the real problem and will provide the false impression that it will save the elephant. It won’t. Extinction of the elephant could occur within the next 10 years if we do nothing on the ground. The ivory ban will not extend the lifetime of the elephant by a single day, while it penalizes countless thousands of Americans who have done nothing wrong. Please, in the economic and social interest of these potential victims, DO NOT support this ban. Thank you. Sincerely, William Ernest Waites 15194 Harbour Isle Drive Fort Myers, FL 33908