Target: Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Goal: Protect elephants by banning all ivory sales in one of the nation’s largest markets
The illegal ivory trade claims up to 100 elephants each day. Out of the 350,000 to 500,000 animals estimated to remain, poachers target between 30,000 and 35,000 elephants a year. For the sake of making ivory jewelry and other trinkets, the relentless slaughter of elephants continues. We might even start to see species like the African forest elephant become extinct, says Elizabeth Bennett of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
A legal loophole allows this slaughter to continue. To allow for antiques like piano keys and older works of art, the sale of ivory from elephants killed before 1989, when the ivory trade was outlawed worldwide, is still legal. Yet, ivory tusks can easily be darkened to look older, and even the most expensive radioactive testing fails to detect the time of killing consistently.
The U.S., France, and even China have taken to destroying illegal stockpiles of ivory to warn poachers and ivory traffickers against continuing their violence. Now, the state of New York is debating a prohibition on the ivory trade altogether, according to the New York Times, banning ivory until African elephants receive adequate protections. The logic: penalties for illegal ivory trading are currently minimal, while wildlife state authorities struggle to enforce the existing ban. New York State Assemblyman Robert Sweeney encourages all states to stop issuing permits for trading ivory until we can slow down the killing of the animals.
Flawed laws leave elephants vulnerable to greater slaughter. In the absence of effective legal protections, elephant populations continue to disappear. By banding together, states can send a powerful message that poaching and trafficking these animals just for their tusks will not be tolerated. New York is poised to take the lead on this initiative. Please sign the petition below and help end the slaughter of elephants once and for all.
Dear Mr. Silver,
I am writing to you in regards to the New York State Assembly’s proposed ban on the ivory trade. As you know, the measure would outlaw trade in ivory taken from elephants killed both before and after 1989, when the ivory trade was outlawed worldwide. I encourage you to take leadership in passing the ban and uniting the assembly on this crucial issue.
Home to one of our nation’s largest ivory markets, New York has the opportunity to send a powerful message to poachers and traffickers that slaughtering these majestic animals just for their tusks is unacceptable. The longer we wait to enact this ban, the more elephants we lose for the sake of trinkets and other trifling items. I appeal to you in order to help save a species, and an ecosystem, from extinction. Please use your leadership to stop the merciless killing of these animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons