Target: Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre
Goal: End legal wildlife trade and find better ways to assist poor communities
The International Trade Center (ITC) pledged its support of legal wildlife trade the day before World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2014. The ITC, a subsidiary of the World Trade Organization, provides assistance to developing communities in exporting their products. Arancha González, Executive Director of the ITC stated that legal wildlife trade is the answer to helping communities grow, if sustainably managed. What Ms. González does not mention is the malice in killing or maiming those individual animals, nor does she touch on the fact that the exportation of wildlife products rarely benefits poor communities, and instead, benefits the poachers who sell them.
The statements made by the ITC also fail to recognize that the support of wildlife trade is likely to lead to over-exploitation when people realize that a commodity is valuable. Animals dangerously close to extinction cannot realistically be used for trading in a sustainable manner, as their falling numbers are not being stopped. This is a continuation of a downward trend, and will persist until major action is taken.
On top of the immense suffering and unnecessary murder of coveted wildlife is the fact that the economic benefits, which the ITC purports, are simply not as good as they claim. There are far better methods to boost the economies of communities with wildlife exports, such as tourism: what better way to provide a sustainable trade than to export knowledge and experience to tourists without harming animals? The animal population grows, as does the local economy.
Sign this petition to let the ITC know that we will not support legal wildlife trade, and pressure them into finding other ways to help the poor communities that they serve.
Dear Ms. González,
Your recent statements supporting the legal wildlife trade omit important information, and disregard superior methods in assisting the communities you work with. I support your attempts to aid poor communities wholeheartedly, but disagree with your policy on allowing people to trade in the suffering of animals.
In your statements you say that wildlife trade, when sustainably managed, is of great benefit to poor communities. However, you have failed to see that this type of trade rarely benefits communities as a whole, making poachers wealthy at the expense of the people and local wildlife. Concurrently, with endangered species still in rapid decline, you cannot argue for sustainable trade because at current rates, these animals will be extinct — what, then, will people rely on?
Methods such as local eco-tourism are far more sustainable and beneficial. This type of symbiotic relationship is advantageous to both wildlife and people, enabling wildlife populations to rise while bringing in money to the local economy. Any community that trades in wildlife products can equally trade in their protection.
Please consider alternative methods to the unnecessary maiming and killing of beautiful, endangered animals, and instead work with communities to harness the natural wonder of wildlife that could benefit both the animals and communities that the ITC supports.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sokwanele via Flickr