Target: National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre
Goal: Support the new embargo on ivory and the campaign to decrease elephant poaching in Africa and Asia
The National Rifle Association (NRA) asked its members to contact their representatives in Congress and implore them to block a new rule designed to protect elephants from being hunted into extinction. The Obama administration recently announced a ban on the commercial trade of elephant ivory, as part of a new National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The White House placed a total embargo on the import of new items containing ivory, and prohibits its export except in the case of antiques, which refers to items more than one hundred years old. The ban is intended to ensure that U.S. markets do not contribute to the further decline of African and Asian elephants in the wild.
In 2013 alone, an estimated 30,000 elephants were killed for ivory, at a rate of 80 per day.
The NRA views the embargo as an attempt by the Obama administration to ban firearms. Their leadership argues that the ban on products containing ivory renders many firearms and collections valueless. They are specifically concerned about provisions of the ban related to domestic resale of items including ivory. Sales across state lines are prohibited, except for antiques, and sales are prohibited unless the seller can demonstrate an item was lawfully imported prior to 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants.
Demand that the NRA reverse its position on the ivory embargo. Local extinctions of elephants are inevitable if the present killing rates continue, particularly in Central Africa. In addition to this being a wildlife conservation issue, it is also a human rights issue. Ivory is used fund illegal activities such as human trafficking, which includes abducting children and forcing them into sex slavery. Send the NRA a firm message that you deplore their stance on the ivory embargo intended to create a decline in elephant poaching.
Dear Mr. LaPierre,
Every year, tens of thousands of African and Asian elephants are slaughtered for their ivory tusks. The present killing rate will lead to local extinctions, particularly in Central Africa. A recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing focused on elephant poaching worldwide. In 2013 alone an estimated 30,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory, at a rate of 80 per day. That number jumped from 22,000 elephants killed the previous year.
As reported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in September 2013, poachers used cyanide gas to kill over three hundred elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. In Asia, there were over 100,000 elephants at the turn of the twentieth century. That population has declined by approximately fifty percent over the last seventy-five years due to poaching driven by an increasing demand for ivory tusks.
Poaching is also increasingly being viewed as a national security issue for the U.S. Ivory is a commodity used to fund other criminal activities, like human trafficking. The Lord’s Resistance Army in the Congo has been poaching ivory from elephant tusks to fund the group’s activities, which include abducting children and forcing them into sex slavery.
I urge you to support the ban on products containing ivory and the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Please help ensure that U.S. markets do not contribute to the further decline of African and Asian elephants in the wild.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Surreal Name Given via Flickr