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Elly Pepper’s Blog

Only One Week Left for NY to Pass Ivory Ban

Elly Pepper

Posted June 11, 2014

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With the New York state legislature’s session wrapping up next Thursday, June 19 – time is running out to pass a bill that finally would put an end to the state’s ivory trade. With more than 80% of New York voters supporting the move, along with many others throughout the country, we are urging our leaders in both houses to heed their call.

More than 30,000 endangered elephants were poached in Africa for their tusks last year, and 2014 is slated to be even worse. Therefore, everyone must do their part if we hope to bring an end to this crisis. And while that may seem like a world away, New York is actually home to the largest ivory market in the United States, so reducing demand here can have a significant impact. Additionally, the state has the opportunity to be the first in the country to pass a law like this, paving the way for the rest of the nation to follow and further drive down the U.S. ivory market, which is second only to China.

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                                                         (C) Jay Tansey

It might come as a surprise to some that the U.S. ivory market is still alive and thriving since newer ivory is illegal in the U.S. However, sales of older ivory products are still allowed. Unfortunately, that is very difficult to enforce since it’s almost impossible to determine the age of ivory. This has provided a loophole for traffickers to sneak new products onto shelves under the guise of “antiques.” To make a dent in the market and end the slaughter of these majestic creatures, that loophole must be closed.

Bills are pending in both the state Senate (S 7194) and Assembly (A 8824a) that would do just that. And both have until the end of the session next week to be brought up for a vote. If passed, they will do two very important things:

First, legislation would ban the vast majority of antique ivory sales, including the types of items wildlife traffickers are selling most commonly in New York – those made entirely or almost entirely of ivory like figurines and netsuke.  This piece is critical to address the abuse of existing age limits.

Second, legislation would increase penalties for those who violate New York’s wildlife trade laws. That’s something that law enforcement at both the state and federal level also support. As I’ve written before in more detail, current New York law fails to differentiate between penalties for those who sell illegal wildlife worth $1,500 and those who sell illegal wildlife worth $2 million, which means the penalty is the same whether you sell, say, two boxes of carved ivory representing two poached elephants or over 70 boxes of ivory representing 100 poached elephants. Especially given the fact that wildlife traffickers reap huge sums from their sales – for example elephant ivory sells for over $1,500 per pound – this penalty scheme doesn’t do anything to deter wildlife traffickers. This bill changes that.  

To end its role in ivory poaching, New York needs to place limits on the types of ivory being sold that actually mean something and it needs to make it more risky than profitable for wildlife traffickers to engage in crimes that are destroying our globe’s species. These bills would do that. So what are our leaders waiting for?


Tell your New York state representative to pass ivory legislation here. 

And tell your New York state senator to do the same here.

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Alan MissenJun 11 2014 02:35 PM

We have to stop the trade of ivory unless we want to watch the extinction of elephants.

Amy V.Jun 11 2014 02:41 PM

Please join in the fight to stop ivory trade - elephants are one of the earth's most amazing animal families.

Elizabeth DillJun 11 2014 02:58 PM

Stop ALL Ivory trading. May Mother Nature's animals live wild and free the way they ARE meant to live.

Carol HillsonJun 11 2014 03:15 PM

Please outlaw ivory in NY. We must protect the few elephants that remain.

Christine cyriacksJun 11 2014 03:31 PM


Paulette WilliamsJun 11 2014 03:33 PM

WTF, NY....really!! You don't tax us enough you have to make money off of ivory!! I live in this state because I it is where I grew up, I love the scenery and the different things this state has to offer....BUT the crap you people pull really makes me want to move, just like many other people I know!!! Your hands are in sooo many other things why the poor elephants??????

Brian SpencerJun 11 2014 04:29 PM

C'mon! Let's do this!!! Be on the right side.

Linda MoranJun 11 2014 06:12 PM

Please stop the ivory trading!

Meriem haywardJun 11 2014 06:39 PM

Signed !!!stop animal suffering

Nancy WilliamsJun 11 2014 09:14 PM

Please, please, please do all you can to make trade in ivory illegal with severe penalties for those poaching it or involved in black market transactions. Elephant populations are finally rebounding in areas where they have been protected and poachers severely punished. Countries overseas are burning ivory to shut down the market and put the poachers out of business. And yet NY is still allowing trade in ivory? Where do they think it comes from? You can't grow it, you can only cut the head off an elephant, leaving its children without a mother and the herd without a valuable member. These are very intelligent animals. Please protect them. Please end all trade in ivory and set severe penalties for those caught with it. DO THE RIGHT THING!!

Gail LindenJun 12 2014 12:11 AM

Please save these beautiful creatures.

Sandy LolleyJun 12 2014 03:51 AM

Please outlaw ivory in NY, protect the elephants from slaughter.

Monica AlonsoJun 12 2014 10:52 AM

Please outlaw ivory in NY. These beautiful animals need to be saved!

Joni BardinJun 12 2014 11:25 AM

Please put an end to to this despicable behavior. It is wrong. Thank you.

Andrea ReitmanJun 13 2014 06:52 PM

Please ban ivory!!! There are SO many options that are harmless...

Carolee LapeyreJun 14 2014 04:03 PM

Ivory trade must END!!!

Helen PrinceJun 14 2014 09:22 PM

Please ban the import of Ivory. By doing so you will actually help keep Elephants from being killed by Poachers.

Sue D'OnofrioJun 14 2014 10:49 PM

This IS the 21st century....elephant poaching SHOULD be a thing of the past, but it is NOT. We are better than this. If enough of us say "NO" to this horror it WILL become a thing of the past. PLEASE ban the importation of ivory NOW!

valerie skillingJun 15 2014 11:53 AM

how can anyone be ignorant of the pain this horrible ivory trade causes, ripping elephant family life apart. These animals know more about family loyalty than any human. Make ivory worthless and we'll save these fantastic animals from poaching

MaryJun 15 2014 10:06 PM


Anna ShawJun 16 2014 04:00 AM

Whether it be slaughtering elephants for ivory, whales for "scientific research," cutting off shark fins for soup, or chopping down the rainforests for Palm oil , we have a responsibility to care for these animals and the environment not only for our own heritage, but also as a balance for life that must be sustained.
I believe how we look after our own families, the animals we share our lives with, and the environment we live in, affects every single one us, and it is up to us all change our expectations and live within the means of the earth.

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