Ivory Trade and Oregon? A Seemingly Unlikely Pairing
Breaking news: Every now and then I read something that surprises me and I have to break the informative narrative that I often stick to. Truth be told, it’s rare these days (being surprised by a piece of breaking news), but this one wasn’t shocking as much as it was…odd and disappointing? Apparently ivory trade interests are a thing in Oregon. It’s no surprise that folks living in Oregon may have business interests outside of the United States, I mean, international business isn’t exactly uncommon and the people involved have to live somewhere, right? What I never thought, prior to today, was that I’d see a public episode depicting a trade that’s supposed to be phasing out of existence due to the animals used to harvest said trade’s principle product having multiple listings on the endagered species list – several are even listed as “critically endagered,” and yet, the trade is given some sort of life support. It’s mind-boggling, really.
Please, don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are all kinds of archaic and/or unethical businesses running and receiving support all over the world. But in a state like Oregon? A top-five rated Democratic state?
What happened? Well, this bill, which would close out a loophole in Oregon regarding the ivory trade within the state itself (importing ivory and rhino horns is already federally illegal, as is selling it across state lines), was shot down by “house leadership.”
Oregon’s Democratic-state-status-irony aside, I’m very familiar with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and their rules, as well as CITES because I’ve spent many years as a volunteer working with exotic animals from highly-illegal venomous snakes that have made their way into the states via illegal importation and breeding projects to big cats like lions & tigers that were purchased and raised by drug dealers and were confiscated upon a big bust or were given up to the sanctuary I volunteered at because they could no longer be handled safely (take a look here for a real mind-blowing fact about how many tigers are illegally-owned in the United States).
If you aren’t irked by this – please take a look at this link from the U.S. Fish & WildlifeService, it contains a very simle chart that systematically breaks down what is and isn’t legal in the United States when it comes to ivory and rhino horn trade. Once you see how the law is already structured (short answer: it’s designed to halt the demand for the stuff and heavily discourage poachers from killing these animals and selling off what they harvest, while allowing people to buy/sell what was already harvested prior to the restrictions being passed in 1976), it becomes very clear that the leadership in Oregon isn’t interested in how they’re getting their product, and that they’re likely knee-deep in a conflict of interest that the public should both know about and be completely outraged by.
Original article & image source: http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2015/06/bill_to_end_ivory_trade_in_ore.html