Trading in endangered species is the fourth largest illegal business in the world, behind drugs, weapons and human trafficking. Stop buying their by products now.
Ever since Homo sapiens evolved and took charge of this small green/blue planet, we have been fascinated and enamored with trinkets and shinny objects. As a result, elephants are slaughtered for their tusks to produce ivory trinkets and jewelry, (a large number of various other species are slaughtered for their fur, skin, and various other body parts).
The African elephant, one of the world’s most majestic animals, is close to extinction. Tens of thousands are killed every year in spite of a world ban on international trade in ivory passed in 1989 by the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The worst and largest slaughter of elephants in one year (after the ban was passed), happened in 2012 with up to 35,000 elephants killed. Since the ivory trade “white gold” is illegal, it attracts some very bad actors. Al-Shabaab (a military wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts and part of al Qaeda based in Africa), finances it’s terror operation and other activities though the poaching of elephants, to the estimated tune of $600,000 a month, and they are but one of several terror groups in this finance game of slaughter of animals for profit.
Senator Rob Portman, Republican from Ohio, is leading the charge and working across the isle to “introduce legislation to authorize proven conservation programs and direct resources to international efforts to dismantle the machinery of illegal poaching.”
A big part of this effort is The Conservation Reform Act, drafted to “streamline and increase the effectiveness of our existing international conservation efforts.”
It is reported that around 35,000 elephants are slaughtered every year for their tusks to supply the ivory trade and produce trinkets and other such vanity items at the cost of elephant and human lives. Researchers warn that at this rate of slaughter, African elephants could be extinct by 2020.
Obviously this mass killing of African elephants for their tusks and the continuation and maintenance of the illegal ivory trade is the direct result of our demand and purchase of the luxury trinkets and vanity goods made from it. In addition to the impending extinction of these majestic animals, this illegal trade also funds terrorist groups and activities that cost human lives and bring misery and destruction to many. The silver lining here is that this is completely up to us and we can stop it by eliminating the demand for these goods. Is there anyone out there that cannot live without an ivory product? Anyone out there that believes that an ivory trinket on their shelf will make their life better? Anyone out there that thinks that killing elephants so we can have trinkets made of their tusks makes sense in any way?
One cannot possibly escape the obvious link between the abuse and slaughter of animals and the abuse and killing of humans (and some are actually directly related, when rangers in parks in Africa and elsewhere are killed to facilitate the killing of the animals they are there to protect). Mahatma Gandhi famously said “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” What does it say about us if we don’t make sure these obscene practices stop and humanity behaves humanely to all living things and each other. Let’s start by not buying these trinkets and support all efforts to fight these practices on national and international levels.