Saturday, June 20, 2015

Burning Ivory

Looking at these two images, what sort of thoughts emerge? Justice for poaching elephants for their ivory tusks? It seems like the right thing to do. Now imagine the perspectives of those who came to possess the ivory in these images. Those who still possess products made of ivory are reaping the reward of diminishing supply, not only because elephants are on the verge of extinction, but because the ivory seized from poachers is being destroyed. Does it now make sense to destroy the stockpiles of ivory seized by poachers?

Elephants are an intelligent and endangered species, I'm not advocating poaching elephants, I'm merely suggesting that storing seized ivory instead of destroying it might actually create a disincentive for poaching because its value will decline as the supply increases.

The futility of this thought exercise is that the value of ivory is so extremely high that it doesn't really matter much what happens to seized ivory. Destroying ivory seized from poachers has more of an emotional reward than an economic reward.

But what about those who own ivory, even passed down through generations? What kind of person would have the gall to continue to keep or display anything made of ivory? Would it even be socially acceptable to say the animal from which it came died of natural causes? Would it even be socially acceptable to display anything that was dead? It seems rational for hunting and fishing of species that are plentiful, at least among others who hunt and fish, but not so much anymore by most people.

It's fast becoming unpopular to capture and display live animals too. Would you seriously imagine yourself comfortably living in a zoo? Imagine what the animals must be experiencing. Some people think the animals don't know the difference, but those people don't understand the size of the animals natural habitat. Zoo animals are suffering.

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