Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Legislation to Sanction Countries Involved in the Illegal Ivory Trade

A herd of elephants

It has recently been reported that a new legislation introduced by Oregon representative Peter DeFazio would enforce sanctions on countries that expedite the illegal ivory trade. The White House National Security Council indicated that elephant ivory donates between $7 billion and $10 billion per year to the illegal wildlife trade and finances organized crime and terrorist syndicates. These organizations include Al-Shabaab, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), and Janjaweed. The legislation, titled Targeted Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants in their Range (TUSKER) Act, was named in honor of a large tusker named Satao who was recently slaughtered by poachers in Kenya. It  highlighted major points such as the death toll of elephants massacred for their tusks in 2013, the number of park rangers killed while trying to protect endangered wildlife, and how the ivory trade funds sadistic terrorist groups that threaten local stability in Africa and national security in the U.S. In addition, the legislation indicated an explicit warning that any country allowing the ivory trade would face trade sanctions. It is also supported by numerous international wildlife and conservation groups such as Born Free, Humane Society International (HSI), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). According to IFAW's Regional Director of North America Jeff Flocken, the legislation is an "important step toward ending senseless violence and making the world safer for people and animals."

The illegal ivory trade has been gaining a great deal of international attention not just from wildlife and conservation groups, but politicians as well. Among these politicians is Representative Peter DeFazio, who has introduced a legislation asserting to take a tough stand against this ongoing illicit trade that has claimed as many as 40,000 elephants in Africa. This legislation not only highlights how the ivory trade has been killing elephants, but also how it is financing international terrorist organizations like Al-Shabaab, LRA, and Janjaweed to conduct their bloodthirsty activities that involve taking of human lives. Al-Shabaab was known for carrying out a horrific terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi last year. These facts indicate that the ivory trade is a global catastrophe that is claiming both human and animal lives, and therefore needs to be eradicated by any means necessary. Furthermore, the legislation introduced by Representative DeFazio warns that any country that permits the ivory trade would face trade sanctions. In other words, those countries that have been found to allow ivory trade in their towns and cities would be banned from trading their local goods with other countries.

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