Model Ivory Ban Letter to Washington State Legislators

Subject: OPPOSE [SB 5231 or HB 1131 – as appropriate]

Dear [Senator or Representative – as appropriate]_________________________,

I am writing to respectfully request that you please OPPOSE [SB 5231 or HB 1131], the Ivory Ban Bill just introduced.

I, like all Americans, find the out-of-control poaching of African elephants appalling. Unfortunately, instead of going after poachers, smugglers and traders of illicit ivory, this bill only attacks innocent Washingtonians by passing an absurd Ivory Ban that will not save a single living elephant.

This ban would irreparably harm owners of ivory-handled and fossil ivory-handled knives, many antiques, many musical instruments and any items containing ivory legally imported into this country decades ago by stripping their value – a taking of millions of dollars from law-abiding Washingtonians. The ban would criminalize legitimate business owners and cause immediate ruinous financial loss for them. It will cost the state millions of dollars in lost sales tax revenue and not save a single elephant!

[If you are personally affected by the ban, if you own any ivory or any item with even the smallest amount of ivory, add this section] Even though I have never traded illegal ivory, the proposed ban would punish me by [describe what you own that will be devalued or how your business will be hurt]

Adding insult to injury, the ban goes against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ longstanding position that virtually all ivory in the U.S. was legally imported before elephants were listed as endangered species and its sale in the U.S. has no impact on poaching in Africa.

This bill also includes 10,000-year-old Mammoth Ivory, which just goes to show how absurd it is. Tons of Mammoth Ivory is collected every year by Native Americans in Alaskan along the riverbanks and on the beaches, where the tusks fall out of the banks due to erosion. This Mammoth Ivory is one of their few sources of income. In addition, gold miners find tusks in their pursuit of gold. No archeological sites are disturbed or “robbed.” This natural material becomes exposed by nature and mining and if it is not collected it cracks, deteriorates and crumbles into gravel and soil within a few years and is lost forever. The only way to preserve this precious prehistoric material is to allow it to be collected, bought and sold. It is easily distinguishable from elephant ivory and is legal to ship all over the world.

This outrageous and draconian bill also represents an unconstitutional “taking” of protected private property, violating the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While lawsuits challenging this law, if enacted, wend their way through the courts, untold hundreds or thousands of ivory owners will be arrested and prosecuted under this absurd law.

This bill will not save a single elephant! This is “feel good – do bad” legislation at its worst!

Please do not allow this ill-conceived and economically devastating bill that won’t save a single elephant to become law. Please oppose [SB 5141 or HB 1131].

Thank you for your support,

(Include your name, city, state, and e-mail address if a written letter – If not a Washington State resident, explain how you do business in Washington and would be affected by this bill.)