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Usa - Total Ivory Ban Proposal

#1 User is offline   Kyle Royer 

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:45 AM

Here is some info you all might want to see that I just found out about from some fellow knifemakers over on BladeForums.


"The Knifemakers Guild's Facebook page has a couple of post about a Presidential Advisory Committee that is going to recommend a total ban on all Ivory. There's no distinction between Mammoth, ancient Walrus or antique Ivory. If you like Ivory on your knives you might want to send an email to the address given in the Guild's post."



"Here's the text from the Guild facebook posts mentioned above.

From yesterday: "Ivory in danger. A Presidential Advisory Committee met in Washington today where many are calling for a total ban on all ivory sales within the US borders making no distinction in fossil, mammoth antique or even what species. Several groups including Natural Resources Defense Council and World Wildlife Fund are standing behind this effort. The 6 tons of ivory crushed November 14, 2013 by the US Fish and Wildlife Department got this ball rolling."

From today: "Ivory Ban - The Presidential Advisory Committee that met 12/16/13 does plan to recommend a total ban of ivory within the US to the task force on Wildlife Trafficking. If you want to oppose that action please email ACWT@FWS.GOV before December 28th when they file their report."

Send an email!"



This will affect custom knives as many of us know them were this to go through.
Kyle Royer, Master Smith
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#2 User is offline   BrionTomberlin 

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 07:29 PM

Thank you Kyle. I had seen this yesterday and it is not a good thing. So yes send the e-mail. Remember to keep it professional and state facts clearly.
Brion
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#3 User is offline   Larry Fuegen 

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 06:57 AM

I just pulled this from another forum. I hope the ABS board will also send a response. It may carry a little more weight since it represents the entire group.

David Warther (pre-ban ivory dealer and carver)...

Ivory Ban - The Presidential Advisory Committee that met 12/16/13 does plan to recommend a total ban on ivory sales, within the US, to the task force on Wildlife Trafficking. If you want to oppose that action please email ACWT@FWS.GOV before December 28th when they file their report. I have attached a letter you can use but feel free to change it as may fit your interests and work.

This is not a ban on new ivory but rather a ban on the sale of ALL ivory that is in any form. This includes pre-ban and antique ivory in musical instruments, knives, guns, cues, etc. and will make Grandma's piano illegal to sell if it has ivory keys. This sounds ludicrous but it is true. If this passes then it will take the form of a bill that will be set before Congress in 2014.

Presently this ban on the sale of ivory is to include fossil mammoth ivory as well as pre-ban and antique elephant ivory.

Please forward this information to everyone you think may want to voice their opposition to this type of government control.

Sincerely,

David Warther
2561 Crestview Dr. NW
Dover, Ohio 44622
http://www.guitarpartsandmore.com/

============================================================

ATTACHMENT...

Dear Advisory Committee,

I stand against a total ban of all ivory sales in the US.

As called for in the Presidential Executive Order I ask that the recommendations continue to allow for "legal and legitimate commerce.”

The ivory market in the US is stable and /or declining, and the seizure records indicate that a high proportion of the seizures made were personal effects lacking the correct paperwork, not the “blood tusks” spoken about in the media. The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) analysis indicated that the amount of ivory (by weight) seized annually has not increased in recent years. WE are not the consumers of the poached ivory. Therefore banning ivory sales within the US will do nothing to save the remaining world population of elephants.

CITES MIKE report (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) September 2013 report, page 64 analysis states "Africa's elephant populations are managed sustainably" and that in 2013 the quota for permits for legal elephants was 1350 animals. There is legal trade that can be monitored with DNA testing and permitting. Enforcing and policing a ban would use funds that should be used to support the ban on imports already in effect.

I fully support the CITES rules, closing international borders to elephant ivory trade, a law already in effect that should be fully supported and enforced. I stand against a total ban of all ivory commerce within our United States borders, a decision that would be an enforcement nightmare. Like prohibition it will cause a new wave of illicit commerce where a legitimate one now exists. Museums, antique dealers, collectors, artisans and individual citizens have invested in a legal and valuable material. Sanctioned trade in ivory that is legal (culled and pre-ban) and comes from unthreatened sources (mammoth, boar, warthog, antique and recycled products) can pose no possible threat to elephant herds in the wild.

I believe our mutual goals are the same and a solution can be reached. Please keep the focus where it belongs. To increase the elephant population the killing must be stopped in Africa and at its borders.

Respectfully Submitted,
Larry Fuegen
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#4 User is offline   Dan Cassidy 

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 08:43 AM

Larry

As soon as I saw the first post on this topic by Kyle Royer I started to do some research on this issue to get more of the facts. I located an article in the Washington Post which provides some additional background and I have attached a link to the October 27, 2013 article at, Click: Washington Post Article

I just sent an email this morning to ABS Chairman Joe Keeslar with your recommendation for action by the ABS Board of Directors.
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#5 User is offline   Kyle Royer 

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 09:33 AM

We need to get everyone we can to send the attachment in Larry Fuegen's post as quickly as possible.
Kyle Royer, Master Smith
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#6 User is offline   Bruce Bingenheimer 

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 06:55 AM

Send to you respective senators and congressman as well. Should this get past committee it will go before congress as a bill for vote in 2014.


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#7 User is offline   Michael_Baker 

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 02:17 PM

I've got a friend that works for Texas Rep Joe Barton. He is going to forward it to his legislative people. He said it sounds like something that the congressman would be on our side with. Get the news out!
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#8 User is offline   Terry L. Vandeventer 

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 03:37 PM

The CKCA has a letter that can be cut and pasted and sent directly to the advisory committee. Everyone should do this and if you wish, you can change it or add your own comments.
Terry Vandeventer
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#9 User is offline   Dan Cassidy 

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 03:56 PM

This is a copy of the text from the CKCA email that Terry Vandeventer is referring to:

(CKCA Email today)

Total Ivory Ban

Ivory Ban - The Presidential Advisory Committee that met 12/16/13 does plan to recommend a total ban on ivory sales, within the US, to the task force on Wildlife Trafficking.

This will effect collectors, makers and anyone that sells within or to the USA. This will effect both US Makers and to International Makers that ship and/or sell to the USA.

If you want to oppose that action please email ACWT@FWS.GOV before December 28th when they file their report. I have included a letter you can use but feel free to change it as may fit your interests and work.

This is not a ban on new ivory but rather a ban on the sale of ALL ivory that is in any form. This includes pre-ban and antique ivory in musical instruments, knives, guns, cues, etc. and will make Grandma's piano illegal to sell if it has ivory keys. This sounds ludicrous but it is true. If this passes then it will take the form of a bill that will be set before Congress in 2014.

Presently this ban on the sale of ivory is to include fossil mammoth ivory as well as pre-ban and antique elephant ivory.

Please forward this information to everyone you think may want to voice their opposition to this type of government control.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Please copy and paste the below into an email and have everyone you know to do the same.


Dear Advisory Committee,

I stand against a total ban of all ivory sales in the US.

As called for in the Presidential Executive Order I ask that the recommendations continue to allow for "legal and legitimate commerce".
The ivory market in the US is stable and /or declining, and the seizure records indicate that a high proportion of the seizures made were personal effects lacking the correct paperwork, not the "blood tusks " spoken about in the media. The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) analysis indicated that the amount of ivory (by weight) seized annually has not increased in recent years. WE are not the consumers of the poached ivory. Therefore banning ivory sales within the US will do nothing to save the remaining world population of elephants.

CITES MIKE report (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) September 2013 report, page 64 analysis states "Africa's elephant populations are managed sustainably" and that in 2013 the quota for permits for legal elephants was 1350 animals. There is legal trade that can be monitored with DNA testing and permitting. Enforcing and policing a ban would use funds that should be used to support the ban on imports already in effect.

I fully support the CITES rules, closing international borders to elephant ivory trade, a law already in effect that should be fully supported and enforced. I stand against a total ban of all ivory commerce within our United States borders, a decision that would be an enforcement nightmare. Like prohibition it will cause a new wave of illicit commerce where a legitimate one now exists. Museums, antique dealers, collectors, artisans and individual citizens have invested in a legal and valuable material. Sanctioned trade in ivory that is legal (culled and pre-ban) and comes from unthreatened sources (mammoth, boar, warthog, antique and recycled products) can pose no possible threat to elephant herds in the wild.

I believe our mutual goals are the same and a solution can be reached. Please keep the focus where it belongs. To increase the elephant population the killing must be stopped in Africa and at its borders.

Respectfully Submitted,
(your name here)

We need to get as many people as possible to send out this attachment in an e-mail to ACWT@FWS.GOV before December 28th if we want to keep the use of fossil walrus, mammoth and pre-ban ivory. (End of CKCA Email)
Dan Cassidy
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#10 User is offline   Terry L. Vandeventer 

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 01:43 PM

Has anybody heard anything yet? There doesn't seem to be much excitement about this among smiths and collectors. How many of you have sent your letters to the Advisory Committee? We have to be realistic about this. Elephant ivory is lost. That's just a fact. But ancient ivories must not be banned. I'm sitting on $10,000 worth of mammoth ivory. Other makers pretty much use nothing but ancient ivories and maintain much larger stockpiles. My clients want premium Sambar Stag, Wooly Mammoth (Mastadon), and ancient Walrus. NONE of my clients want anything else, especially wood or Giraffe bone. If these ancient ivories are banned, we will see the art of bladesmithing take a nose-dive. High-end collectors will stop collecting. The after-market will be nonexistent for all ivory-handled pieces, and they will not be able to sell their valuable collections. Suppliers of ancient ivories will become bankrupt and unable to liquidate their inventories.

This is bad, people! Surly some members who are more savvy about the ins and outs of government procedures could address the possibility of litigation to free up these old ivories if they end up being included in the ban. If every member who routinely uses mammoth and old walrus donates $300 to $500 (the cost of a couple sets of scales), along with contributions by the major knife organizations (ABS, CKCA, Knifemaker's Guild, regional knife clubs & associations, the suppliers themselves, AKI, individual collectors of high-end knives, etc., we might be able to challenge this irresponsible proposal.

Thanks for letting me vent. Please, if anybody hears any news or has any suggestions, please post it here. AND, spread the word! At this point, most of the collectors and makers I spoken with have been completely unaware of the impending situation.

Terry L. Vandeventer
ABS MS
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#11 User is offline   Larry Fuegen 

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 07:11 PM

I sent this info to a collector who has some connection to major art and antique collectors in the NYC area. He was going to check with them but the holiday season may have made that difficult. He pointed out that the knife and gun part of this doesn't even compare to the dollars tied up in other collectables that have ivory as part of their materials. It's unfortunate that these committees are made up of people who have an agenda and only care about their agenda or they rely on experts to help them make their decisions or recommendations. In this case it looks like animal rights groups get to have the input. If this does lead to a bill hopefully rational minds will prevail and a make a distinction between new and old elephant ivory and protect ancient ivory from any type of ban but we all need to pay attention and contact our customers and leaders in Washington.

As far as other materials for handles there are some VERY HIGH END knives with no ivory being sold. As makers our only limitation is how we use the materials we have access to no matter if it is natural or man-made. Collectors will collect if we offer them work that is exciting and innovative.

If my friend can find out anything I'll pass it along.
Larry Fuegen
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#12 User is offline   Scott Maccaughtry 

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 02:20 PM

I just saw a petition circulating on facebook by the Wildlife Conservation Society in favor of the ban.
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#13 User is offline   Larry Fuegen 

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 06:38 PM

Recent update http://www.latimes.c...get=adv_article

http://www.washingto...f5fb_story.html
Larry Fuegen
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#14 User is offline   Dale Huckabee 

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 07:40 AM

I couldn't tell, by the article, if the ban is in effect immediately or will start later.

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#15 User is offline   Larry Fuegen 

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 08:09 AM

Not sure when this takes effect or if there will be time for public comment. I think there are still unanswered questions about how a person can document the age of the ivory on a piece. There have been a lot of things made in the last 20 years with elephant ivory and no documents were provided or they have been lost when the pieces changed hands. I'm glad I never used any elephant ivory on any of my knives but that sure doesn't help the collectors who have a lot of ivory in their collections.
Larry Fuegen
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#16 User is offline   Dan Cassidy 

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 08:26 AM

I saw the comments and questions by Larry and Dale and did some research. I located a press release by the U.S. Department of the Interior dated 2/11/2014 and it appears that the government is preparing to issue a set administrative rules on these issues. The press release can be found at, click: press release dated 2/11/2014.

The entire press release should be read but this is a summary of the proposed administrative rules that are being prepared:


“The U.S. market is contributing to the crisis now threatening the African elephant,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The largely unregulated domestic trade in elephant ivory has served as a loophole that gives cover for illegal trade. Through a series of administrative actions, we can establish a commercial ivory ban and provide the urgently needed protections for elephants and rhinos that will help counteract the unparalleled threats facing two of the world’s most treasured species.”

-Prohibit Commercial Import of African Elephant Ivory: All commercial imports of African elephant ivory, including antiques, will be prohibited.

-Prohibit Commercial Export of Elephant Ivory: All commercial exports will be prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, certain noncommercial items, and in exceptional circumstances permitted under the Endangered Species Act.

-Significantly Restrict Domestic Resale of Elephant Ivory: We will finalize a proposed rule that will reaffirm and clarify that sales across state lines are prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, and will prohibit sales within a state unless the seller can demonstrate an item was lawfully imported prior to 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants, or under an exemption document.

-Clarify the Definition of “Antique”: To qualify as an antique, an item must be more than 100 years old and meet other requirements under the Endangered Species Act. The onus will now fall on the importer, exporter, or seller to demonstrate that an item meets these criteria.

-Restore Endangered Species Act Protection for African Elephants: We will revoke a previous Fish and Wildlife Service special rule that had relaxed Endangered Species Act restrictions on African elephant ivory trade.

-Support Limited Sport-hunting of African Elephants: We will limit the number of African elephant sport-hunted trophies that an individual can import to two per hunter per year.
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#17 User is offline   Dale Huckabee 

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 09:05 AM

I normally don't use ivory, but I have an order for an ivory handled knife. I already have the ivory and am wondering if I will be able to fill the order or if I'll be stuck with it.

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#18 User is offline   Javan Dempsey 

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 04:28 PM

Dale, I'd say make and ship the piece before any changes take effect and make sure you've got documentation on the ivory itself.


I never used elephant ivory myself, and I'm glad, I didn't personally feel comfortable with the questionable sources of even pre-ban ivory, and the situation always seemed tenuous to me. I'm sure this will affect some makers much more than others, and collectors especially bad that had hopes of reselling.



I wouldn't be surprised to see this situation changing a lot over the next decade however, if it becomes more contentious and public. This seems to be running pretty below the radar at the moment, and will affect many more people than knifemakers and collectors.
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#19 User is offline   Kevin R. Cashen 

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 06:32 AM

Initial discussion on this topic indicated that the ban would affect all ivory, mammoth, mastodon, and walrus. But what I am reading in this most recent documentation is a focus specifically on elephant ivory. I realize that any law can be abused by "interpretation" by overzealous enforcement, but as the law is written are non-elephant ivories affected?
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#20 User is offline   Dan Cassidy 

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:09 AM

Kevin

It appears that the U.S. Fish and and Wildlife Service is in the process of drafting a series of administrative regulations that they will be enforcing.

I went to their website this morning and found the series of questions and answers below about the proposed administrative regulations which appear to address elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. I will try to obtain a copy of the final administrative regulations after they have been promulgated.



Q: The national strategy calls for additional restrictions on commercial elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn trade in the U.S. What commercial trade will be prohibited?

A: Nearly all commercial trade will be prohibited. Over the next few months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will undertake a series of administrative actions to stop virtually all commercial trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn in the United States.

All commercial imports of African elephant ivory will be prohibited.

Commercial imports of Asian elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn, and all elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn exports will be prohibited, except a small and very strictly defined class of documented antiques. The seller and buyer must be able to provide proof that it meets all legal requirements.

Domestic commerce will be prohibited, except (1) a small and very strictly defined class of documented antiques; and (2) in intrastate commerce only (i.e., not across state lines), items documented as legally imported prior to 1990 for African elephants, 1975 for Asian elephants, 1977 for black rhinoceros and 1975 for any other


Q: What commerce will be legal?

A: A strictly defined and narrow class of documented antiques will be legal. The seller and buyer must document that the antique meets all terms of the strict Endangered Species Act (ESA) statutory exemption. Only these documented antiques may be sold domestically, imported (except African elephant ivory, which is prohibited) and exported.

Items that do not meet the antique requirements but that the seller and buyer can document were legally imported prior to 1990 for African elephants, 1975 for Asian elephants, 1977 for black rhinoceros and 1975 for any other rhinoceros. These documented items may be sold only in intrastate commerce.


Q. If someone is considering buying elephant ivory or rhinoceros horn, or a product containing elephant ivory or rhino horn, what advice would you give them?

A: If someone is trying to sell you elephant ivory or rhino horn, or something that contains elephant ivory or rhino horn, demand documentation and consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prior to purchase.



This is the link to the website for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: http://www.fws.gov/
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