Category Archives: Ecology

Dear Ted Cohen of eBay

Dear @eBay and #TedCohen:

I’m writing on behalf of, well, no particular organization–only thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of people in love with #elephants.

By virtue of your affiliation with various groups, I know that you share my concern.

So I was perplexed by this recent post on eBay concerning the “legality” of buying and selling #ivory on eBay


THE LAWS OF IVORY The Truth of Buying and Owning It


This is my comment to that article (@kcroes):

There has always been a distinction between what is legal and what is moral. It was once legal to own slaves. Those of you who buy and sell the ivory of dead elephant[s] and rhinos will soon occupy the same space in the public’s mind as slaveowners. What you do is an abomination. This [is] the new normal, folks. Burn your ivory. It will bring you nothing but heartache.

There were several supporting comments I won’t bore you with. But I admire eBay for allowing such discussion. Many groups, such as Ringling Brothers, do not.

As you know, the Obama administration recently burned 6 tons of ivory. The stated reason was to discourage poachers and traffickers. I was conflicted by this move, as I know that any diminishment in supply may result in an increase in demand. Increased prices.

But the symbolism of the event outweighed any Adam Smith formulae on capitalism. Here was the United States, showing the world what it thought of ivory.

Your company’s policies should do no less, especially with your public affiliations with animal-welfare groups that oppose the sale and purchase of ivory. Of course its sale and purchase are legal under certain circumstances! But you know and I know and everyone knows that that is not the point. It is illegal today because we’ve come to find it immoral, and it is as immoral today as any other day going back to a time when a family killed an elephant for food, and then carved the beautiful tusks into artistic and religious totems. In terms of the amount of protein that they provided, we owe these wondrous creatures our existence. But we have no need to carve their ivory around campfires in the modern day.

Please consider changing eBay policies to ban the buying and selling of ivory. It would be a huge PR advance for you. You will be lauded in social media, post after post, tweet after tweet, instead of taking all the arrows you are (or will be) taking.

You might even consider purchasing what’s currently for sale on eBay, and burning it.

Thank you for your consideration.

Keith Croes

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