Born Free USA Blog
by Adam M Roberts,
Chief Executive Officer
When it comes to animals, Adam Roberts not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Since beginning his animal advocacy career in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Adam's ambition, tireless involvement, and profound knowledge of conservation and wildlife issues have cemented him as a go-to voice for protecting animals — and he has elevated Born Free USA to the respected and impactful organization that we know today. Adam's compassionate, informed, and forward-thinking blogs will surely motivate you to join us in our fight to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.
“Ethical” ivory? I don’t think so.
Michelle Obama recently was photographed wearing a “mammoth ivory” necklace, from long-deceased animals buried in natural, frozen Siberian graveyards. Let’s face it: She’s still wearing the teeth of a dead elephant (albeit an extinct one).
What message do the first lady and others send with this chilling fashion statement?
It tells consumers in markets such as the United States that it’s OK to covet ivory, despite the fact that tens of thousands of African and Asian elephants are slaughtered annually to fuel the ivory trade.
It sends a confusing message to the general public that wearing ivory is approved at the highest level, by someone who sets the style agenda for millions. And if you can’t afford the expensive, “ethical” version, perhaps you can grab an illegal piece that’s comparatively cheap.
Note: The news report I read suggests that the mammoth ivory is going from Russia to China, also the destination for much of the currently traded and smuggled African and Asian elephant ivory. So it also makes it easier for nefarious dealers and ivory workers to launder the current stuff in with the ancient.
So if you think mammoth ivory is ethical and that it’s a viable alternative to poached ivory, think again. Elefriends all over the world know the truth: Only elephants should wear ivory. All people — of influence or otherwise — should think more carefully about the potentially deadly impact of their actions.