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.
Something really exciting happened this week involving the U.S. government. And here I’m referring not to the general election, but to what was said Thursday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She exhorted the international community to end poaching and the smuggling of exotic animal parts such as elephant ivory and rhinoceros tusks. Unless we find a way to work together to protect such iconic animals, they will be lost to future generations, she said.
Clinton gave a concise, no-nonsense, yet spirited speech at her department’s “Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation: A Call to Action.” As the United States’ chief diplomat, Clinton has a lot on her plate, to say the least. It is very encouraging, and completely appropriate, that she has chosen to make wildlife protection and conservation part of her crowded agenda.
There was a lot to like about Clinton’s speech, which you can read or see in its entirety here. One segment that struck me as especially important was her insistence that public education must be part of anti-poaching and anti-smuggling efforts:
“Our embassies will use every tool at their disposal to raise awareness about this issue, from honoring local activists, to spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter. We want to make buying goods, products from trafficked wildlife, endangered species unacceptable, socially unacceptable. We want friends to tell friends they don’t want friends who ingest, display, or otherwise use products that come from endangered species anywhere in the world.”
In other words, if demand vanishes, so will the crimes. This message needs to be echoed by other leaders now, especially those in consuming countries such as China and Japan. When political leaders at the highest levels there decry the consumption of elephant ivory, rhino horn, tiger bone, bear gallbladder, whale meat, etc., we will begin to change the face of the wildlife trade forever.
We have a long road ahead of us to get to that promised land, but when globally high-profile leaders such as Hillary Clinton speak up for animals, we take important strides in the right direction.