The ivory law

See here for a Washington Post article on this “law”.

I’m not intending to write about the enormous unconstitutionality of the Obama administration’s actions here; legislation by the executive branch, and an at-will reversal of the burden of proof in a criminal case (ie. you are now guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent, as to the matter of the age of the ivory or its purchase date) is nothing to a president who has publicly declared his authority to kill anyone on Earth with a drone strike, purely at his own discretion.

Rather, I want to write about the actual effect such efforts have on the survival of the African Elephant, including recent policies such as the destruction of contraband ivory (See this Fish and Wildlife page for details). Now the conservationists are concerned about the record level of elephant poaching in 2011, at 10,000 elephants killed. This level of pressure is pushing the species back into danger of extinction, and has been the impetus for the renewed cries for legislation beyond the original provisions of the CITES treaty and the 1989 ivory ban. Obviously, obstructing the Ivory trade should undermine and reduce poaching, shouldn’t it? And by thus reducing poaching, we should be able to drag the species back from near-extinction, right?

On a topic that may seem unrelated, in the same year that 10,000 elephants were killed in the continent of Africa, fifty times that number of cows were slaughtered in the state of Nebraska. And the state of Texas. And the state of Kansas. In the month of January. And every successive month for the whole year except for February in Kansas, when they only slaughtered 495,000 head, and December when it was only 497,800. Slackers. In fact, there are only handful of US states that did not kill more cows in 2011 than the whole of Africa killed elephants. Continue reading