Hard west african ivory

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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petermc61
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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby petermc61 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:50 pm

Jabberwocky wrote:But not obvious enough to you right, Peter? You said you were not aware. It was obvious enough to me.

I am not going to be coy about it: It is not about observing the letter of the law. It is about observing and respecting the spirit of it.

Nobody who claims to be well-educated can claim to be unaware of the situation with Western African Ivory and ivory, in general. It is disingenuous in the extreme.

Fess up. Apologise. Move on.


Dear Jabberwocky

Please don't be condescending. I am fully aware of the issue with ivory as I am with Brazilian Rosewood. I do not condone the harvest of either. However, the question is one of using old stock. That elephant is tragically dead. Those trees, that used to live before all the unused timber harvested from 30-50 years ago and which is now sitting on luthiers shelves, are dead.

I don't hold the view it is better to destroy that ivory or burn that wood. Frankly, as a resource from this finite planet of ours, I'd rather see it all used. That is the moral question in my view and maybe we have different perspectives on that. Entirely understandable we may.

As for legality, I would not ask a member here to break a law. However, I think legislators should be given credit for drafting laws they intended. Bob can apparently sell as much ivory as he has in stock to anybody in Georgia. Frankly I don't know why he cannot ship it outside the state nor do I know why the limit on shipment is the state boundaries. I also don't know whether the law applies to corporations, individual traders or to all persons. If they had truly wished to stop sale of all ivory, including old stocks, they could have easily legislated that instead.

I am happy to change my position if their is somebody here who knows and can explain the scope, application and legislative intent of the law in Georgia.

However, to criticise my position based on the conflation of your values on another persons (legislator's) laws does not change my view it is better to use this material for some purpose than to not.

Regards
Peter

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attila57
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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby attila57 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:27 pm

I wonder why they don't breed elephants like cattle or sheep for human use. Their bones and tusk could be used when they have died naturally. It would still be a profitable business, I think, given the present price of ivory. And the extinction problem would be solved, too. If elephants remain unbred and unexploited for commercial use, they will disappear in the very near future anyway, because of the loss of their habitat, and not because of the guitar saddles and nuts. Millions of cattle are killed every day and they won't become extinct. Why? Because we need them for food (and guitar saddles) and we breed them. Elephants need lots of square kilometres of land to forage, and lots of food, so they are competitors of the modern human society in desperate need for more and more land. It is the governments themselves that will eradicate them by their new and new developments. There's only one way out of this: they should bring profit to humans. After all, in India they use elephants for agricultural purposes, and the Indian elephant is thriving, it is not on the verge of extinction.

The other thing is that even from the animal lover's point of view, I can't see why couldn't we use the body of those elephants that die naturally. The ivory or the bones from dead elephants (the elephant bones are very dense, so valuable for instrument-making) could be sold to fund the breeding of elephants and to sustain natural reserves and elephant farms.

Sometimes I hear that governments or organizations burn collected ivory publicly, to draw attention to the conservation problem. In my opinion those organizations waste those resources that God has given to us. Our Earth has very limited resources and every drop or little piece should be saved and could be used. Our ancestors killed elephants and mammoths, but they used every bit of their bodies and indeed, they respected and revered the beast for giving them precious food and resources. So, I think, we commit a crime when we waste natural resources. In fact, every bit of a dead elephant could - and should - be used, like in the old days...

Similarly to elephants, Dalbergias (rosewood and ebony) will disappear, too, not because of the industrial use of wood, but because of the deforestation in Brazil and other places. They need new and new areas for cities, factories, highways and agricultural land to grow energy plants (for producing fuel). There's government subvention to encourage the eradicating of tropical hardwood forests, similarly to what we have here in Europe, to cut down fruit plantations, to give place to industrial developments and power lines... Just think, EIR (East Indian Rosewood) is abundant because they grow it in great forest plantations, for profit...

In today's globalized economy, ALL natural resources will become rare, and eventually disappear if we don't take care of their reproduction and replenishment. So instead of creating nonsense and unenforceable regulations we should concentrate on creating a sustainable exploitation of these precious resources. That means regulated harvesting, regulated growing/breeding and regulated trade. It happens to other precious resources, too, so I can't see why it could happen to elephants or precious wood, too.

Without the wise and regulated production and trading of all our precious resources, we will soon find that even the spruce top of our guitar, or indeed the glass of water we drink, becomes a 'forbidden commodity'. And just before the judgement day, with our last effort, we will destroy the last bit of our Earth to show that we care...

Attila
Last edited by attila57 on Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby attila57 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:00 pm

Jabberwocky wrote:But not obvious enough to you right, Peter? You said you were not aware. It was obvious enough to me.

I am not going to be coy about it: It is not about observing the letter of the law. It is about observing and respecting the spirit of it.

Nobody who claims to be well-educated can claim to be unaware of the situation with Western African Ivory and ivory, in general. It is disingenuous in the extreme.

Fess up. Apologise. Move on.


See my last post!
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby lagartija » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:34 am

petermc61 wrote:
I don't hold the view it is better to destroy that ivory or burn that wood. Frankly, as a resource from this finite planet of ours, I'd rather see it all used.


The difficulty is with "laundered " materials with forged paperwork supporting the claim that it is legally harvested,culled or pre-ban material.
There was an attempt at selling ivory from culled elephants a number of years ago, but DNA evidence showed that much of the ivory being sold was actually from poached animals from the national parks. They could not control the trade because the documents were often forged. The total ban was reinstated.
As for legality, I would not ask a member here to break a law. However, I think legislators should be given credit for drafting laws they intended. Bob can apparently sell as much ivory as he has in stock to anybody in Georgia. Frankly I don't know why he cannot ship it outside the state nor do I know why the limit on shipment is the state boundaries. I also don't know whether the law applies to corporations, individual traders or to all persons. If they had truly wished to stop sale of all ivory, including old stocks, they could have easily legislated that instead.


The Lacey Act is the most likely reason it cannot be shipped across State lines. This law prevents an endangered species or its parts from being transported across state lines. Period. It also controls the transfer of species (alien or invasive) from being introduced to an area where they have not existed previously (Obviously not the problem with dead elephant ivory.) CITES covers international borders and makes certain exceptions (finished or unfinished, weight, etc.) in some cases. The Lacey Act controls endangered species within the borders of the US. It is in many cases stricter than CITES.
There are threads in the luthiers section on the Lacey Act.
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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby petermc61 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:11 am

Thanks lagartija - all I need now is somebody to explain the logic of allowing sale and shipment within a state but not across state borders. That seems rather illogical to me.

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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby lagartija » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:37 am

petermc61 wrote:Thanks lagartija - all I need now is somebody to explain the logic of allowing sale and shipment within a state but not across state borders. That seems rather illogical to me.


Each state can have laws that are valid only in that state. If the law passed by the state's legislature is challenged as being contrary to either the state's constitution or the US constitution, the law can be deemed invalid.
If Georgia allows someone to sell material from endangered species that they already own, they can do that. However, interstate commerce and transportation of goods between states are controlled by federal law. Thus, although one might be able to sell the material within the boundaries of the state, the Lacey Act would make it against the law (federal law) to take it out of state. In Massachusetts where I live, one could not own or sell a chameleon without a permit (until about a year ago), but you could own one and sell them in North Carolina without restriction. You cannot take them across state boundaries where they are prohibited.
Recently, in the case of salamanders native to the South, their transport across state lines has been prohibited except by special permit by Lacey Act because they can carry disease to other parts of the US not yet infected.
So it is partly a States rights thing, unless that collides with federal law.
I hope that explains how this situation can come about where someone can sell something within one state but not ship it beyond the borders.
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Dekselsedek
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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby Dekselsedek » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:39 am

I can't bear the thought of playing an instrument with ivory. Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby Contreras » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:58 am

John higgon wrote:
petermc61 wrote:Is there anybody on the forum in Georgia who would be happy to mail me a saddle (at my cost, of course)?

Wouldn't they then be involved in the illegal supply of Ivory? Why is it that material from exotic / endangered / extinct animals sounds so much better than other materials, I wonder?


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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby Michael Lazar » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:35 pm

My wife and I travel extensively and have visited numerous countries and all seven continents. The degradation we've witnessed over the past 40 years is heart breaking. I find it sad that folks pile on band wagons that are built and promoted by people whose motives are laudable but whose methods of achieving their motives are so often counter productive, due primarily to their ignorance of all of the facts. The ban on ivory is a prime example of this. When I was in South Africa I befriended and talked to many park rangers and guides about the stress on animal populations and the increasing endangerment of so many beautiful species and their habitats. Human encroachment and destruction of habitats are by far the biggest factor leading to the extinction of our exotic plant (rosewoods) and animal species. Nothing short of a serious curtailment on human reproduction will ever stop that.

However, back to the specific subject at hand. My African friends tell me that there are warehouses crammed with ivory from elephants that have died from natural causes as well as from the culling necessary to keep the various populations viable within the habitats remaining to them. Due to a world wide ban on ivory trade this ivory cannot be sold. If it could be sold it would generate millions of dollars which could go toward further conservation efforts including the fight against poaching. Furthermore, if this ivory were legally available, poachers would have more difficulty in finding buyers.

Consequently I find nothing objectionable about the query made by the originator of this thread.

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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby Keith » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:33 pm

One of the arguments made in the treatise on the guitar parts website is that so-called conservationists are actually increasing the likelihood of putting elephants at risk for destruction because there is no economic reason to have them. The author makes some good points. If elephants bring no economic advantage (e.g., legally harvested ivory) and destroy farm land (economic disadvantage) there is little incentive to actually work to keep their numbers at an acceptable level. I am reminded how some groups of people rant about firearms and hunting but do not understand that hunters and organizations supported by hunters actually help to ensure good and healthy animal populations. Sadly these so-called conservationists often get their way because they perpetuate a narrative that is “in” within a group of people. Sadly, in effort to save the elephant few want to actually talk about “the elephant in the room”, that being businesses/countries that are flagrant in their illegal harvesting of elephants and governments which are non-functional and/or corrupt.
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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby pogmoor » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:42 pm

It is important that the discussion in this thread does not veer too much towards the political issues that lay behind the ivory trading ban. There are several effective alternatives to ivory for guitar bridges and saddles, both natural and synthetic products. It seems to me, therefore, that we should just accept that elephant ivory is now unavailable as a material and get on with using what is available.
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Re: Hard west african ivory

Postby attila57 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:04 pm

pogmoor wrote:It is important that the discussion in this thread does not veer too much towards the political issues that lay behind the ivory trading ban. There are several effective alternatives to ivory for guitar bridges and saddles, both natural and synthetic products. It seems to me, therefore, that we should just accept that elephant ivory is now unavailable as a material and get on with using what is available.


I explained my view on the issue earlier.
Read that post please, and consider that opinion as a biologist's, an ecologist's and a devoted environmentalist's opinion.

What I find even more annoying is that ivory is indeed available in some states in the US, which country is the loudest advocate of the ban, AND that legal ivory cannot be exported. What is it if not hipocrisy? Those states, in effect, are making an ivory reserve for future use, in case of a future higher demand. That time will certainly come with the extinction of the elephant.

I maintain that keeping this ban (or any such ban) actually worsens the situation. Demand cannot be eradicated, therefore ivory prices soar to unprecedented heights, which makes poaching ever more worthwhile.

Ivory is a precious resource, that God has given to us, and as such, it should be used carefully and sparingly, not letting anyone to waste an ounce of it. We should take care of the replenishment of this resource, exactly what he same way we grow sustainable forests for logging purposes.

Elephants should be bred and raised on farms, like cattle or sheep, in a humane way, but for human use. That would guarantee the species' survival. In any other case they will become practically extinct in the very near future. Idealism won't help in this case, only makes matters worse. Drug trafficking is a similar problem. There is tough punishment, involved, but in spite of that, the business is thriving. Anyone who knows a bit of psychology knows, that danger actually increases the appeal of such things. Smokers smoke because it's dangerous, and the dangerous habit gives them confidence and sets them apart from the average, in their mind. The greater the ban and the risk, the greater the reward, and the more appeal poaching will pose, and eventually the last African elephant will disappear for ever.

Don't forget, that apart from the ivory and the meat, the elephant is actually a competitor and a pest for those businesses who want to make new industrial or other developments in a formerly natural area. Governments need support and income, so they stand behind, and become involved in these projects.

Countless species disappeared in the course of the human history, and the pattern is always the same. Overexploitation is one part of the story, but the real danger - the final cut - is always the loss of habitat. When the last refuge disappears that can support the sustainable existence of a species, that species will become extinct.

If you ask me about the possible solution, in the first place I'd make the elephant smaller with a bigger tusk. That could be done by selection, or indeed, by genetic engineering. Then, I would breed them, like cattle or pigs. I don't say it's a romantic solution, but quite fit for the brave new world we created for ourselves. Otherwise, they will disappear, together with polar bears, whales, tigers and the like. Rats and cockroaches will stay, for sure...
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8


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