FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bidding for Extinction

An investigative report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare reveals how the rampant trade in elephant ivory being carried out across eBay’s global network of auction sites is enabling consumers to literally bid for the extinction of the world’s largest land mammal.

The snapshot survey conducted in the UK, Australia, China, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Canada and the USA* tracked over 2,200 elephant ivory items listed on eBay Web sites and found that more than 90% of the listings breached even eBay’s own respective national wildlife policies.

While international wildlife trade laws are complex, in general it is illegal to sell carved or uncarved ivory unless it is antique and accompanied by a proof of age certificate.

On eBay, however, many sellers are being allowed simply to list items with no provenance of legality whatsoever, in blatant contravention of the rules on most eBay Web sites. Worse, eBay’s enforcement of their largely vague and variable listing rules appears to be haphazard and hopelessly overstrained. Very few of the suspected illegal items reported by IFAW investigators to eBay during the snapshot survey were removed from sale.

IFAW believes that the only way to protect elephants from poachers is to shut down the markets where illegal ivory can easily be passed off as “antique. “The Internet is an unregulated and anonymous medium which gives criminals ample opportunity to launder contraband undetected,” says Peter Pueschel, IFAW’s Program Manager for Protection of Wildlife Against Commercial Trade Program. “Constant offers of contraband give a sense of legitimacy to seemingly innocent products and invite consumers to buy frivolously. This deadly business of ivory, which involves the killing of thousands of elephants every year, is on the increase because of the prospects for sky high profits with zero risk.”

IFAW believes that as the world’s largest online shop window, eBay has a special responsibility to lead the way by banning ivory from its sites. “Only a global ban on all ivory sales will remove the cover under which this criminal activity currently operates and as a result, seriously help to decrease illegal trade and the cruel and unnecessary slaughter of elephants,” Comments Pueschel.

Last week IFAW met with eBay global headquarters to present the findings of ‘Bidding for Extinction’ and welcomed assurances that a review of wildlife policies on a global scale will take place over the coming weeks.

While an internal review of policy by eBay represents a step in the right direction, it remains uncertain how strict and efficient the resulting policy will be to eliminate the massive illegal trade from Ebay Web sites. “This is a chance for eBay to substantiate the company’s claim of being not only a leader economically, but also a responsible member of society”, says Pueschel. “While we welcome any efforts that decreases trade in ivory, our investigation has shown once again that it is impossible to sufficiently police the market sites on a global scale unless wildlife trade is banned completely.”

The illegal international trade in wildlife is believed to reach well into the billions of US dollars annually ­ a nefarious activity that is second in scope only to the international trade in drugs and arms. Reports in the media also indicate that the poaching of wildlife is now being driven by terrorists to raise money for their activities.

“Unless a market site owner undertakes every effort to eliminate this devastating wildlife trade, it must plead guilty to facilitating this dirty business knowingly. While eBay has taken positive steps over the last years, these have not brought desired results. We are now waiting to hear whether they will ban the trade in all ivory on all of their sites, which is the simplest, most cost-effective and efficient way of ensuring they play no part in this criminal trade. Elephants are facing extinction, in no small part because of Internet ivory trade. It is time for action”.

 

 

More articles by:

January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
Nick Pemberton
There Are More Important Things Than The Truth
Brian Cloughley
How Trump’s Insults and Lies are Harming America
David Rosen
Sexual Predators in the Era of Trump
Tamara Pearson
Everything the Western Mainstream Media Outlets Get Wrong When Covering Poor Countries
Richard E. Rubenstein
Trump vs. the Anti-Trumps: It’s the System That Needs Changing Not Just the Personnel
Christopher Ketcham
A Walk in the Woods, Away from the Screens
Basav Sen
Democrats Failed Their First Big Test on Climate
Lauren Smith
Nicaragua – The Irony of the NICA Act Being Signed into Law by Trump
Joseph Natoli
Will Trumpism Outlive Trump?
Olivia Alperstein
The EPA Rule Change That Could Kill Thousands
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
The New Congress Needs to Create a Green Planet at Peace
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Cuba: Trump Turns the Vise
Ramzy Baroud
When Bolsonaro and Netanyahu Are ‘Brothers’: Why Brazil Should Shun the Israeli Model
Mitchell Zimmerman
Government by Extortion
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail