Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: 40˚00' N, 83˚00' W
Just to be clear, the proposed UK ban is in regard to the purchasing and selling of ivory, not the possession of ivory. The US ban is in regard to the purchasing and selling of African ivory, not the possession of African ivory. The burden of proof is on the seller/buyer, which certainly complicates things for people like us, who appreciate antique ivory, as the average customs agent cannot see the difference.
But, there is no discussion within the US about banning the possession of ivory, and to think that the US government, or agents thereof, will raid American homes and confiscate their ivory is sheer paranoia. I own a few ivory keris hilts, and I have no fear of their loss. As a matter of fact, I've purchased a couple off of eBay since the ban was put in place, and have yet to have a customs agent knocking on my door.
It is worth noting that South Africa will soon allow again the farming of black rhinos, which many people fear will exacerbate poaching. To farm rhinos (or elephants) for the purposes of harvesting their horns (or ivory) requires both land and capital; poachers often have neither, but in many parts of the world firearms are comparatively cheap, conservation rangers are scarce and underpaid, and rhinos and elephants can be found in the wild or on national parks, if you're willing to do the work and take the risk. The logic of the CITES agreement is that stopping all trade reduces poaching because you can't launder illegally harvested horn or ivory as legally-farmed horn or ivory. It's not a perfect solution, and undoubtedly has many flaws, but would we prefer a world where rhinos and elephants do not exist outside of zoos?