Ivory Ban Passes Senate

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On Thursday, June 21st, the State Senate passed S. 2553, An Act Relative to Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Trafficking. I filed the House version of this bill to ban the sale of ivory in Massachusetts, just as it is banned on the federal level. Banning ivory trafficking would be a major victory in the fight to protect endangered elephants and rhinos around the world, whose tusks and horns are poached widely.

The situation for elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia is deeply fraught. The number of elephants in Africa has decreased from 1.2 million in 1983 to 400,000-500,000 in 2018.  At this rate, they risk extinction by the middle part of this century. I have long fought for the rights of animals in Massachusetts, and on this issue the matter is not just the treatment of these intelligent creatures, but their importance to the environment and the ecological systems in which they reside.

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, an elephant’s tusks grow back if they are not broken off at the root, however rather than tranquilize an elephant and take a minimal amount of ivory, poachers kill the elephant and “hack” into their skulls to get the most ivory possible. The illegal ivory trade is a billion-dollar industry, and despite being banned in every country in Africa, poaching still thrives because of the value of horns and tusks.

It is crucial that we take steps at home to make global impacts that will hopefully preserve the existence of these species.  Countries such as China have taken drastic steps to prevent the ivory trade from growing further and the US should do the same. Multiple states have passed similar laws against ivory and poaching. Massachusetts should be the next state in the country to take action against this issue. The bill will now go to the House for final approval before being passed.  

Preyel Patel