Steve Shackleford Blog

Ivory Ban Targets Possession & Ancient Varieties

New Jersey targets fossil ivory. (SharpByCoop.com image)

Draconian New Jersey ivory ban includes the ancient ivory of animals that have been extinct for millennia. (SharpByCoop.com image)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed the nation’s most draconian ivory ban into law yesterday, one that targets not only elephant ivory but also the ancient ivory of animals extinct for over 10,000 years!

The ban also contains wording that appears to make it possible for the mere possession of any ivory to be an offense punishable by law.

According to Knife Rights, the measure bans the “import, sale, purchase, barter or possession with intent to sell” ivory from any species, including ancient ivory from mastodons and mammals, with no exceptions whatsoever.

The part of the measure that reads “possession with intent to sell” is especially disturbing as those with any experience with the law know that such language is open to any number of interpretations by law enforcement and prosecutors.

In other words, the language of this ban could make mere possession of ivory an illegal act. At the very least, it could make those wrongfully charged with possession with intent to sell have to spend the money and time to hire a lawyer, miss time from work, etc., that fighting such a charge can require.

Of course, as has been noted elsewhere, the banning of ancient ivory—that is, of animals that have long been extinct—flies in the face of the purpose behind other such bans. The stated purpose of those bans is to save living animals. A ban against extinct animals can have no effect on those animals because they have been dead for millennia. Of course, some may argue that ancient ivory may be mistaken for elephant ivory and thus should be banned, but that is a specious argument because there are scientifically proven ways of telling ancient ivory from elephant ivory.

The ban will go into effect in six months, during which time those in the Garden State who own ivory items must sell them or face fines of $1,000 on the first offense and $5,000 on the second.

For more information on how you can help fight draconian ivory bans and, at the same time, help save the elephant, visit elephantprotection.org.

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