By JoAnn Winkhart [Letter to Edior\
I am writing to express my strong support for S. 7194, legislation introduced by state Sen. Lanza that will ban the commercial ivory trade in New York.
I am urging my elected officials, Sen. Martins to cosponsor and support this important legislation.
I am saddened by the fact that our state is the largest retail market for ivory in the U.S. and is also the second largest market for ivory in the world, only after China.
Ivory is now dubbed “blood ivory” because of the involvement of Africa-based terrorist and militia groups like Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram in the mass killing of elephants.
Ivory commerce sustains criminal syndicates who undermine the rule of law, weaken local governance and breed corruption. New York’s support of the ivory market sends the wrong message that we endorse elephant killing.
Criminal networks exploit loopholes to launder illicit ivory and sell them to unsuspecting customers.
Only through a ban on ivory commerce, as S. 7194 advocates, can we end our state’s complicit participation in sustaining the ivory trade and all of its violence. S. 7194 deserves our full support.