After writing about the importance of an ivory discussion among Kentucky's legislators, I decided to introduce the topic to a few state representatives and senators. So I send out an email, targeting my personal district legislators but also those that serve on committees that could be (and should be) considering this topic in future months.
Below is one version of the message I wrote, addressing not only the importance of ivory legislation in Kentucky, but also the arguments of proponents and how our commonwealth can work to create a beneficial situation for all residents:
After digging from state to state for ivory bills, it's been a disappointment to me that Kentucky has no such legislative discussion. As far as I know, the topic of the ivory trade, whether legal or illegal, has not even come up in either house. Thus, I believe it's time for this conversation to begin. Kentucky needs to vote on ivory.
This is the last installment of states that are working to pass ivory bans. You'll notice that most states originally introduced a bill in 2015, but for one reason or another they didn't pass. Find out if 2016 will be the year for more ivory bans, from Ohio to Vermont.
Ivory doesn't just exist on an elephant's or a rhino's face. There are actually many sources of ivory in nature, although not all of them are sustainable or responsible choices. This post can help guide you if you really like ivory but, like me, wish to save animals for being slaughtered.
As we move through the alphabet of ivory bills, I'd like to point out a significant, if not obvious, detail: each state is different. While all ivory bills seek to stop the killing of elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia, each state has proposed a law that best fits its situation.
Some bills seek to protect more species than just elephants, stretching to include marine animals as well. These states are mostly on the coast, and therefore have that concern. Others, like Indiana, simply seek to take preventative measures so that ivory does not become a rampant trade, and to keep their state from becoming a gateway for ivory to pass through.
So as you look through each bill, think about what makes them different, and why each is important for the survival of keystone species. If we can get the buying to stop, the killing will too.
The race is on: In 2015, over 10 states introduced legislative bills to ban ivory in their states. But only one was passed into law. So what happened to the others? Well, find out, and see if your state has joined the international fight to become #ivoryfree.
Kerry Skiff is a conservation advocate and recent journalism graduate of Northern Kentucky University. She follows the ivory trade around the world, and uses her voice to educate Americans about their role in animal conservation.