U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, today sent a letter to Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), regarding a soon to be proposed rule that will severely restrict the trade or commercial sale of lawfully owned elephant ivory in the United States.
“We all share the common goal of protecting our global elephant populations from the devastation of illegal poaching and ivory trafficking. Accordingly, it is vital that we develop effective, responsible policies moving forward that protect the species without unintended consequences affecting our small businesses here at home,” said Vitter. “The Administration’s efforts, while important, are misguided and ineffective. Taken into consideration with its poor track record of disregarding the economic impact of its rules on small entities, I urge the FWS to develop a proposed rule that does not target America’s small businesses – like antique dealers, music stores, and museums.”
Most of the legal ivory dates back decades, if not centuries, and businesses have taken significant steps in consulting trained experts to identify legal vs. illegal ivory to uphold responsible business practices. The proposed rule, which is expected to be released very soon, is largely expected to mirror a Director’s Order issued by FWS last year that set forth a virtual ban on any sale of legal and antique elephant ivory in the United States.
Vitter has been working to ensure that small businesses are not inadvertently impacted by the upcoming FWS proposed rule, which would effectively ban any export, import, and commercial sale of legal elephant ivory.