Opinion: U.S. Ivory Crush Should Be Just a First Step
Trade in ivory was banned in 1989 but continues all over the world.
It will be a symbolic act. But symbolism matters.
Ivory destruction ceremonies have been a litmus test for where a country stands on the ivory trade ever since Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi torched 13 tons of ivory in 1989, setting the stage for a vote to ban international trade in ivory by parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
That ban went into effect in 1990. Six months later, the U.S. ivory market collapsed.
With no international market, it might have been reasonable for all CITES parties to destroy their ivory stocks after the 1990 international ivory ban took effect.
But the ban did not last. In 1999 and again in 2008 parties to CITES voted to allow