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Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed (Read 1645 times)

Offline mrcreosote

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Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
« on: September 07, 2016, 05:35:00 AM »
I just became aware of this insanity:

http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

The update link for the above, http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory2.html, states that New Jersey has banned ivory keyed piano sales completely.

Proposed federal law looks similar to the strict labyrinth of machine gun ownership and usage laws.

The fact that ivory cannot be conserved from old pianos and that it must be destroyed along with the piano if it is not worth repairing flies in the face of the so-called respect the CITES treaty has for the noble elephant.  It's almost as if since ivory is outlawed, all of it should be destroyed.

This is shear lunacy.

But then there is the US Code prohibiting the transport of false teeth across state lines.  (No, I'm not making that one up either.)

Excuse me while I call in fire on my own position...

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #1 on: September 07, 2016, 06:06:27 AM »
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Offline iansinclair

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #2 on: September 07, 2016, 12:39:15 PM »
Just another example of the crackpots now inhabiting the city of Washington DC -- or various left and right coast State capitols -- writing regulations in defiance of commons sense, logic, science, public opinion and anything else which interferes with their own egos.  I could happily (?) cite a great many other such.

It demonstrates the folly of demonizing the thing, rather than the action, and of demonizing the action (and thing) legally instead of improving the morals and ethics of the people involved.  One would think that the utter failure of Prohibition and the War on Drugs would have been a sufficient example, but no...

And Georgey -- if you haven't played in the sandbox or earlier in country, you wouldn't know the implications of calling in fire on your own position.  Trust me, you only do that when things have really gone sour... been there, done that, somehow survived.
Ian

Offline visitor

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 12:47:48 PM »
i wonder and i think there may be a way to do it, that having custom key tops made from wooly mammoth tusk ivory is excluded from the federal bans. I read an article about a recent find in Siberia of one of the largest fully intact finds, and that 'mammoth ivory hunters' are on the rise and they are seasonally finding a  lot more of these 'ancient' ivories. The article stated that Siberia *but other regions this applies too....that unusually extended warm periods are allowing permafrost thaws that are exposing previously isolated and unreachable tusks so they finds are more common now. Having the documentation in place on the source I don't see how they can prevent a custom key top manufacturing for retrofitting.


interestingly, the article that took my interest was dealing with a scary scenario, there are old previously dormant 'ancient' viruses that are now being discovered, and that's the last thing we need, a novel (to us and our immune systems/genetics) virus from 10s of thousands of years ago being disturbed and made airborn by these mammoth hunters disturbing the newly thawed soils, scientists have already isolated a few such viruses and are writing papers warning of this possibility...

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 05:00:34 PM »
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #5 on: September 07, 2016, 05:26:53 PM »
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Offline mrcreosote

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #6 on: September 08, 2016, 02:55:38 AM »
A friend told me that armed Feds have raided the Gibson Guitar factory because of their possession of ebony and rosewood exotic woods.  So they confiscate everything and then never charge them with a crime so they can't go to court and get their stuff back.

I'm surprised old pianos are allowed to be destroyed with ivory keys.  I wouldn't argue that they should be conserved.  Feds are more interested in conserving R12 Freon.

I'll get all this confiscated contraband is ironically destroyed which really makes the death of those elephants in vain.

And then what about the protected elephants that die of old age?  I guess their tusks are allowed to rot with the carcass.

I don't think I'm going to stand for the national anthem any more... 

BTW when you are overrun by the enemy, your last recourse is to call in artillery or bombing on your position - you realize you are going to be killed by the enemy so you at least take them out with you.

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #7 on: September 08, 2016, 03:34:37 AM »
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #8 on: September 08, 2016, 10:28:01 AM »
I believe that, in most parts of the world that have adopted legislation on this issue, musical instruments that are 100+ years old are exempt, which is perfectly reasonable.

The excellent restorer of my Steinway Model C stated at the outset that he would not want to substitute its ivory keys with any others unless I had a strong preference for doing so and I suspect that, had I such preference (which I did not), he might have been far less keen to take on the full refurbishment of the instrument (apart from its rosewood case) that he did (including new wrest plank and pins, full restoration of the action and updating of the sostenuto pedal mechanism). The piano is 120 years old this year and will long outlive me!

Obviously, I must never bring it to the Benighted States unless President Trump first repeals any and all restrictive legislation in respect of pianos that are effectively antiques.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline iansinclair

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #9 on: September 08, 2016, 01:12:23 PM »
The real problem, my dear georgey, is that you are not talking about a law, debated and passed by the representatives of the people -- Congress.  You are talking about a regulation, created and rammed through by a few zealots in an out of control, tyrannical executive branch.

Which could be said about ivory, e-cigarettes, coal fired power plants, or a whole raft of other things.

End of rant.
Ian

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #10 on: September 09, 2016, 12:21:15 AM »
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Offline iansinclair

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #11 on: September 09, 2016, 02:06:14 AM »
My previous rant stands, unedited.  The law is one thing.  I may not like 'em, but they are passed by a legislature and approved by -- but modified by -- an executive.

A regulation is another critter entirely, and that is what we were talking about.  Tyrannies use regulations.  Democracies and Republics use laws.
Ian

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #12 on: September 09, 2016, 02:17:08 AM »
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #13 on: September 09, 2016, 03:00:25 AM »
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Offline iansinclair

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #14 on: September 09, 2016, 04:45:35 PM »
Does the US Executive have the authority to ban trade in ivory under the Endangered Species Act?  I'd have to answer that with a nuanced "yes" and "no".  Before I explain that, though, may I remind anyoe that the prohibition applies to all ivory, not just piano keys -- and ivory was used for many things besides piano keys.  Something to think about.

OK.  About the "yes" and "no" bit.  There isn't much doubt that trade in new ivory can be prohibited under the ESA.  Whether this is an effective way of saving the elephants or not is debatable, but the authority is there.  The problem lies in the regulation.  First, of course, the regulation should have been established as a result of a consensus reached after consultation with all interested parties, after publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking and an unbiased acceptance and consideration of comments.  This wasn't done, but that is normal for the current administration.  Of considerably greater import, however, is the nature of and justification for the regulation: it bans virtually all trade in all ivory, and the gist of the justification is that it is very difficult to distinguish between "old" ivory and "new" ivory -- which is perfectly true.  But there are two approaches to such a dilemma, and the two distinct approaches can be traced in law to at least before Rome.  The one approach is that something -- in this case trade in ivory -- is presumed to be illegal unless it can be proved otherwise.  The other approach is that something -- again, trade in ivory -- is presumed to be legal unless it can be proved otherwise.  This distinction is anything but trivial; it is fundamental difference with very very deep implications for law an politics.

As you may imagine, I prefer the second approach, which may be summarised as "innocent until proven guilty".  The first approach -- "gulity until proven innocent" -- is much simpler for the authorities -- the tyrant, in fact if not in name -- to use.  The second approach safeguards the safety of the people.  The first safeguards the power of the State.

Think about it.
Ian

Offline mrcreosote

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #15 on: September 09, 2016, 06:29:42 PM »
I am now sick to my stomach...

All this precious ivory that has been confiscated is being crushed and burned in public ceremonies throughout the world and many US states with the hopes of shaming people.  (yeah, can you believe that?)

Kenya burned 100 tons of ivory, China I think 150 tons, and 1 ton crushed in a gala ceremony in Times Square NYC.

Even tusks from dead elephants that died peacefully of old age in protected areas are being burned.

These burnings have eliminated maybe 5% of the existing ivory.
_____________________________

Never mind that this is the best method to breed new Super Criminals. 

This is pure Hatred not unlike the Nazi Book Burnings. 

I'm ashamed to be an American.






Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #16 on: September 09, 2016, 06:40:49 PM »
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #17 on: September 09, 2016, 09:57:43 PM »
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Offline iansinclair

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #18 on: September 09, 2016, 10:45:05 PM »
Not intending to shift the focus... maybe ::)

In your penultimate paragraph, you wonder whether the notion of innocent until proven guilty applies to ivory.  My response is that it should, but that under the regulation it does not, and therein lies my major problem (and trust me, it is major -- and has nothing to do with ivory or elephants).  The person possessing the ivory (or cash... or whatever) may be presumed innocent -- but under current practice the item in question is presumed to be contraband and seized.  If one can prove that it is/was not contraband, then one can sue in the courts to have it returned... someday.  If one can prevail.  Don't ask me, ask Gibson guitars, or any one of thousands of individuals who have had property (ivory, money, land, boats, whatever) seized on the theory that it is somehow contraband, without any judgement.

I am, admittedly, an unreconstructed liberal in the old sense, not the modern sense, of the word.  And to my mind, the notion that an activity or action or thing should be presumed innocent and/or permitted unless and until proven otherwise is very very important.  So is a linked notion: that the end, however worthy it may be (like saving elephants) can never, ever, justify the means used to achieve that end.  The means must stand or fall by themselves.

The loss of these two presumptions in the US is fairly recent and, to my mind, tragic.  I am looking at a very broad picture here; the regulation on ivory is only a very small blip in a rather bleak landscape -- though it is instructive.

Ian

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #19 on: September 10, 2016, 01:16:16 AM »
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Offline iansinclair

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #20 on: September 10, 2016, 02:21:19 AM »
Georgey -- I am interested in your three points in reply to creosote.  They were:

1) Was the ivory that was crushed in Times Square illegal ivory?  YES
2) Could there be a constructive purpose for crushing this ivory? YES Organizers hope the crushing of tusks and tchotkes will deter people from buying ivory products and lead to the eventual shutdown of the illegal ivory trade.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosted the event with a number of conservation groups.
3) Was it legal to destroy ivory in Times Square?  YES. If yes, who are you referring to as Super Criminals? NOT SURE.

With regard to 1.  I would like to know who made this determination, and on what grounds; the legal reference would be helpful in that regard.

With regard to 2.  I beg to differ.  Though I am sure that the US Fish and Wildlife people and conservation groups acted with the motivation you mention, this does not support the idea that this was constructive.  Good publicity, perhaps.  Kindly reference my comment on ends and means, however.

With regard to 3.  Refer to my answer to 1 for the first question.  For the second question, I would make two comments, which I am afraid will be distasteful.  First, the prohibition of trade in any desired or valued commodity -- whether it's ivory, cocaine, women, whisky or whatever -- has never been successful and, I regret to say given human nature, never will be.  Which brings up the second: prohibition of trade in any desired or valued commodity has always, thoughout history, inspired individuals to find ways around the prohibition; these are the super criminals to whom creosote refers.

Please do not misunderstand me.  I strongly disapprove of the trade in ivory -- or any other endangered animal or plant (rhino horns?  Bear gall bladders?  You name it) and would not be part of it.  I would encourage others to do the same.  I also disapprove of a number of other things that I regard as immoral or harmful.  But I realise that others may differ on some or all of these opinions of mine.  I am entitled to, and attempt to, change their minds, as they are entitled to change mine.  But I am not entitled to force someone else to conform to my opinions by force of law or regulation.  I might add, perhaps unnecessarily, that that applies in reverse -- and I will resist, with all the means available to me, someone else's attempt to force me to conform to their opinion.

Semper Fi, good buddy.
Ian

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #21 on: September 10, 2016, 02:54:23 AM »
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #22 on: September 10, 2016, 03:45:08 AM »
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #23 on: September 10, 2016, 09:42:27 AM »
Of considerably greater import, however, is the nature of and justification for the regulation: it bans virtually all trade in all ivory, and the gist of the justification is that it is very difficult to distinguish between "old" ivory and "new" ivory -- which is perfectly true.
But it isn't, surely?

One particular skill associated with specialists in antiquarian artefacts of all kinds is that of being able to date objects with a reasonable degree of accuracy - a skill that includes the ability to tell the extent to which all or part of such artefacts are in their original state or have deteriorated or have been repaired or otherwise altered; this applies to books and manuscripts, paintings, jewellery, furniture, sculptures and all manner of things. Moreover, technology has developed vastly in recent times in terms of being able to assist such people in analysing items in order to determine as much information about them as possible.

I do not see why ivory itself or any objects made therefrom or which include it should be considered any differently to any others just because the material itself has become either an emotive topic or one with potential regulatory and/or legal implications or both.

In the case of ivory covered keys on pianos, is is usually possible to determine their age from the age of the instruments on which they are found; even though a few pianos originally manufactured with them might subsequently have had them replaced with newer ivory covers, any expert in ivory should be able to tell the age of the replacement ivory regardless of the date of original manufacture of the pianos.

In most cases, however, ivory key covers on pianos are those put on when the pianos were originally manufactured, so dating them requires only to date the pianos. Given the 100 year "rule" outside which trading in ivory is supposedly exempt, a piano such as my Steinway Model C, which can be dated to 1896 from its number 85082, could clearly be sold without fear of intereference from the ivory police (not that I am about to sell it!).

Best,

Alistair
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #24 on: September 10, 2016, 02:21:34 PM »
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #25 on: September 10, 2016, 03:35:27 PM »
“any expert in ivory should be able to tell the age of the replacement ivory regardless of the date of original manufacture of the pianos.”  Really?  This is not true according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  According to Fish and Wildlife, old ivory is included in this ban because it is difficult for government inspectors to tell whether ivory is new or old, legal or illegal, and because the market for legal ivory is being used as a cover for illegally obtained ivory. This leads to the killing of elephants for their tusks in countries where it is not permitted, in violation of international treaties.

How can age of the replacement ivory be determined to the standard needed for reasonable certainty, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would accept?  Color?  Can you provide a link to some expert saying what you say here?  If not, how can you make your statement?

I look forward to your response.

Regards

Edit:  The point that I am trying to make in general in this thread is that our US lawmakers, although not perfect, study an issue at great length, look at an issue from all sides and consult many experts in the field before adopting a new law.  After a new law is adopted, there will be issues that will hopefully be corrected by amendment or clarified by regulations.  Can you relate your statement “any expert in ivory should be able to tell the age of the replacement ivory regardless of the date of original manufacture of the pianos.” as it might apply to the new US laws that regulate ivory sales?  My short discussion here is nearing completion.  Thank you.
http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/ivory-age-test-is-key-to-trade-ban-1-1363787
http://www.ivoryauthenticityandage.com/
https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/news/2014/asking-portobello-dealer-to-prove-age-of-ivory-carving-is-a-bridge-too-far-says-judge/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jul/02/carbon-ivory-combat-poaching

I'm quite sure that you could find plenty more on this subject.

What I cannot do, however (as I don't know enough about it), is pronounce upon what "the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would (and would not) accept" and I was in any case not confining my remarks to what may or may not be deemed legal in any particular country; if, "according to Fish and Wildlife, old ivory is included in this ban because it is difficult for government inspectors to tell whether ivory is new or old, legal or illegal, and because the market for legal ivory is being used as a cover for illegally obtained ivory", it might seem from the above links to evidence that this service is being somewhat conveniently selective, if not actually restrictive, in terms of the data involved in the formation of its opinions in order, perhaps, rather lazily, to lend its support to an outright ban on the sale of ivory in US, irrespective of its age. Apart from any other considerations, why would ivory's age be so hard to determine today when the age of so many other substances is not?

Best,

Alistair
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The Sorabji Archive

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #26 on: September 10, 2016, 04:07:34 PM »
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #27 on: September 10, 2016, 04:33:17 PM »
Thank you.  I am not an expert.  You will also agree perhaps that you are not an expert in BOTH the new law and the aging of Ivory.
I had already admitted that I am no expert in the former and it goes without saying that I am not one in the latter, for only those professionals who devote their lives to such issues are likely to possess such expertise.

What is required here to make a meaningful comment is someone that is an EXPERT in BOTH.
It would not be entirely unreasonable to suspect that there may be no experts in both anywhere in the world, let alone among the membership of this forum! That said, lawyers dealing with this issue will be as dependent as you or I would be upon the expertise of those involved in antiquities and the scientists on whom they in turn depend.

I can assure you that the law makers consulted many experts.
One might indeed assume this to be the case but, if so, it seems curious that none of the items to which I drew your attention above or any similar research and practice appear to have impacted upon them to the extent of persuading them that it IS possible, within certain margins, to date ivory just as it is to date most other things. One might wonder if these people are equally sceptical about the ability to date objects made other than from or with ivory?

Practicality is of great importance with any law.  If we had resources to have experts and judges look at each piano individually, I agree perhaps more could be done to help piano people.  The law makers try to balance practicality and need.  It will be up to others to judge the law based on INFORMED opinions.
This puts a somewhat different slant on the matter; it's one thing for legal experts to claim that ivory cannot be dated but quite another for them to assert that it would be too expensive examining every object made from or including ivory in order to determine its date and thereby assess its legality or otherwise, the only apparent commonality between them being that neither is convincing.

Do we really need elephants?  I could argue that we don't need these large, clumsy beasts. Did you study the new law and Ivory for 1000 hours and have a strong legal background?  If no, you will have to rely on other informed opinions.  Be sure to have an open mind when you do and look at opinions from all sides of the political isle.
You're missing your own point here. The question as to whether it should be illegal to sell objects made from or including ivory unless the ivory is more than 100 years old is a quite different one to that of making it illegal henceforward to cull elephants and other creatures for theirs; the matter is not at all about whether elephants and certain other creatures are "necessary".

That said, any outright ban on the industry in new ivory would in any case require universal worldwide agreement and application, otherwise it could have no effect other than in those countries that chose to impose one; banning the sale of existing artefacts that include ivory is not the same issue at all.

Furthermore, what US lawmakers might do about any of this, for whatever reason, can apply only in US and US-governed territories; it can have no influence on what the rest of the world's lawmakers can and might do.

Best,

Alistair
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The Sorabji Archive

Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #28 on: September 10, 2016, 04:37:18 PM »
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #29 on: September 10, 2016, 05:03:16 PM »
This is my last post to this thread (as edited above).  Great discussion!  I wish the best of luck to piano people and elephants.   ;)  :)
But why are you quoting yourself here?

Best,

Alistair
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #30 on: September 10, 2016, 05:23:34 PM »
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #31 on: September 10, 2016, 09:24:59 PM »
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #32 on: September 10, 2016, 10:10:59 PM »
I wish at this point only to remind anyone still reading this that the word "hysterical" was included in the OP and not, I believe, without good reason...

Best,

Alistair
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Offline irrational

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Re: Hysterical Ban on Ivory Keyed Pianos Laws, Existing and Proposed
«Reply #33 on: September 12, 2016, 10:43:50 AM »
Of my 2 pianos (Not in the US though) one is 1912 Ivory and one is 1984 elephant bone.
So are they going to start banning elephant bone too as its from the same animal (If that is even still used. I have no idea.) ?
Or is it ok if you get more material from the same animal?

Its a stupid concept.
Use war budgets to protect the vulnerable animals would be a much better and potentially more effective thing to do. And you can protect your country at the same time as it will include border security.