While we share the concern to end the slaughter of animals for their tusks, we are opposed to Oregon Senate Bill 913 that would ban the sale of ivory and ivory products.
The bill would eliminate the sale and exchange of important art, antiques and native craft.
The bill has no provision for educating the public about how to identify ivory. Real ivory is not always easy to identify. For example, “French Ivory” does not contain any tusk material at all.
The bill does not provide for discretionary enforcement. It is worded in a way that would render a conviction to someone who unknowingly sells ivory.
The bill criminalizes the activities of antique dealers. But antique dealers have a vested interest in keeping new ivory out of the market. Because antique dealers want to preserve the value of older ivory, they are the first to object to reproductions of such things as Victorian art and indigenous ivory craft.
In fact, the bill could potentially increase the sale of new ivory. Because it criminalizes the sale of old ivory, antique dealers will avoid ivory altogether; they will have no incentive to warn customers about new ivory. Unscrupulous dealers will operate unchecked.
In Lafayette Schoolhouse’s 27 years of operation, no state or federal representative has consulted with us or asked our help in the control of ivory. Senate Bill 913 is directed at collectors; we would like to see a law that works with collectors.
In the Victorian Age Ivory was often used to embellish picture frames and ornate boxes like the music box at left. An April 10, 2015 article in The Oregonian advocates for SB 913 because ivory sale proceeds "often benefit insurgent terrorist groups." The article makes no reference to businesses like ours or the collectors that support us. It offers no evidence that illicit ivory sales in Oregon are out of hand. And it did not even acknowledge that a consequence of this law will be diminished access to art, history and culture.
Items pictured are on display at Lafayette Schoolhouse
We oppose Senate Bill 913 that would ban the sale of old and antique products and works of art that contain Ivory.