Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Because There Is Absolutely Nothing Else We Need To Be Concerned With at the Moment

 

This is part of a letter that was just circulated by the League of American Orchestras:

On February 25, 2014, new strict limits immediately took effect for traveling internationally with instruments that contain African elephant ivory. Following a new Obama Administration effort to protect African elephants from poaching by combatting illegal trade in ivory, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ordered strict enforcement procedures related to the Endangered Species Act and the African Elephant Conservation Act.

According to the order, many instruments containing African elephant ivory will not be allowed into the U.S., even if a musician is simply returning to the U.S. with instruments in their personal possession, not intended for sale. Under the rules, a musical instrument that contains African elephant ivory may only be brought into the U.S. if it meets all of the following criteria: was legally acquired prior to February 26, 1976; has not subsequently been transferred from one person to another person for financial gain or profit since February 26, 1976; the person or group qualifies for a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) musical instrument certificate; and the musical instrument containing African elephant ivory is accompanied by a valid CITES musical instrument certificate or an equivalent CITES document.

A great many professional orchestra musicians, particularly string players, perform with instruments that contain small amounts of ivory, most frequently found in the tips of bows. Most of these musical instruments, while legally manufactured and acquired, would have been purchased after 1976, and will now be prohibited from entering into the U.S.

There has long been a requirement, when buying a new bow containing ivory, to register it and pay a $75 fee for what amounted to a bow passport: a document the musician could show at a border crossing that would allow the bow to enter the US. This new regulation overrides those passports. It bars all bows containing even minute amounts of ivory in their frogs, documentation or none, if they do not meet the four above-listed criteria. If they were bought after 1976, or if their documentation has been lost along the way, they are prohibited. 

So border officials will now be authorized to confiscate, and possibly destroy, the bows of violinists and cellists, in case the indignity of being physically manhandled and treated like a suspect at a border crossing isn’t quite enough. This has consequences, obviously, not only for American orchestral musicians and soloists traveling abroad on their return journeys, but also for foreign musicians who might think twice about coming to the US, which has apparently gone off the deep end completely.

A TSA official now has the authority to snap Yo-Yo Ma’s bow across his knee, but we really need to ease travel restrictions on people “who gave “limited” support to terrorists or terrorist groups.” But priorities are a matter of personal philosophy, no? Who’s to say who’s right?

Rest easy, African elephants. The US has got your back. 

(Hat tip: Michael Totten)

There are 12 comments.

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  1. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy CarterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    As a TEXAN-American My biggest concern, after all this legalizing marijuana, was the increasing unemployment rate upon Mexican mules. I’m glad to see Our government addressing the issue.

    • #1
    • March 16, 2014, at 4:57 AM PDT
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  2. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Judith,

    If you like your tusks you can keep your tusks.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
    • March 16, 2014, at 4:59 AM PDT
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  3. Israel P. Inactive

    Too bad donkeys don’t have ivory tusks.

    • #3
    • March 16, 2014, at 5:50 AM PDT
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  4. Jules PA Member

    If you’ve ever heard Yo-Yo Ma play, he could charm the scanning wand from TSA agents, if they just let him play with his ‘illegal’ bow.

    How does the security guard at the airport know the difference between real ivory and the imitation ivory? 

    The bows with ivory on them tend to be older, made before the era of insanity which seems to have begun @1976. They are rare, and more VALUABLE, even though there must surely be exceptions since 1976. In many cases, these bows and instruments are great works of art, that are also used by great artists to create great performances.

    What happens to those bows when they are confiscated? Will they be hoarded like the great masterpieces stolen by the Third Reich? 

    What is laughable is that the ivory used in a bow is so small, it could hardly make a dent in the demand for illegally trafficked ivory. 

    What about jewelry containing ivory? Or gemstones, or an engagement ring made with platinum and South African Diamonds? Is that next on the list for a tax and a special passport. Is there no end to the insanity?

    • #4
    • March 16, 2014, at 5:54 AM PDT
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  5. Sandy Member

    Idiotic, tyrannical philistines.

     Meanwhile Gibson has struck back with their “government series guitars.” If you read the linked article, you’ll see that [n]otably, one of Gibson’s biggest competitors, C.F. Martin & Co., reportedly uses the same type of wood seized from Gibson’s, but did not face any kind of interference from the federal government. The Examiner reports that Chris Martin IV, CEO of C.F. Martin & Co., is a well-known Democratic fundraiser. 

    Perhaps a little donation from the American Federation of Musicians would do the trick.

    • #5
    • March 16, 2014, at 6:36 AM PDT
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  6. captainpower Inactive
    Because There Is Absolutely Nothing Else We Need To Be Concerned With at the Moment

    Judith Levy, Ed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_relative_privation

    … the opponent’s argument should be ignored because there are more important problems in the world, despite the fact that these issues are often completely unrelated to the subject under discussion.

    This dismissive technique is used by those on the left as well, and is not helpful in uncovering the merits of an effort.

    Also, concern does not equate to authority. If I am concerned about a large issue over which I have no control, perhaps my time and energy is better spent on a smaller issue over which I do have control.

    • #6
    • March 16, 2014, at 8:55 AM PDT
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  7. Diogenes Inactive

    Since they tend to consider themselves part of the arts community, I bet the percentage of professional musicians who voted for Obama was on the high end. I would also bet than many of these people are feeling betrayed right now. Schadenfreude rules!

    • #7
    • March 16, 2014, at 9:03 AM PDT
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  8. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Fly private planes, for the time being…even use private planes as a shipping service just like law firms use them for time sensitive documents. FedEx can lose things. The road to no beautiful music seems to be paved with good intentions.

    • #8
    • March 16, 2014, at 9:10 AM PDT
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  9. Pencilvania Inactive

    Wow – we have a piano that’s quite old, I’m sure the keys are ivory. Had no idea the little old Episcopal church lady we got it from was a trafficker in illegal contraband. These smugglers are getting smarter and smarter.

    Sounds like they’re trying to decrease the number of foreign musicians into the country to me. Instrumental isolationists!

    • #9
    • March 16, 2014, at 11:29 AM PDT
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  10. Blue State Blues Member
    Blue State BluesJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    captainpower
    Because There Is Absolutely Nothing Else We Need To Be Concerned With at the Moment

    Judith Levy, Ed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_relative_privation

    … the opponent’s argument should be ignored because there are more important problems in the world, despite the fact that these issues are often completely unrelated to the subject under discussion.

    This dismissive technique is used by those on the left as well, and is not helpful in uncovering the merits of an effort.

    Also, concern does not equate to authority. If I am concerned about a large issue over which I have no control, perhaps my time and energy is better spent on a smaller issue over which I do have control. · 2 hours ago

    Edited 2 hours ago

    The “fallacy of relative privation” does not apply here. This is a question of where limited resources are best deployed, which is a real issue, not a fallacy.

    • #10
    • March 16, 2014, at 11:29 AM PDT
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  11. Nerina Bellinger Inactive

    We just got notice of this development as my son’s youth orchestra is getting ready to travel to France in April. Just insane.

    • #11
    • March 17, 2014, at 1:01 AM PDT
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  12. Meredith Dickenson Inactive

    The heavy hand of government stupidity strikes again.

    • #12
    • March 17, 2014, at 12:26 PM PDT
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