Religious fervor drives elephant slaughter


The legal ivory trade is failing to protect elephants which are being slaughtered en mass across the African continent to meet demand for religious trinkets, argues a new investigative report published in National Geographic by Bryan Christy.

The report, researched and written over a three year period, looked at supply and demand the elephant ivory market. It found that substantial quantities of ivory is being used to make religious trinkets including “ivory baby Jesuses and saints for Catholics in the Philippines, Islamic prayer beads for Muslims and Coptic crosses for Christians in Egypt, amulets and carvings for Buddhists in Thailand, and in China—the world’s biggest ivory-consumer country—elaborate Buddhist and Taoist carvings for investors,” according to a post on National Geographic News.

Ivory is coming primarily from the black market. The cost for elephants is high: a conservative estimate puts the slaughter at 25,000 elephants in 2011 alone.

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  1. Can anyone explain what the difference is between owning a trinket made of ivory and one made of a good plastic, or even ceramic or stone?
    Stone would surely be good? It is the oldest thing the He created; up to 6,000 years old according to some ignorant morons. Surely that would have more chic than tooth?

  2. Maybe it adds horsepower to the voodoo. “Dear God, hear my prayer which I am sending up with the magic power of these beads made from butchered elephants.”

  3.  It is a good thing I do not have power.

    If I had the power the penalty for murdering an elephant for delusional trinkets would be death.

  4. Would it be difficult to develop and manufacture synthetic ivory for the credulous masses?

  5. I think the cruelty may be part of the appeal. It’s like crocodile-skin handbags  or this image http://sarahpalininformation.f… of a hollowed-out, glassy-eyed, soulless creature whose brain was removed long ago and replaced with sawdust.

    Perhaps the ancient belief that by killing a powerful animal, one somehow inherits its strength has never completely left us; think of the popularity of shark fin soup in China. Or maybe some people are just dicks.

  6. Perhaps religious superstition could be used to counter this, say by hiring a witch doctor to sacrifice a chicken to curse the ivory trinkets.

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