I generally think of eBay as a force for environmental good...creating markets for items that would otherwise be trash but, instead, get to continue being useful. But this is very upsetting. It turns out that eBay is responsible for 2/3 of the worldwide online market in products made from endangered species.
In response to the report, eBay has banned the sale of ALL items containing ivory, a huge hunk of endangered animal products. This policy change was caused by a report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which studied more than 7000 listings of illegal items on over 180 websites. eBay listed the vast majority of restricted items (not too much of a surprise, since they list the vast majority of all online auctions.) And ivory composed more than 70% of the restricted items.
We applaud eBay for pulling ivory from their pages completely. Frankly, eBay could have continued to allow ivory, since it can come from non-endangered animals like walrus, and legal pre-ban sources. But eBay decided to take action, and instead of scrutinizing every ivory post, they simply will no longer allow the auctions.
However, ivory certainly isn't the end of the endangered species trade on eBay. Hides from elephants, turtle shells, and leopard, cheetah, ocelot, lizard and crocodiles skins were all available on the site in one country or another. The fact that these items were not disallowed a decade ago is extremely disturbing and upsetting.
We all (including EBay) owe the IFAW a great deal of thanks for bringing this to light.
written by Fred, June 26, 2009
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