“It is said that the legal trade in grain alcohol provides an opportunity for laundering large quantities of illicit alcohol.”
When was the last time you went to a blind-pig to buy some bathtub gin? Ok, that makes no sense. Now replace “alcohol” with “ivory” – and we’re supposed to believe that all of a suddent the statement is gospel? No. The legitimization of trade causes black markets to evaporate – they can only “compete,” they only exist where legitimate trade is outlawed.
It’s quite simple, really: permitting the Ivory Trade allows for the proper valuation of ivory. People will raise Elephants to profit from the sale of ivory. Right now, elephants are a “public good,” that is, everyone pays for them and nobody gives a sufficient shit about them. The various governments of Africa (and Asia) have far bigger problems than protecting some stupid animal, and as a result, they aren’t protected. The people of Africa (and Asia) have far bigger concerns than enjoying the presence of some stupid animal, and as a result, they kill them and trade the ivory for things they need more than the sight of a big, dumb tusky-thing.
As a result of the commercial breeding of elephants, they would no longer be an endangered species. After all, we slaughter millions of pigs and cows every year (day?). When was the last time you couldn’t get a hamburger or a rack of ribs? When elephants are no longer public property, they’ll no longer be subjected to the tragedy of the commons.