This CITES meeting is over, and the proposal to end the live trade in wild-caught African elephants passed! Unfortunately, however, the US did not vote in favor of the proposal.
The parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are meeting right now in Geneva, including a delegation from the United States. This meeting occurs only once every three years, and can result in momentous decisions that impact the global trade in wildlife.
Earlier this week, we saw a historic, but temporary, win for African elephants when a proposal to prohibit the cruel practice of removing live elephants from the wild for export to captive facilities passed a committee. Forty-six CITES parties voted in favor of it.
In order for this proposal to be finalized, it may need to pass another vote next week. Unfortunately, the US voted against the proposal in committee and is also lobbying other parties to oppose it ahead of the second vote. It's vital that the US be a leader in promoting important conservation measures on the international stage, but these actions fall sadly short of that goal.
Help us put public pressure on the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which is part of the US delegation to CITES, to change their position ahead of next week's vote. Social media is a powerful tool to get this message out, so Facebook and/or Twitter can be used to hold them accountable.
Here are some sample posts you can use, or you can draft your own (be sure to tag @USFWS on both Twitter and Facebook, and use the hashtag #StopLiveTrade):
Earlier this week, delegates from parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) delivered a historic, but temporary, win for African elephants by voting to end the cruel practice of removing live elephants from the wild for export to zoos and circuses. Sadly, the US voted against ending this barbaric trade. Elephants are social and emotional creatures who form strong family bonds and suffer tremendously in captivity, both physically and psychologically. The @USFWS should align itself with the views held by the vast majority of Americans, and change its vote if the proposal is reopened next week. #StopLiveTrade
The live, wild #elephant trade is horrifically cruel - baby elephants are torn from their mothers, beaten and kicked, shipped in cramped cages, and face lives of miserable captivity. @USFWS, please don't vote again at #CITES in favor of this trade. #COP18 #StopLiveTrade
The negative animal welfare impacts of the live, wild #elephant trade are indisputable, and it's been condemned by @IUCN, 31 African countries, and many eminent elephant biologists. @USFWS, join these experts and vote to end the trade at #CITES #COP18. #StopLiveTrade
Since 2012, Zimbabwe has exported 108 wild African elephants to zoos. There is no benefit to conservation in ripping these animals away from their families and homes - it's just about profit. @USFWS, abandon support for this barbaric trade at #CITES #COP18. #StopLiveTrade
Please also share this eAlert with your friends, family, and coworkers, and urge them to use social media to ask the USFWS to reverse its position at CITES and vote to oppose the export of wild elephants into captivity.