In August, AWI filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of a New York law restricting trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn. The 2014 law prohibits the sale, purchase, trade, or distribution of ivory and horn within New York, with certain exceptions. The Art and Antique Dealers League of America is challenging this law as unconstitutional.
AWI’s brief informed the court of the four primary reasons that the New York Assembly passed the law: (1) a catastrophic, unprecedented poaching crisis, (2) the transformation of ivory trafficking from a small-scale activity to a massive, weaponized war on wildlife dominated by sophisticated organized crime syndicates, militant groups, and terrorist organizations that sell ivory to fund criminal and terror campaigns, (3) the fact that “antique” ivory trade is often used to disguise new ivory from recently killed elephants, and (4) recognition of New York’s prominent role in the US ivory trade, a situation that was enabled by weak state laws. Furthermore, the law works: After it passed in 2014, New York experienced a drastic reduction in the number of ivory items for sale, falling from the single largest market in the United States for ivory to the third largest market.