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Tell Etsy.com to stop treating endangered animals as products!

[Update, 5/31:

Tell Etsy to ban all listings containing parts of endangered animals from their site, regardless of legal status!

As we've recently learned from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services*, it is not only illegal to sell any products made from endangered animals, including “vintage” items, to a buyer in another state, it's also prohibited under the Endangered Species Act to offer such products for sale in another state, including on a website like Etsy.

Etsy's existing policies ban "illegal animal products" from their site. However, they don’t provide any details on what this entails. As they are offered for sale across state lines, many of the so-called “pre-ban” items made with parts of endangered animals currently for sale on Etsy appear to be listed illegally. Others, in particular the hundreds of items containing ivory, may or may not be illegal, depending on their provenance. As it is often difficult for sellers or buyers to assess where a particular item is from and when it was made, it’s next to impossible to determine if it can be legally sold even within the borders of a state.

Etsy’s lack of a clear policy prohibiting ALL products made with parts of endangered animals not only leaves the site vulnerable to being exploited as an outlet for illegally poached products from endangered animals, it also puts sellers and buyers at risk, potentially leaving them open to legal repercussions.

We've informed Etsy about the new information we've received from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and reaffirmed our request that they step up and close the door on the trade of parts of endangered animals once and for all.

*Excerpt from the US Fish & Wildlife Services' email:

Section 1538 (a) (1) (F) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits the sale or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce of any endangered species.

You can view the text of the ESA on our website at: http://www.fws.gov/le/USStatutes/ESA.pdf]

 

Original post, 5/29/13:

As Sibylle Noras from the Snow Leopard Network first reported on her blog, the world’s leading craft marketplace, Etsy.com, is complicit in selling endangered animal products including snow leopard fur!

Listing for snow leopard fur coat on Etsy

Coat listed on Etsy.com as "real snow leopard fur"

Among the products listed on the site right now is was a woman’s coat advertised with “genuine real snow leopard fur” collar. [update 5/31: the listing has been updated and no longer mentions snow leopard fur. It remains active though]

Since the coat is “vintage”, it can be legally sold within state borders. [update 5/31: offering it for sale across state lines, including on Etsy, appears to be illegal though.]

However, we believe that Etsy should follow the lead of online retailers such as EbayAmazon or iOffer and adopt a policy banning any product made with parts of endangered animals from their site altogether – regardless of legal issues.

Sign our petition on Care2.com and tell Etsy.com to stop treating endangered species as products!

 

 

Angelina Perdomo says:

I hope that Etsy will follow the lead of other companies and start showing respect for endangered species.

May 29, 2013, 7:18 pm

Sibylle Noras says:

Thanks to the Snow Leopard Trust in taking this further. Etsy is an excellent global marketplace for small business and artists but we hope that they will accept their social responsibility in the same way Ebay has done and educates its sellers about not advertising endangered species fur and parts. Ebay also has staff 24/7 looking at its sellers listings and will immediately act to take any such listing off.
We ask Etsy to have the same policy.and not support the global trade in endangered species..

May 30, 2013, 1:37 am

Barbara Harris says:

It has always been my understanding that ANY sale of endangered species in the U.S. is illegal, out of state or not. It makes no difference whether the item is “vintage” or not. Please continue to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service anytime you see such listings.

June 8, 2013, 2:24 pm

Julie says:

never a truer word ye meat eaters who spew our world with synthetic fibers and plastics, polluting the air and killing the streams of the animals environment. More animals are endangered by habitiat destruction and pollution than even the fur trade..

Other band wagons to jump on while your jumping….!!

vintage fur should be legal to sell, trade or use (just like ivory, tortoise, walrus – it is not promoting anything and is a testiment to our history good or bad …. we learn from it what we want to do and not – you cant just put it away and hide it – or you will later on—repeat it.

July 26, 2013, 12:41 pm

matthias says:

Thanks for your comment, Julie. Fur trade and habitat destruction are both major threats to endangered species, and we’re fighting against both of them as best we can. If we could magically ensure that the cats’ habitat is safe from pollution, we certainly would. Saving snow leopards and other endangered animals is complex, and we know it’s going to take both big and small steps. Banning the trade in vintage fur (or other parts of endangered species) may seem like one of the smaller steps, but it’s a step nonetheless – and it’s one that’s relatively easy to take.

July 26, 2013, 1:26 pm

matthias says:

Thank you for your comment Barbara. As far as we’ve been able to determine, items acquired before the Endangered Species Act (so-called vintage or pre-ban items) can be legally sold within state lines in the US if the seller has proper documentation proving the origin of the item. Any other sale or offer for sale is illegal.

July 26, 2013, 1:28 pm

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