Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Hillary Clinton speaks out against wildlife crime – Launches US Government to tackle it


At last some major government action against wildlife crime

November 2012. Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, has issued a stern warning against illicit trafficking of wildlife products. She announced that the U.S government is keen to pursue a policy on non-trafficking and wildlife security. Clinton said that the global value of illegal wildlife trafficking is as much as $10 billion per year, ranking it as one of the largest criminal transnational activities worldwide along with arms, drugs and human trafficking. The following is a (large) extract from her speech.

Now, some of you might be wondering why a Secretary of State is keynoting an event about wildlife trafficking and conservation, or why we are hosting this event at the State Department in the first place. Well, I think it's because, as Bob Hormats has just pointed out, and as the public service announcements reinforce, over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before.

As the middle class grows, which we all welcome and support, in many nations items like ivory or rhinoceros horn become symbols of wealth and social status. And so the demand for these goods rises. By some estimates, the black market in wildlife is rivalled in size only by trade in illegal arms and drugs. Today, ivory sells for nearly $1,000 per pound. Rhino horns are literally worth their weight in gold, $30,000 per pound.

What's more, we are increasingly seeing wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world. Local populations that depend on wildlife, either for tourism or sustenance, are finding it harder and harder to maintain their livelihoods. Diseases are spreading to new corners of the globe through wildlife that is not properly inspected at border crossings. Park rangers are being killed. And we have good reason to believe that rebel militias are players in a worldwide ivory market worth millions and millions of dollars a year.

So yes, I think many of us are here because protecting wildlife is a matter of protecting our planet's natural beauty. We see it's a stewardship responsibility for us and this generation and future generations to come. But it is also a national security issue, a public health issue, and an economic security issue that is critical to each and every country represented here.

Read on:  http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/hilary-clinton.html

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