Etsy, the website where avid DIYers, vintage lovers, and crafters can sell their wares, has an affinity with animals. Birds and foxes and bees and cows are printed on—this is just a rough estimate—about half of everything on the site. And you can find real bits and pieces of animals, there, too. On the tamer side, here’s a headdress made of “pheasant/turkey/rooster feathers.” And on the wild side, here’s a well-preserved, rather large bat.
But some of these animal parts come from endangered or threatened species. TakePart reports:
It all started in May of this year when a blogging member of the Snow Leopard Trust discovered what she believed to be a snow leopard fur collar for sale on Etsy. She notified the conservation group, which investigated the issue.
That fur turned out to be a fake, but it was enough to rattle the conservation group, which began conducting an investigation into wildlife items advertised on Etsy. Many of these products were labeled as “pre ban,” or those acquired before things like rhino horn or elephant ivory were declared illegal. TakePart:
Though the conservation group flagged questionable items and contacted Etsy, the online company did not promise action. So, the Snow Leopard Trust created a petition addressed to Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, which over 33,000 people signed.
Etsy reevaluated. The company decided that wildlife goods originating from red-listed species would not longer be allowed, even if they were labeled as pre-ban, since it’s difficult to ascertain whether an ivory trinket really is an antique or just another black market product. According to new site policy, Etsy will no longer allow members to sell fur, bones, teeth, body parts or any other product derived from endangered or threatened animals.
In 2008, Ebay undertook a similar move, banning the sale of ivory on its site. Conservation groups are hoping that, with Etsy and Ebay on board, other sites such as Craigslist, Bonanza and Google Shop—where searches regularly reveal rhino horn, parrots and ivory for sale—will follow suit.
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