Billy Joel pens letter to support NY illegal ivory ban

Billy Joel has written an open letter expressing his support for a New York bill against the sale of illegal ivory and rhinoceros horns in the state.

“I wholeheartedly support the ivory sales ban bill pending in New York State,” Joel writes on his website. “I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists. But a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day. There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced. Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species. Music should be a celebration of life – not an instrument of death.”

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday (June 18th) that an agreement has been made with legislative leaders on a bill to restrict the market for ivory articles and rhinoceros horns in New York state. The bill prohibits transactions involving these materials with very limited exceptions and increases the criminal and civil penalties for individuals who violate this law.

“The illegal ivory trade has no place in New York State, and we will not stand for individuals who violate the law by supporting it,” Governor Cuomo states. “This bill expands restrictions on the sale of ivory materials and toughens penalties against those who sell them, helping to curtail the rise of a dangerous and cruel industry that is endangering animals around the world.”

“There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys.”

New York is the leading world market for illegal ivory sales in which 20,000 African elephants were slaughtered in 2013 alone by poachers who are supporting terrorism and drug trade.

Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney states, “The enactment of this bill recognizes the significant impact our state can have on clamping down on illegal ivory sales in order to save elephants from the ruthless poaching operations run by terrorists and organized crime.”

Many species are near extinction due to the demand for unlicensed wildlife products like ivory and rhinoceros horns which also create an economic incentive for this illegal activity. In 2012, the New York State Department of Environmental and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service jointly seized more than $2 million worth of elephant ivory from jewelers based in New York City. This bill will expand the scope of materials that are considered illegal and strengthened penalties to further discourage violations.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.