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Tricks of the ivory trade

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EDITORIAL

Ivory needs a new approach

4 Mar 2013

For well over two decades, the government and parliament have been wildly out of sync with the people they claim to represent. Over the next 10 days, officials and politicians are going to hear this, sometimes in harsh and unpleasant terms. The occasion is the meeting in Bangkok of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

World bodies, representatives of 176 nations and many non-government organisations will be harsh critics of their hosts on what they see as shortcomings in Thai laws and actions. Often, they will be right.

The fact is that Thailand has lost its edge as a protector of its environment. Some even say it never had such an edge. But the truth is that conservation battles in Thailand have taken on a double face. On one side, it is the country that banned the sale of chainsaws, but then watched many of its protected forests and mangroves fall anyway. It set aside tens of thousands of rai of protected land, chased away the traditional inhabitants - and then allowed resorts and big businesses to intrude.  

The Cites delegates have come to Bangkok with many items on their agenda, but one big issue dominates - elephants. It is the opinion of many that the Thai law on ivory art has helped to drive both a demand and supply for elephant tusks in a way that actually causes extensive poaching in Africa. Weeks ago, the demand started to build that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should take a personal stand for a law to outlaw the ivory trade in Thailand entirely.

Certainly, as of today, that would be the easy thing to do. The promise of a new law banning all ivory sales and trading could make the convention happy. It could create positive comment worldwide about Ms Yingluck and the country. But as with the chainsaws, the protected parkland and a dozen other important environmental issues, a new law could be even worse than the present situation.

Right now, smugglers often get past customs officers in half a dozen countries, including Thailand. Ivory goes into the backrooms of artisans as contraband, and comes out rebranded as domestic ivory from elephants who have died at a happy old age. There is no doubt tonnes of ivory is involved, and most of it is from African countries.

But a simple ban on the ivory trade would only push the entire industry underground. A ban on the ivory trade is far different from an effective ban. If Ms Yingluck is serious about involving Thailand in the worldwide effort to protect elephants, she and the country will have to commit to a meaningful process, and then actually carry it through.

For the moment, forget Africa. The local ivory trade is corrupt. Ivory dealers and elephant keepers collude to kill wild Thai elephants and forge documents "proving" they are domesticated. A simple registration of elephants, enforced with electronic chips, would be cheap and effective. But corrupt ivory traders and poachers are against it. Ms Yingluck can help to protect elephants worldwide with better laws and regulations that are backed up by enforcement. Education campaigns must let the public know that owning new ivory is no longer a symbol of high class, but of low. Any ban on ivory trading must begin with honest enforcement and a national commitment. Otherwise, such a ban will be meaningless.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Opinion, EDITORIAL, Ivory needs a new approach, 4 Mar 2013, link

 
Illegal Ivory Trade Vocabulary

ivory - the yellowish-white bone that an elephant's tusks are made of สีงาช้าง

trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย, การค้า, การขาย
ivory trade

traders -
people and companies who buy and sell things ผู้ค้า,  พ่อค้า
ivory traders

tusks - the two very long white teeth of an elephant งาช้าง
elephant tusks

poaching
- to illegally kill or catch an animal การบุกรุกเข้าไปล่าสัตว์
elephant poaching

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) - an international treaty that many countries have signed with the goal to "ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 34,000 species of animals and plants" (See Wikipedia)

endangered species - kinds of animals with very few still living (may soon disappear completely) สัตว์ใกล้สูญพันธุ์

approach - a way of doing or dealing with something การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย
a new approach

needs a new approach
Ivory needs a new approach

decades - periods of ten years เป็นสิบๆปี
For well over two decades, ... - has been true for over 20 years

claim - saying something is true without proving it yet
represent - when a person speaks and acts for a large group of people

claim
to represent - to say that you represent some group of people
the people they claim to represent

parliament - the elected group of people in the government of a country who discuss national issues and make the laws รัฐสภา

in sync - working together well (at the same time, same speed, same way) 
out of sync - not in sync; not working together well
wildly out of sync - very much not in sync

the government and parliament have been wildly out of sync with the people they claim to represent.

harsh - strict, unkind and very strong อย่างรุนแรง
hear in harsh and unpleasant terms

Over the next 10 days, officials and politicians are going to hear this, sometimes in harsh and unpleasant terms.

occasion
- 1. a special or important time or event; 2. a time that is a good time for something to be done or happen (opportunity)
meeting - when a group of people come together to discuss issues and make decisions การประชุม

The occasion is the meeting in Bangkok of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

For well over two decades, the government and parliament have been wildly out of sync with the people they claim to represent. Over the next 10 days, officials and politicians are going to hear this, sometimes in harsh and unpleasant terms. The occasion is the meeting in Bangkok of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

critics - people who don't like something and who state their opinion about it นักวิจารณ์
harsh critics - strong critics, people who really many things that are wrong (faults)
harsh critics of their hosts

host - the person, organization or country that holds or puts on an event
harsh critics of their hosts

shortcomings - faults and weaknesses (things that could be better; could be improved)
shortcomings in Thai laws and actions

what they see as shortcomings in Thai laws and actions

World bodies, representatives of 176 nations and many non-government organisations will be harsh critics of their hosts on what they see as shortcomings in Thai laws and actions. Often, they will be right.

environment - the natural world of land, sea, plants, and animals
protector of the environment

lost its edge -
lost its edge as a protector of its environment.
The fact is that Thailand has lost its edge as a protector of its environment.

conservation - the protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity อนุรักษ์ การอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ, การป้องกันความสูญเสีย, การสงวนไว้
conservation battles

double - to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า
double face

Some even say it never had such an edge. But the truth is that conservation battles in Thailand have taken on a double face.

banned - officially not allowed to do something ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ ถูกตัดสิทธิ
banned the sale of chainsaws

mangroves
protected mangroves

On one side, it is the country that banned the sale of chainsaws, but then watched many of its protected forests and mangroves fall anyway.

set aside
set aside tens of thousands of rai of protected land

traditional - things (clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time
inhabitants - people or animals that live in an area สิ่งมีชีวิตในบริเวณ
the traditional inhabitants

chase away - to make a person leave a place by running after them and threatening them (so they run away from a place)
chased away the traditional inhabitants

intrude - to enter a place where you shouldn't be
allowed resorts and big businesses to intrude

It set aside tens of thousands of rai of protected land, chased away the traditional inhabitants - and then allowed resorts and big businesses to intrude. 

The fact is that Thailand has lost its edge as a protector of its environment. Some even say it never had such an edge. But the truth is that conservation battles in Thailand have taken on a double face. On one side, it is the country that banned the sale of chainsaws, but then watched many of its protected forests and mangroves fall anyway. It set aside tens of thousands of rai of protected land, chased away the traditional inhabitants - and then allowed resorts and big businesses to intrude. 

agenda - a list of goals or issues to be discussed at a meeting กำหนดการ, วาระ ระเบียบวาระ
many items on their agenda

issue - a subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น
big issue - a very important issue

dominate -
to be greater than all the others (to control all or be more important than all the others)
one big issue dominates - elephants

delegates - people attending and going to a big meeting or convention 
Cites delegates

The Cites delegates have come to Bangkok with many items on their agenda, but one big issue dominates - elephants.


the Thai law on ivory art

demand - the need and desire to buy goods and services by households and businesses

trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย

extensive - includes a wide variety ที่มีมากมาย
extensive poaching in Africa.

demand - the amount that people want to buy
supply -
the amount available to buy
supply and demand - the two things that work together to determine the amount that people sell and buy in the market along with the price

drive - cause, control, determine something
helps to drive
 
helps to drive supply and demand - helps determined the amount that people want and the amount available to buy
helps to drive demand and supply for elephant tusks

It is the opinion of many that the Thai law on ivory art has helped to drive both a demand and supply for elephant tusks in a way that actually causes extensive poaching in Africa.

personal - something that you have as a person (not a group thing)

take a stand - to state publicly that you believe something strongly and will act on this belief
take a personal stand  
take a personal stand for a law to outlaw the ivory trade

Weeks ago, the demand started to build that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should take a personal stand for a law to outlaw the ivory trade in Thailand entirely.

convention - a large formal meeting of people who do a particular job or have a similar interest, or a large meeting for a political party การประชุม

positive
- good ที่ดี  something good ในแง่ดี  สิ่งที่ดี
comment - to express an opinion แสดงความคิดเห็น remark, telling what you think or what your opinion is about an issue หมายเหตุ
positive comment

issues - an important subect that people are discussing and debating about  ประเด็น
environmental issues

Certainly, as of today, that would be the easy thing to do. The promise of a new law banning all ivory sales and trading could make the convention happy. It could create positive comment worldwide about Ms Yingluck and the country. But as with the chainsaws, the protected parkland and a dozen other important environmental issues, a new law could be even worse than the present situation.

customs - the government agency that checks goods entering the country and collects import taxes (tariffs) on them   ด่านศุลกากร
customs officers

smugglers - people who bring things illegally into a country
smugglers often get past customs officers

artisans - a job that requires skill with your hands งานฝีมือ
the backrooms of artisans

contraband - illegal goods
Ivory goes into the backrooms of artisans as contraband

domestic - from within the country ภายในประเทศ
domestic ivory

rebranded - with the name changed
comes out rebranded as domestic ivory

Right now, smugglers often get past customs officers in half a dozen countries, including Thailand. Ivory goes into the backrooms of artisans as contraband, and comes out rebranded as domestic ivory from elephants who have died at a happy old age.

doubt
- not know for sure if something is true or false, uncertain
no doubt - certainly

there is no doubt ....
There is no doubt tonnes of ivory is involved, and most of it is from African countries.

simple - easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
ban - an official statement ordering people not to do something ห้าม การห้าม ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ
simple ban

underground - hidden illegal activity (when some illegal activity is done secretly, so it cannot be seen by the public or the police) 
push underground

a ban would push the industry underground
a simple ban on the ivory trade would only push the entire industry underground.

effective - producing the result that was intended ได้ผลดี works well, gets the job done
an effective ban.
A ban on the ivory trade is far different from an effective ban.

effort - an attempt to do something;  the energy and enthusiasm that people put into an activity ความพยายาม
worldwide effort
the worldwide effort to protect elephants

meaningful - serious, useful, and important มีความหมาย สลักสำคัญ
process - a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
a meaningful process - to do a series of things to solve a problem (that really will solve the problem)

commit - to promise to do something ให้คำมั่นสัญญา
commit to a meaningful process

the country will have to commit to a meaningful process, and then actually carry it through

If Ms Yingluck is serious about involving Thailand in the worldwide effort to protect elephants, she and the country will have to commit to a meaningful process, and then actually carry it through

But a simple ban on the ivory trade would only push the entire industry underground. A ban on the ivory trade is far different from an effective ban. If Ms

Yingluck is serious about involving Thailand in the worldwide effort to protect elephants, she and the country will have to commit to a meaningful process, and then actually carry it through

moment - a very short period of time; a particular time or occasionชั่วขณะ, โอกาสสำคัญ
for the moment, ... - meaning: we won't discuss this issue in this writing right now ....
For the moment, forget Africa.

local - in this country (Thailand)
the local ivory trade
the local ivory trade is corrupt

elephant keepers - the people who look after elephants

forge documents - make legal documents that look real but are not (fake documents) in order to break the law

collude - work together secretly to do something harmful or dishonest การสมรู้ร่วมคิด  สมรู้ร่วมคิด
collude to kill wild Thai elephants

Ivory dealers and elephant keepers collude to kill wild Thai elephants and forge documents "proving" they are domesticated.

registration - recording in an official list
electronic chips - the small computer chips that are seen in ID cards and bank cards nowadays

A simple registration of elephants, enforced with electronic chips, would be cheap and effective.

regulations - official rules that control the way that things are done ระเบียบปฏิบัติ ระเบียบ ข้อบังคับ  กฎระเบียบ
backed - supported ให้การสนับสนุน
enforcement - making sure a law is obeyed and punishing people if it is not obeyed บังคับใช้กฎหมาย การบังคับใช้กฎหมาย

better laws and regulations that are backed up by enforcement

But corrupt ivory traders and poachers are against it. Ms Yingluck can help to protect elephants worldwide with better laws and regulations that are backed up by enforcement.

campaigns - a long series of events staged to achieve a goal or to promote something (for example, an "anti-smoking campaign")
education campaigns

Education
campaigns must let the public know that owning new ivory is no longer a symbol of high class, but of low.

national
- for the whole country
commitment - a promise to do something in the future การใ้ห้คำมั่น   การมอบความไว้วางใจ ข้อผูกมัด, ข้อสัญญา, ความรับผิดชอบ
national commitment

Any ban on ivory trading must begin with honest enforcement and a national commitment. Otherwise, such a ban will be meaningless.

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