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March 24, 2011

Green Trader: Enforcing the Lacey Act

USFWSA Georgia piano company, A-440 Pianos, Inc., and its executive officer, Pascal Vieillard, were convicted this month for shipping internationally protected elephant ivory into the U.S. They pleaded guilty in November to the charges.

The action was in violation of the Lacey Act, a law that was signed in 1900 to ban the importation, processing, or selling of illegally-sourced animal products. The Lacey Act was amended in 2008 to include illegally-sourced plant products, including wood.

These ground-breaking amendments, when implemented and enforced fully, have the power to prevent deforestation and mitigate climate change by reducing the illegal timber trade. This wildlife case shows promise for the timber industry and protected forests. The Lacey Act clearly can have the teeth to force consumers and manufacturers to review their supply chains and ultimately eliminate illegally-harvested timber from the market.

For the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's news release and images of the confiscated items please click here.

(Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

-- Sara Morgan, Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program

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