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'Piano Man' Billy Joel will not tickle the 'ivory': Supports NY ban on sales

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Just this week a press release from the Humane Society of the United States praised the New York State Legislature as a two-house bill was introduced in the Senate and the Assembly; S7890 by State Senators Adam Lanza and Tony Avella; and A10143 by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney.

The legislation will ban the sale and purchase of elephant ivory as well as rhinoceros killings.

Famous songwriter and pianist, Billy Joel swung into action with his support. On his website the Piano Man wrote:

"I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists. But a preference for ivory does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day."

The time honored musician went on to say that music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species; rather music should call for "the celebration of life - not an instrument of death."

The legislation will amend the state's environmental law banning the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law; upon enactment the bill will take effect immediately. Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney stated:

“This legislation will protect elephants, which are being lost to the world at an outrageous rate of 96 elephants a day, all to satisfy the vanity ivory market and to finance terrorism. 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."

And this week, New Jersey took a giant step to ban the sales of ivory also. The bill, introduced by Senator Raymond Lesniak and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, would affect Newark's hub of illegal wildlife trade. Along with rhino horns, used in traditional Chinese medicine, the bill strives to protect animal and aid wildlife conservation.

The illegal poaching of elephants hit a particularly tragic note this past week when the famous elephant Sato, who dazzled travelers, humane advocates, and elephant researchers, was shot dead by a poison arrow on May 30. Sato lived in Tsavo East National Park, and his tusks were so long, they reached the ground. Unfortunately the tragic irony of his amazing tusks is said to have cost Sato his life.

New York and New Jersey are the largest importers of elephant ivory. New legislation would only allow ivory in antiques in small amounts, instruments made prior to 1975, or through the distribution of estates.

Rest in peace Sato.

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