As a way to publicize the plight of elephants, the FWS in 2013 destroyed six tons of confiscated ivory before a crowd of journalists. China, the world's largest market for ivory, followed suit, crushing six tons of ivory it had confiscated. This month, Kenya set fire to 15 metric tons of ivory to discourage poaching – knowing full well that the destruction of elephants will destroy its enormous wildlife tourism industry.
But now the Elephant Protection Association, a front group made up of ivory traders and backers associated with the National Rifle Association, has emerged to fight humane efforts at the state and federal levels. Despite hollow claims that it detests poaching, the group is fighting to maintain the current allowances for the trade in ivory, so its financial backers can continue to sell ivory trinkets, jewelry, firearms, and other vanity items. The group hardly seems troubled that elephant scientists and experts, conservationists, and enforcement officials have demonstrated that the legal trade for ivory is providing cover for the illegal trade. The FWS has said, "By significantly restricting ivory trade in the United States, it will be more difficult to launder illegal ivory into the market and thus reduce the threat of poaching to imperiled elephant populations."