Thursday, June 12, 2008

Harrison Ford and State Department Treat Endangered Critters as Cultural Property

Harrison Ford, the State Department and a wildlife advocacy group have all teamed up to make a series of PSAs decrying the trafficking in animal parts from endangered species. See: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/jun/105507.htm,

While I am all for protecting endangered animals, it was pointed out to me that in doing so State is also suggesting that wildlife trafficking is bad because the animals in question "belong" to nation states as "natural and nature-based assets."

Does that mean that if a foreign country promotes the use of indigenous tiger parts for traditional medicine it's ok?

I also have to wonder if Harrison Ford and the State Department are also working on PSAs that will expose the evils of collecting "illicit cultural property" now that Ford has joined the AIA board. If so, I hope they will at least avoid implying that any artifact without a detailed ownership history should be "deemed stolen."

But why stop there? While they are at it, perhaps Ford and State will also do a PSA warning archaeologists about the evils of collaborating with rogue states like that of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Recent history shows there is some need for that.

1 comment:

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