Etsy announced a policy change on Monday that bans the use of endangered animal parts/products from being sold on the popular internet marketplace. The ban includes feathers, furs, bones, ivory, and taxidermy. What may be a bit surprising is that this ban applies to both vintage and non-vintage products.
What prompted the policy change, and what will be removed from Etsy’s stores? Details under the cut.
These are some of the banned animals in question, from the U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service’s list of Threatened and Endangered Species:
- Elkhorn and Staghorn Coral
- Sea lion
The ban is international, as well– they may be using American wildlife policy as guidelines, but these new rules are not bound solely to the US.
The one exception to the animal parts ban is for Native Alaskans, who “use traditional subsistence methods”. They are allowed to continue selling “items made from animal materials as long as they adhere to applicable U.S. laws.”
So why the policy change? From Etsy’s announcement:
When Etsy became a certified B Corporation last year, we made a lasting commitment to lead by our values and use the power of business to help solve social and environmental problems in our world. Among those values is our belief that it’s important for our company and our community to minimize our impact on the depletion of scarce natural resources. Today we take a step forward to help protect the diverse species of wildlife with which we share our planet.
Antique and vintage products are banned because of the difficulties tracking their legal status. Etsy expanded upon this part of their reasoning:
The risk that the legal status of these items may be unknown or mislabeled is too great, and continued sale of these items, though potentially legal, stands to perpetuate market demand and further jeopardize the existence of these species.
Etsy expected waves of backlash after announcing the controversial and strict policy, but apparently (in a strange turn of events for the internet!) the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. Happy, supportive comments from environmentally-conscious Etsy sellers and reports of chinchillas doing a “happy dance” have filled the comments section of the post.
Way to defy internet odds and avoid trolls, Etsy! Hats off to you.
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