New NY ban on ivory sales impacts local business

Updated: 08/13/2014 7:43 PM
Created: 08/13/2014 9:03 AM WHEC.com
By: Associated Press

Some people who sell musical instruments say a new ban intended to protect endangered animals is hurting their business.

The restrictions prohibit any ivory, or items containing ivory, to be sold unless they are antiques, educational tools or scientific tools.

Sullivan Violins provides instruments and bows to places like the Rochester Philharmonic and the Eastman School of Music, but this new rule could hurt business and its customers.

“We’re very passionate about music here,” said Ken Sullivan.

Sullivan opened his string instrument store almost a decade ago.

“We have such a large musical community here, and I realized I could be successful, and I was willing to take the plunge because of that,” Sullivan said.

But Sullivan says the new state ban on selling ivory is making a tough business even tougher. The majority of his bows contain fossil mammoth, which is almost impossible to tell apart from ivory, so he says his bows could easily be mistaken as illegal. Sullivan says he now has to spend thousands of dollars switching to plastic bow tips.

“We have to do this to protect ourselves and our customers, and that’s difficult to do. It’s just an added expense that we don’t need and shouldn’t have,” Sullivan said.

But the governor says this law sends the message that New York won’t tolerate a trade that endangers elephants and rhinos around the world. Federal law already tightly restricts ivory imports and interstate sales.

Sullivan insists these added rules make an already financially hurting art more difficult to enjoy.

“To put this on top of the other things that we have to go through, it’s really not healthy for business,” he said.

Sullivan says he’ll gradually start replacing those bow tips because it would be too expensive to get it done all at once.

The ban also applies to rhino horn and items containing it.

News10NBC/WHEC-TV welcomes your opinion and interaction on our website, but please remember to keep it clean. If you're advertising for another business, being profane, vulgar or slanderous your post will be deleted. By commenting on this website, you agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Use. Comments are not pre-screened before they posted.


76° | 63°
  • Feels like: 66° F
  • Wind: W 6mph
  • Humidity: 84%
  • Wed Mix of sun and clouds
    73° | 57°
  • Thu Considerable cloudiness
    73° | 56°
  • Fri Chance of afternoon showers
    73° | 57°
  • Sat Partly cloudy
    76° | 60°