Target: Larry Page, CEO of Google
Goal: Prevent the sale and advertisement of ivory and whale products on Google in Asia
In Japan, as many as 10,000 Google shopping ads promote ivory sales, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency. Activists say this encourages poaching of endangered elephants, who have endured a species loss of 62 percent over the last ten years. The EIA says that 1,400 additional Japanese ads target products garnered from endangered whale species.
Google has enacted policies meant to prevent the advertisement and sale of products that encourage poaching of endangered species. Whale products and elephant ivory are specifically prohibited, according to Google regulations. The company supposedly reviews and removes any ads that promote the sale of these products. However, some foreign ads may be slipping under the radar.
Ivory products are particularly popular in Japan, where they may be listed in advertisements under different names. For example, certain stamps in Japan, carved with the unique signature of the owner, are often made out of ivory. These “hanko” stamps are then advertised on Google, passing the company’s anti-ivory investigation by not explicitly using the word “ivory” in their descriptions.
Although Google’s regulations against ivory and other products that harm endangered species are admirable in theory, evidence shows that they are not being enforced with the utmost accuracy. Ask Google to forbid internet sales and advertising of harmful ivory and whale products.
Dear Mr. Page,
Despite Google’s strict regulations forbidding the advertisement and sale of ivory and whale products, evidence shows that several products are slipping under the radar. Japanese “hanko” stamps, for example, are often made of ivory but may not be advertised as such. I ask that you spend more time and resources eradicating each product that harms endangered species, especially in foreign markets where these products may be more difficult to detect.
The Environmental Investigation Agency has found as many as 10,000 advertisements for ivory-related products. The Agency has also found 1,400 ads that may contain whale products. Many of these ads target East Asian markets.
The world’s elephant population has diminished by over 60 percent in the last 10 years. This is due in part to the high demand for ivory products and the promotion of such products on popular, international websites like your own. Google leads its industry, and it is essential that you take a firm and proactive stance against poaching. Please eradicate all products containing ivory and whale from Google shopping advertisements.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Schuyler Shepherd via Wikimedia