other arrests!

Doug Yanega dyanega at mono.icb.ufmg.br
Tue Sep 23 10:01:49 EDT 1997

Mark Walker wrote:

>I, too, am against commercialized exploitation of Leps and other fauna.  It is
>very bad for my hobby.  But you haven't made an exception for non-exploitive or
>non-commercial collecting of common species by amateur hobbyists like me.  Can
>you explain?  Can you justify?

To be on the safe side. If for no other reason than the only assurance
anyone has that you are NOT a commercial dealer is your word. Yes, this is
a case of a few unscrupulous folks ruining things for everyone else. Maybe
if there were official international policies of royalty payment to the
country of origin for all sales of wild-caught plant and animal products,
and no transactions in such products was legal without appropriate
paperwork, this "ban collecting" approach could be avoided. But that
involves a lot of work for the governments involved, for VERY little
material benefit. The salary of even the two or three staff members it
might take to oversee such things would probably exceed the income via
royalties and fees, and if there WERE more traffic, then it would take more
staff members, too. This wouldn't stop the black market, either. Hard to
find a genuine win-win situation, as long as there are people determined to
cheat the system.

>Still, it seems to me that a butterfly collection (which ultimately
>belongs in a museum) could be created and enjoyed for it's aesthetic value, and
>not prized for it's economic value.  That is to say that an amateur collector
>such as I would ideally have no other motive but to glory in the diversity of
>creation - not to try and _complete_the_set_ or possess the _Mantle
>_rookie_card_ (to move the analogy from postage stamps to baseball cards).
>If that were the case, I suspect I would not be inclined to whine.

I understand, really I do. But things are getting worse along those lines,
not better. Just go into a coin, stamp, sport card, or comic book store and
look around and listen. The "collection as investment" mentality has
COMPLETELY taken over, and virtually nothing is collected simply for the
joy of collecting any more. Go to a bookstore and look at how many
collectible price guides and catalogs you can find, and for what sorts of
things. Compare what sorts of pre-fab collectibles existed 20 years ago to
now (in sport cards alone, there used to be ONE company - Topps - that made
THREE types of cards: baseball cards, football cards, and hockey cards. NOW
look at how many different alternatives exist!). Amazing and appalling.


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-448-1223, fax: 031-44-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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