WWF Singapore's support of a full ban on the sale of all ivory, with no exceptions, is an example of how some animal rights groups can lose friends and alienate people (Musicians call for ivory-ban exemption for instruments; Dec 23).
While the present-day use of ivory is unjustifiable, making a ban retroactive disregards the circumstances of history and the sensitivities of important literary and cultural individuals and groups.
In the past, significant instruments and artefacts were crafted from ivory simply because there was no other more suitable material.
Many people have a great emotional attachment to these treasured items.
They would be inconvenienced and distressed if a blanket ban were to be imposed on the sale, display and public use of these artefacts.
Other advanced nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States grant exemptions for the use, display and sale of ivory subject to strict conditions.
By being insensitive to the emotions of others, some animal rights activists may have managed to alienate people and groups who also have an interest in promoting nature conservation.
Lee Chiu San