African elephants are suffering through one of the worst waves of ivory-related slaughter in history. 25,000 elephants were killed this last year. Poachers enter protected areas illegally and poison, shoot, or even bomb families of elephants at a time. When the survivors return to mourn for their kin, they are often stalked and slaughtered as well. Many religious icons are carved out of ivory. The Vatican has refused to sign the CITES Treaty, which protects endangered animals by controlling the sale of specimens when it threatens the species' survival. “You shall not make for yourself an idol” is one of the ten commandments. Worshipping statues carved out of ivory is against the very teachings of Jesus Christ. Ivory is obtained by violent means for monetary gain. As "stewards of the Earth", the Vatican should immediately publicly condemn the continuing trade of ivory for religious icons and sign the CITES Treaty to help protect african elephants. If they do so, it may help to reduce the demand for the slaughter.
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