"Threat" to types (or institutions?)

Peter Rauch peterr at VIOLET.BERKELEY.EDU
Mon Jul 10 10:15:08 CDT 1995

>Date:         Mon, 10 Jul 1995 18:13:33 SAST-2
>From: Peter Linder <PLINDER at BOTZOO.UCT.AC.ZA>

>We need to approach this problem constructively, not be making snide
>comments about the cost of insect pins, or the sure destruction of
>types in the third world.

Now, that might be taken as a snide comment. Had you read my comments
carefully, and in the context of others' preceding ones (including my
own back in prior discussions on the Lacey Act), you would understand
that I want the same things you are arguing for. The problem is, this
problem will not be addressed properly if you have people out there
saying that "these are my types" or "these are my fully-prepared,
science-ready specimens." Those types, those scientific specimens, are
the work product of many peoples' efforts, not the least of which are
attributable to international contributions.  When access to/ownership
of specimens is addressed in that context, then we will start to make
progress on making sure that everyone gets their rightful opportunity
to "own," _care for_ and _study_ the scientific material.

And, by the way, it has nothing to do with first-world/third-world. There
are tons of specimens in third world museums, well-cared-for, for which
my arguments are equally applicable. Those (third-world) institutions
have made physical and intellectual investments in _their_ specimens
(including in the ones they collected/hold from other nations), and
they deserve to have that investment recognized, and the same rules
applied, as well.

And, none of this says anything about giving scientific specimens
(returning specimens) to interested nations of specimen provenance.
If that's what people want to do, fine; I'm all for it. Let's just
have everyone understand _what_ is being given/returned.

And, finally, let's remember the roots of this thread --the UNIDROIT
proposition that _illegally_ collected and/or _illegally_ exported
specimens are subject to repatriation. That says nothing about legally
held materials. All the issues about access, expenses to visit collections,
etc, would still exist for those specimens even after any UNIDROIT
treaty were ratified.

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