The scoop from Giraffic Park | Marcel Strigberger

By Marcel Strigberger

Law360 Canada (October 20, 2023, 2:30 PM EDT) --
Marcel Strigberger
Planning a trip to the U.S.? Want to bring in some giraffe feces? Tempted? As President Biden would say in one word, “Don’t.”

A woman from Iowa recently returned from Kenya bringing with her a box of giraffe poop as she arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. Good thing for her she actually declared the product with customs. She told them she was going to use the stuff to make a necklace. In the past she crafted a similar expression of art using moose poop. Given that she declared what was in that box, she was not charged.

I do wonder how she obtained her raw materials. Did she go to Kenya on a safari? If so I imagine her guide was no doubt curious why instead of a camera she carried around a spade and scoop from Pet Smart. I guess Kenyan laws do not prohibit the export of giraffe doo doo.

However, if you do want to bring over some giraffe poo, you should know there is a window of opportunity. You can actually do it as long as you obtain a permit. You see U.S. Customs and Border Protection advises that there is a high possibility of fecal matter from Kenya carrying with it diseases, such as African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and Newcastle disease. The latter one certainly has an ironic twist. I have heard of bringing coal to Newcastle but here we have a case of possibly someone bringing Newcastle to Minnesota.

So how do you get this enviable permit you ask? The giraffe’s poop has to go through an inspection. I don’t know how this happens as how can you get it inspected in America if you cannot import the stuff to America to start with. It’s not like you can hold up a sample in Nairobi and via Zoom query, “oh say can you see?”

Maybe would-be importers can attend at the American Embassy in Kenya where there is a resident inspector who deals with these matters. I Googled the issue, keying in “U.S. Embassy, Kenya, inspection-giraffe dung” and what came us was, “Tuesdays between 2 and 4 p.m. Wednesdays between 10 and 11 a.m. we do hippos. No walk-ins please. “

Actually I lied. On Wednesdays they do elephants.

And if you think the U.S. is tough on bringing in this kind of product, remember in Australia they don’t even let you bring in an apple. I can’t even imagine what penalty you would be subject to if you were caught trying to smuggle in a box of giraffe feces.  Any judges worth their salt would probably banish you for life to England. Maybe directly to Newcastle.

I also wonder why this lady from Iowa has this obsession jewelry out of animal excrement. Has she never heard of precious metals? We all know Shakespeare said “All that glitters is not gold.” But surely the bard did not intend to extend this glitter quality to what was in that box belonging to that lady from Iowa. If asked he might have replied, “Don’t push it.”

It also occurred to me that perhaps there might even be some retail market for this type of jewelry. And if there is, how broad is the duty to disclose the whole story? If the lady or others plan to expand their market, can they get away by simply labelling “made of natural ingredients?” We certainly aren’t talking the Crown Jewels here. 

I can readily see disputes arising with disgruntled customers and the matter hitting the fan. … I mean the courts. The plaintiff’s lawyer tenders the jewelry to the court and the judge says, “Exhibit A … keep it away from me. “

I actually investigated the prime source of virtually every product under the sun, the market of markets, the shop of shops …Amazon. I made a couple of searches, like “giraffe droppings jewelry.” I expected to see results such as, “only five left in stock. Delivery guaranteed by Thursday.”

No such luck. Most of the items were cute giraffe necklaces, earrings or keychains including one keychain with an inscription on the tag reading, “From up here I get to see the big picture.”

I suppose Amazon does not want to bother going through the hassles of applying for that import permit.

All I want is to save everyone some hassles. And so to anybody interested in buying some of this type of jewelry, I say caveat emptor. And to anybody planning a trip to the U.S. and looking into bringing in some of this handicraft, watch your step. 
Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is available on Amazon, (e-book) and paper version. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s firm, its clients, Law360 Canada, LexisNexis Canada, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

Interested in writing for us? To learn more about how you can add your voice to Law360 Canada, contact Analysis Editor Peter Carter at or call 647-776-6740.