By an overwhelming majority of 70 to 30, Oregon voters issued a powerful statement for the protection of the world’s endangered animals by passing Measure 100, the ballot measure to stop endangered wildlife trafficking in Oregon.
The measure shuts down the local market for products like elephant ivory, rhino horn and sea turtle shells, and follows similar action taken by voters in Washington and California lawmakers to ensure that the states don’t provide safe harbor to traffickers and profiteers.
The victory is the culmination of a campaign that saw hundreds of volunteers gather over 150,000 signatures from voters across the state to qualify the measure for the ballot. A broad array of international, national, state and local organizations drove the campaign, including The Humane Society of the United States, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Zoo Foundation, the Oregon Humane Society, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, WildAid, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the National Wildlife Federation. The campaign’s chief petitioners were Congressman Earl Blumenauer, former State Senator Bruce Starr and Metro Council Chair Tom Hughes.
A long list of state leaders from both major parties, including Governor Kate Brown, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Minority Leader Mike McLane, endorsed the measure.
“I’m extremely proud that Oregonians have done their part to stop the global poaching crisis,” said Scott Beckstead, senior Oregon state director for The HSUS. “Oregon has a long and proud history of supporting wildlife conservation. With this sweeping victory, Oregon has set an important example for the rest of the nation and joins efforts around the world to protect imperiled animals, such as elephants, whales and sea turtles.”
Kristin Leppert, campaign director for Save Endangered Animals Oregon, said, “Tonight Oregonians have sent a strong message that we will not tolerate illegal wildlife trafficking in our state, and we can be proud that our state has officially aligned itself with the global effort to protect our world’s most iconic wildlife from poachers, traffickers and profiteers.”
The new law will ban the trafficking of 12 types of animals most targeted by wildlife traffickers: whales, sea turtles, elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, sharks, rays and pangolins, and impose felony-level fines on anyone caught buying or selling the parts or products from those creatures. It does not ban the mere possession of these items, and includes common-sense exemptions.
A recent undercover investigation by The HSUS revealed an active trade in endangered animal products, including elephant ivory, big cat skins and pangolin hides, throughout Oregon.
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Your signature could very well make the difference in changing the fortunes of the 3 million dogs and cats that will be slaughtered in 2017.