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OREGONIANS SUPPORT SAVING THE WORLD’S MOST MAJESTIC AND ENDANGERED WILDLIFE FROM EXTINCTION AND CRUELTY.

Oregon has a long tradition of conservation and animal welfare standards (ranked second in the nation on its animal welfare policies by The Humane Society of the United States). From elephants to sea turtles, many iconic species face the threat of extinction due to demand for their parts including market demand in Oregon. In November 2016, Oregonians will have an opportunity to vote on a ballot measure to protect these imperiled species. Specifically, the ballot measure will prohibit the sale of products and parts from sea turtles, sharks, rays, elephants, rhinos, cheetahs and other critically threatened or endangered species.

The measure tracks a similar initiative on the ballot in Washington state, led by Portland Trailblazers’ owner Paul Allen. California enacted a ban in October 2015 on trade in ivory or rhino horn. If Oregon voters approve this initiative petition, we will have produced a firewall against wildlife trafficking in key West Coast states.

HELP STOP POACHING CRUELTY AND THE EXTINCTION THREAT.

The killing of these creatures by poachers threatens the economies of so many nations dependent on wildlife tourism and it causes immense cruelty to wildlife. Sometimes poachers hack off an elephant’s or rhino’s face, while the animal is still alive, to retrieve their tusks or horn. Every year approximately 35,000 elephants are killed in Africa to supply the demand for their ivory. In 2014, more than 1,200 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone out of a remaining 29,000 in the wild. All seven sea turtle species are endangered, with three critically imperiled. In one recent case, poachers poisoned a watering hole with cyanide, killing 300 elephants at once and resulting in the deaths of other animals who fed on the carcasses. Close to 100 million sharks are killed every year to supply the global demand for their products. One quarter of shark and ray species are threatened with extinction.

Evidence and seizure data suggest that ivory trafficking is linked to transnational organized crime and even African armed militia with terrorist connections. Professional traffickers take advantage of lax enforcement controls to move illegal ivory across the globe. The likely annual income from ivory to militia in the entire sub-Saharan range generates millions of dollars for these terrorists, including the Lord’s Resistance Army, to buy weapons, hurt innocent people and destabilize governments.

A REASONABLE AND MEANINGFUL MEASURE TO SAVE IMPERILED WILDLIFE FROM EXTINCTION AND CRUELTY.

The ballot measure proposes to prohibit the purchase, sale, offer for sale, or possession with intention to sell any part or product of the covered animal species with reasonable, narrow exemptions. The 12 types of animal covered are elephant, rhinoceros, whale, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, sea turtle and shark and ray species.

Key provisions include:

  • A person shall not purchase, sell, offer for sale, or possess with intent to sell any covered animal species part or product.
  • Non-monetary transfer of ownership by way of gift or bequest is not affected by the ballot measure. Owners of legal ivory items can continue to possess the items, pass them down to heirs or transfer them as long as no commercial transactions are involved.
  • Prohibitions do not apply when the covered animal species part or product is an antique or is part of an antique, or is a fixed component of a musical instrument, provided that the total weight of the covered animal species part or product is less than 200 grams.
  • Prohibitions do not apply to the possession of a covered animal species part or product by any enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe.
  • The ballot measure, if enacted, shall take effect on July 1, 2017.

By penalizing those who traffic in these animal products, Oregon voters will help put an end to poaching cruelty and help save these iconic species from extinction.