Measure 100 would ban sales of ivory and other animal parts in Oregon

Animal advocates are asking Oregon voters this fall to ban sales of parts from a dozen animal species, including ivory from elephants and rhinoceroses.

Shark fins are the only animal product from a non-native species currently banned from sale in Oregon, according to the state voter's pamphlet. Measure 100 would ban sales of 12 additional species: elephants, rhinoceroses, whales, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, pangolins, sea turtles and rays. It would also prohibit the sales of any part of a shark.

"We really have an opportunity to shut down the West Coast for the trade in these animal parts," said Bruce Starr, a former Republican state senator and one of the chief petitioners for the measure. Voters in Washington passed a similar measure last year, he said.

Although Starr said it's difficult to measure Oregon's market for ivory and other exotic animal parts, "what we do know is through anecdotal experience there are ivory items sold in gift shops all over Oregon."

A similar bill that died in the 2015 Legislature would have banned the sales of ivory and certain other animal parts. That bill became an issue late in this year's Democratic primary for secretary of state, when the Humane Society Legislative Fund launched an ad attacking former House Majority Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, for killing the bill because of concerns from the National Rifle Association.

The gun lobbying group had raised concerns about the value of guns with ivory features. Hoyle told The Oregonian/Oregonlive last year she was "not going to pick a fight with the NRA" when the bill didn't have support to pass in the House.

Certain antiques and musical instruments, such as an ivory-handled pistol or a piano with ivory keys, would be exempt from the sales ban sought by the measure. Any item could also still be transferred as a gift or through inheritance.

"You can own it, you just can't sell it," Starr said.

No one filed statements in the voter's pamphlet opposing Measure 100. The measure would not set aside money to enforce the ban, and Starr said supporters expect complaints would drive enforcement.

The Oregon State Police, whose Fish and Wildlife Division would be responsible for investigating complaints, did not respond to a question about whether officials anticipate an influx of complaints if voters pass Measure 100.

— Hillary Borrud