(July 7, 2016) — Supporters and top volunteer signature gatherers with Save Endangered Animals Oregon, a coalition of animal protection and conservation leaders, delivered boxes of petitions to the Oregon Secretary of State in support of a proposed statewide statutory ballot measure. The measure aims to protect 12 types of animals heavily impacted by poaching, trafficking and consumer demand. Demonstrating the broad grassroots support for the measure, more than 400 volunteers helped to gather petition signatures from more than 150,000 Oregon voters across the state.
The measure would prohibit the sale of products and parts from sea turtles, sharks, rays, elephants, rhinos, cheetahs and other critically threatened or endangered species. The United States is among the world’s largest markets for wildlife products and endangered species products are found for sale in Oregon.
During the last few years, several states have adopted laws complementary to federal regulations to curtail the illegal wildlife trade. Washington State passed a similar ballot measure last November with 73 percent of voters casting the ballot in favor of the measure. New York, New Jersey, California and Hawaii have enacted legislation to ensure that their jurisdictions do not fuel the burgeoning demand for the destructive wildlife trade.
“It is encouraging that over 150,000 Oregon voters have come together to stand in support of protecting some of our world’s most iconic and endangered wildlife. We look forward to building on this momentum and further cementing Oregon’s leadership in animal protection. Together, we can all do our part by passing this important measure in November,” said U.S. Representative and chief petitioner, Earl Blumenauer.
Bruce Starr, chief petitioner and former state senator, remarked, “We are excited that thousands of Oregonians have stepped up and helped give Oregon voters the privilege of protecting these amazing endangered species. We look forward to the campaign ahead and ultimately joining other West Coast states in protecting these incredible creatures.”
Kristin Leppert, campaign director for Save Endangered Animals Oregon, said “It is incredibly heartwarming that hundreds of thousands of Oregonians have shown their compassion for endangered species. Oregonians do not want to partake in the shameful wildlife trade that incentivizes poaching cruelty and pushes many beloved wild animals to the brink of extinction. We look forward to passing this landmark conservation measure in November.”
Tom Hughes, chief petitioner, said “With the submission of the petitions, Oregon is one giant step towards saving these imperiled species. Elephants and rhinos and other animals covered in the ballot measure are disappearing at an alarming rate due to unprecedented levels of poaching and consumer demand. We will continue pressing forward our campaign in earnest until we successfully pass this measure in November.”
Background: Save Endangered Animals Oregon includes animal welfare and conservation groups and others who are seeking to qualify a measure for the November 2016 ballot to protect iconic species that face the threat of extinction due to demand for their parts including market demand in Oregon. The ballot measure is endorsed by the Oregon Zoo Foundation, Oregon Coast Aquarium, local and national conservation and humane organizations as well as veterinarians and legislators across the state.
Note: Media downloads, including a campaign video and a list of campaign endorsements, can be accessed here.