I am Kenyan citizen and earned my LLM in Animal Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, and now work with a nonprofit in Kenya that saves elephants and rhinos from the poachers and smugglers. Its operations have a finger on the pulse of wildlife crime, and with it comes the realization that without demand reduction initiatives like Measure 100, we will never win this war against illegal wildlife crimes. We call it a “war” against illegal wildlife crimes, but we ignore a most basic wartime tactic: acting in concert to defeat a common enemy.
Measure 100 is not just a “feel good” measure. It is necessary to improve wildlife trafficking enforcement at both the federal and state levels. It is perfectly legal to engage in trade in wildlife products within Oregon, and states may regulate trade within their borders. A state law would reinforce a federal ban on trafficking, adding an extra layer of protection. Measure 100 removes the financial incentive in illegal wildlife trade by imposing stiff civil penalties for wildlife trafficking, which is important as it is the huge profits in wildlife products that will drive to extinction species like elephants, rhinoceroses, big cats and marine species like whales, sharks and sea turtles.
Without laws targeting the demand in wildlife products, my work in Kenya will become increasingly difficult. We have passed strong laws in Kenya to protect our wildlife. Oregon, so should you. Please vote yes on Measure 100.