In The News

Yakima Herald-Republic: Yes on Initiative 1401

Friday, October 16, 2015

We are excited to have the support of the Yakima Herald-Republic!

“This measure would prohibit any person in Washington state from selling, buying, trading, or distributing parts of certain endangered animal species, or products containing or made from those animals. The measure specifically applies to parts or products made from elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, pangolins, marine turtles, sharks, and rays.

The measure lays out five exceptions for antiques; education, scientific or museum purposes; items distributed after an owner’s death; musical instruments; and where trade is allowed by federal permit or law. The violations would be either a gross misdemeanor or a class-C felony.

Critics say this could make felons out of antique owners or musicians who had no knowledge that certain items contained more than the designated percentage of material like ivory. They also say the law won’t do much good in reducing the poaching of animals.

Supporters respond that the measure is aimed at reducing demand for products derived from endangered animals killed by poachers. It especially targets products that move through the state’s ports; supporters say the percentage thresholds of materials are based on information from conservation experts and legislation in other states.

Whether the law will do any good remains to be seen, but the potential is there and it doesn’t appear to do any harm. It warrants a yes vote.”

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Photo by Paul Hilton for Greenpeace