Initiative 1401 Campaign Files Over 340,000 Signatures

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The campaign to pass Initiative 1401 announced this morning at the Seattle Aquarium that they are turning in 348,627 signatures this afternoon, more than 100,000 signatures more than the number necessary to qualify this groundbreaking initiative for the November ballot.

Barbara Bennett, President and COO of Vulcan Inc., announces the I-1401 campaign had collected over 340,000 signatures.

The measure, which will strengthen penalties in Washington State for trafficking in products made from animals that are being poached or exploited to the point that they are threatened with extinction, has been generously supported by philanthropist Paul G. Allen and a growing coalition of respected animal conservation and protection organizations.

“For many years now Paul Allen and Vulcan Inc. have devoted substantial resources to protecting iconic animal species around the globe. Trafficking in products derived from these animals is not just a problem in Africa and Asia, it is a problem right here in Washington State. As evidenced by the more than 300,000 signatures we received in support of Initiative 1401, the citizens of Washington State want this unconscionable trade to be stopped. I am pleased to announce that thanks to this overwhelming support, I-1401 will be on the ballot this November,” said Barbara Bennett, President and Chief Operating Officer at Vulcan.

“The United States is second only to China as an active market for the illegal ivory trade. Only by cracking down on demand for ivory can we stop the slaughter of more than 22,000 African elephants each year. Washingtonians can help tackle this global problem and stand up for elephants, rhinos, and other imperiled wildlife by supporting Initiative 1401,” said Jennifer Hillman, the Managing Director for Grassroots Outreach and Engagement at the Humane Society of the United States.

Fred Koontz, Vice President of Conservation at the Woodland Park Zoo, added, “Earlier this year the Woodland Park Zoo advocated strongly in the Washington State legislature on behalf of a bill to strengthen laws against the trafficking of products made from endangered animals, but the legislation was stalled due to opposition from a special interest group. This is why we strongly support I-1401, and are actively supporting the campaign as it moves forward.”

The extinction threat is not just faced by land mammals, but by iconic ocean creatures as well.

“Within the next decade or sooner some of the planet’s most precious and endangered species may face a critical tipping point towards extinction. By strengthening protections against trafficking in products from these increasingly endangered animals, we can help to save sharks, manta rays and sea turtles, and protect our ocean life,” said Robert W. Davidson, president and CEO, Seattle Aquarium.

Immediately after the press event, the boxes of collected signature petition sheets were driven down to Olympia to be turned in at the state Elections Office. 246,372 valid signatures are required to qualify a measure for the ballot in Washington State.

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Photo by Paul Hilton for Greenpeace