By Stephanie Scott, Director of Communications
SPCA International is proud to support Washington state's groundbreaking ballot initiative 1401 - Save Animals Facing Extinction. If passed by voters in November, this initiative will make it a crime in Washington to traffic 10 species threatened with extinction in part due to the market for their body parts. I-1401 states "There is broad consensus that the trafficking of animals threatened with extinction continues to grow at an alarming pace, threatening an increasing variety of animal species including elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, pangolins, marine turtles, sharks, and rays, among others. These species are threatened with extinction in large part due to the trafficking of their parts and products...The most effective way to discourage illegal trafficking in animal species threatened with extinction is to eliminate markets and profits." If I-1401 is passed by voters in November, violations of this law would carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $10,000 fine.
This is not the first significant progress on this issue made in recent months. In early September, the California legislature passed a landmark bill banning the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns throughout the state. And in late September, President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China pledged to join forces to end the ivory trade.
If Washington state joins California in banning the trafficking of endangered animal parts, it will effectively end the import of these goods at two of the three busiest ports in the U.S., and almost the entire West Coast.
If you are registered to vote in Washington state, please vote Yes on I-1401.