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Governor Phil Scott Signs H.99 into Law, Outlawing the Sale of Imperiled Wildlife Parts within State Borders
BURLINGTON, VERMONT, Oct 9, 2020: It is with tremendous joy and hope for our planet that the entirely volunteer VermontForWildlife, in unified partnership with Protect Our Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States Vermont and others, announces that Governor Phil Scott actively signed H.99 into law on October 8, 2020, making Vermont the twelfth state in the nation (plus DC) to ban the trade in imperiled wildlife parts within its state borders. Other states that have enacted similar legislation include our neighbors New York and New Hampshire as well as New Jersey, California, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico.
State bans are critical to ending demand in the United States, one of the largest importers of imperiled wildlife parts in the world. Federal law only restricts import, export, and interstate trade, which is why states must act. If there is no state law, the trade is free and clear once the item arrives in that state. And only 10% of wildlife products are caught at the border, meaning 90% of products wind up on the state level. Our action will also accelerate global awareness about the crisis--wildlife species around the world have plummeted an average of almost 70% over the last fifty years in large part due to the current trade in parts, no matter the age of the parts, due to consumer demand and open state markets.
Vermont State Director of the Humane Society, Barry Londeree, said: "The greater wildlife trade is problematic because it exacerbates an exploitative mentality towards wildlife and, as we are witnessing now with Covid-19 and other zoonotic diseases of the past, the more human activity and wildlife trafficking interface with wildlife, the more at risk we all are."
This has been an eight-year mission to have Vermont do its part to save the most highly trafficked animals from extinction. The grassroots effort has included thousands of Vermonters, kids of all ages, business owners, musicians, filmmakers, professors, authors, as well as experts and scientists from Vermont and around the globe, many of whom have risked their lives on the frontlines of the poaching crisis. With passage of this law, Vermont is taking on not only the brutal illegal wildlife trade--the fourth largest illegal trafficking in the world after drugs, humans, arms, and counterfeiting--but all of the horrific ramifications and consequences left in its wake.
The law will stop the intrastate trade (trade within the state of Vermont) of imperiled wildlife parts from fifteen of the world’s most highly imperiled species including elephants, rhinos, cheetah, giraffe, hippopotamus, jaguar, leopard, lion, pangolin, ray, sea turtle, shark, tiger, primates, and whale (and mammoth and mastodon given the vast amount of elephant ivory that is poached and then called mammoth and mastodon). Before this law, the trade in all of these animal parts was shockingly and--unbeknownst to many Vermonters--still perfectly legal in the Green Mountain State and in the now remaining thirty-eight states that have yet to act. Lawmakers realized that as long as this trade was still legal here, Vermont was complicit in the extinction of these species and in the consequences of those losses for our global ecology and economies.
VermontForWildlife Founder Ashley Prout McAvey hopes that Vermont's latest action will encourage the remaining thirty-eight states to act swiftly to close their markets in these imperiled animal parts. When all fifty states take a stand, the nation will be making a resounding impact in the battle against extinction. For more information, please visit www.vermontforwildlife.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.