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Support Senator Peterson's SB 156 to ban sales of ivory in the state of Delaware

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Dear Delaware State Senators and Representatives,

 As your constituent, I’m writing to urge you to support bill SB 156, which seeks to outlaw sales and import of African wildlife parts, such as ivory or rhino horn, and hunting trophies. Such restrictions are critical to reduce US demand and to prevent the extinction of elephant and rhinoceros species.

Currently, intrastate and interstate sales of ivory are restricted to grandfathered ivory. That is, ivory with a documented proof of origin that has been legally acquired prior to 1990. Nevertheless, further legislation is necessary because ivory and rhino horn without a proof of origin or with a forged proof of origin are commonly sold in the United States. As a result, and in spite of current prohibitions, our country is still the second largest destination for illegal ivory in the world, second only to China.

Unfortunately, current efforts to stop poaching in Africa are falling short. Failing to support sensible legislation to prevent illicit ivory and rhino horn sales wastes American taxpayer dollars already going to fund conservation and foreign aid programs in Africa. Therefore this legislation is necessary to stop demand for ivory and rhino horn in the United States.

 Besides grandfathered ivory, the current legislation also permits the import of hunting trophies from legal hunts that require a hunting license. While a fraction of money from sales of these hunting licenses might support the local African economy and go towards local conservation efforts any benefits are outweighed by the need to protect remaining wildlife populations.

I beg you to support in full the legislation introduced by SB 156 so that our state can join the rest of the states, and hopefully the country soon, in standing against elephant and rhino poaching by prohibiting sales and import of the products and hunting trophies made from their parts.

 Fixing the current legislation is important to me because:

The laws in the current form are hard to enforce partially due to the lax proof of origin requirement. Furthermore, legal sales of ivory and rhino horn are driving the demand, while simultaneously driving up the price and thus further exacerbating the poaching issue.

Terrorist and insurgent groups such as Boko Haram and Lord’s Resistance Army, as well as perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, and many rebel groups operating in Central Africa are partially funded by sales of poached ivory. Continued poaching will only put more money into the hands of these groups.

At the current rate of poaching the two species of African elephant are facing extinction within the next 15 years.

Not supporting sensible legislation to prevent ivory and rhino horn sales wastes taxpayer dollars already funding conservation and foreign aid programs in Africa.

Elephants are kind, compassionate and sensitive animals. Babies are forced to watch as their mothers die painfully and slowly from cruel poisoned arrows or leg snares; if the herd has moved on, that baby is now alone, orphaned, mild-dependent and terrified, with no chance to survive on its own.

The clock is ticking for these species. If we don’t act now, elephants will be extinct in less than 15 years; do you want your children and grandchildren to grow up in a world that caused the extinction of this intelligent, majestic animal? I do not! I hope that I can count on you to prevent our state from becoming entangled in this environmental disaster.

Thank you to Senator Peterson for putting forth this very important bill.

 Sincerely,

 



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