Most people don’t rely on tiger wieners to set the mood on date night… most people. Unfortunately there are enough folks around, even here in Oregon, interested in endangered animal parts that we are introducing Ballot Measure 100.
Currently neither federal law nor Oregon state law prohibits the intrastate sale of non-native animal parts. Measure 100 aims to combat wildlife trafficking, especially that of rare and endangered animals, by amending ORS 498.022 to forbid purchase, possession, and sale of animal parts. A notable aspect of this measure is to impose civil penalties on perpetrators.
Measure 100 specifically lists elephants, rhinoceroses, whales, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, pangolins, sea turtles, sharks, rays, and products made from these animals as subjects to this amendment.
However, the measure includes multiple exceptions to the ruling. Exceptions include law enforcement activities, activities authorized by federal law, and fish managed under federal planning. Other exceptions are certain antiques over 100 years old and musical instruments with less than 200 grams of parts. Finally my favorite exceptions, the loophole exceptions if you will, noncommercial transfers through estates, gifts, and “other exceptions.”
The measure is backed by numerous supporters including U.S. Representatives, Senators, The Humane Society, and Save Endangered Animals Oregon. One man, Robert Mitchell, a member of the Elephant Protection Association, opposes the measure. Mitchell feels that we shouldn’t punish people in our own country just because we cannot punish the poachers in other countries. Mitchell attests that in this matter, we should be allocating our limited funds where they can do the most good.
Either way, even if our federal laws do not reflect the crisis facing these animals, we as Oregonians have the opportunity to support the new measure. In some ways it is surprising that living in the midst of what some call the 6th Mass Extinction, we are still debating whether or not to make animal trafficking illegal. Is this measure the way to go? Cast your vote and let’s find out.
By Anthony Vitale