Washington state became the fourth U.S. state to pass anti-ivory laws last night. The bill, Initiative 1401, prohibits the wildlife trafficking of 10 endangered animals and their parts, including elephant and rhino ivory.
“If the biggest market is in China, the second biggest is in the United States," said Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “If you want to stop killing elephants you’ve got to stop the market for elephant parts.”
Initiative 1401 did just that last night. The bill, which passed in all of Washington's 39 counties, protects animals like sharks, tigers, lions, rays, marine turtles, leopards, cheetahs, pangolins and elephants. The bill won by an overwhelming majority of 70 percent. According to the bill, the sale, sale intent, bartering, distribution, trade and purchase of any live animal or product from the species listed above is prohibited.
However, there are exceptions to this bill, which address many public concerns and debates involving the ban of these products.
Kerry Skiff is a conservation advocate and recent journalism graduate of Northern Kentucky University. She follows the ivory trade around the world, and uses her voice to educate Americans about their role in animal conservation.