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March 20, 2014

Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Legislation to Protect Elephants from Blood Ivory Trade

Humane Society International

This week the Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee unanimously passed a bill to prohibit the sale of ivory from elephants and other wildlife. House Bill 493, Senate Draft 1, now awaits a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Inga Gibson, Hawaii senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States-Humane Society International said: “We commend Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee and his fellow Committee members for recognizing the critical role that Hawaii plays in ending the brutal ivory trade. Under this law, Hawaii is poised to be a global leader in elephant conservation. We urge his colleagues in the Senate, and subsequently in the House, to support this legislation.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee said: "Elephants are an integral part of our world’s ecosystem and their protection is our responsibility. We have a duty to their continued survival as a civilized and educated society. Hawaii has no business participating in the sale of illegal ivory as that only encourages more slaughter of these magnificent creatures. This law will help to end the incentive to needlessly butcher elephants and I am pleased to be a part of this process."

Facts:

  • The bill exempts legitimate antique ivory with necessary documentation showing that the ivory was legally acquired.
  • The bill complements a recent Director’s Order issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to enhance enforcement efforts on the import, export and inter-state sale of ivory and other illegal wildlife products. The Obama administration urged the USFWS to issue the order due to the trade’s connection to criminal terrorist activity and the destabilization of economic and international security.
  • This measure, coupled with an earlier version of the bill (House Bill 2183) garnered more than 500 pieces of supportive testimony from across Hawaii and as far away as Africa and Hong Kong.
  • Hawaii is the third largest retailer of ivory and ivory products in the nation. Of more than 1,600 ivory items offered for sale in Hawaii, 89 percent were of unknown or likely illegal origin.

For more information on the blood ivory trade, visit our wildlife trade issues page and a recent blog post from HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle.

Media Contact:  Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440 rcontreras@humanesociety.org                 

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