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January 26, 2010

Pa. Committee Passes Bills to Crack Down on Poaching

The HSUS urges Senate to approve measures

The Humane Society of the United States praised Chairman Richard Alloway and the members of the Senate Game and Fisheries committee for passing bills to add Pennsylvania to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact and to increase penalties for poaching. 

 "Law enforcement, animal advocates and rank-and-file hunters agree that poaching is a serious offense," said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. "Strong deterrents against wildlife crimes are nonexistent in Pennsylvania, and these two crucial pieces of legislation are long overdue."

The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact is a nationwide law enforcement network aimed at preventing poachers who have lost their hunting privileges in one state from hunting in another. If the legislature passes S.B. 1200, Pennsylvania would join 33 other states in the Compact.

H.B. 1859 would increase penalties for a wide range of wildlife crimes, from killing endangered species to operating commercial poaching operations. It also elevates habitual poaching to a felony and for the first time imposes the possibility of jail time for many wildlife crimes. 

Facts

  • Pennsylvania has some of the weakest penalties for poaching in the country. Poachers exploit animals for personal gain or thrill, knowing they will most likely not be caught. With each enforcement officer covering hundreds of square miles, the most effective tool in stopping poaching is strong penalties. 
  • Poaching is a broad term that includes wildlife abuses such as illegally killing wildlife, using illegal weapons, or leading others to kill animals illegally as an unlicensed guide.
  • Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poachers are caught. Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways.
  • Under current Pennsylvania law, there is no possibility that a convicted poacher will face jail time unless the violation involves threatened or endangered species.

For more information on poaching, please visit: humanesociety.org/poaching.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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