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May 3, 2010

Pa. Anti-Poaching Bill Clears Another Hurdle

House Game and Fisheries Committee passes bill to crack down on poaching

The Humane Society of the United States praised members of the Pennsylvania House Game and Fisheries Committee for unanimously passing S.B. 1200, a bill to add Pennsylvania to the nationwide law enforcement network known as the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. The HSUS submitted testimony in support of the bill, which has already passed the full Senate.

The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact aims to prevent poachers who have lost their hunting privileges in one state from hunting in another. If the legislature passes S.B. 1200, Pennsylvania would join 34 other states in the Compact including neighboring New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.

"The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact has been in existence for decades and Pennsylvania citizens and wildlife should finally reap the benefits of this valuable law enforcement tool," said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. "This bill is widely supported because no one wants Pennsylvania to be a safe haven for wildlife criminals."

Facts

  • Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only a scant 1 percent to 5 percent of poachers are caught by law enforcement. Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere, and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. The HSUS has established a reward program offering $2,500 for the identification, arrest and conviction of suspected wildlife poachers.
  • Poachers exploit wildlife for their personal gain and wildlife officials report that they often commit other crimes as well.  With each enforcement officer responsible for patrolling hundreds of square miles, the most effective tools in stopping poaching are strong penalties and collaboration with other states. 
  • Pennsylvania has some of the weakest poaching penalties in the United States. The passage of another pending bill, H.B. 1859, would increase penalties for poaching and serve as a powerful deterrent to illegal hunting.

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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