Bill to Chill Trophy Hunting and Wildlife Trade Moves to the Assembly
Sacramento, CA – June 26, 2020 – Today, Senator Henry Stern’s (D-Los Angeles), Senate Bill 1175, cosponsored by political advocacy group Social Compassion in Legislation, and Center for Biological Diversity in addition to partnering with global NGOs PETA, and WildAid, passed the full Senate by a 29 to 8 vote. The bill will cut off imports of any wildlife that could spread zoonotic disease like COVID-19 or that are invasive species, which are currently sold in California’s at least 25 live wildlife markets, as well as banning the possession of several commonly hunted species from Africa, such as lions, elephants, and rhinos, among others.
“California must not be complicit in the brutal wildlife trafficking that threatens our public health and undermines our values,” said Senator Henry Stern. “SB 1175 is our chance to be global leaders by cracking down on this brutal trade with the power of the world’s fifth-largest economy. We’re one step closer to that reality today.”
“As we see COVID-19 cases spiking across California, we are grateful to every Senator that voted yes and stood up to protect our wildlife and future public safety.” said Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation, which is a co-sponsor of the bill. “With the pandemic sweeping the globe, “live” markets are now on everyone’s radar regarding both the animals suffering in them and the dire human health and economic consequences of disease transmission. It is no wonder that a recent Zogby poll showed 75% of Californians support a ban on these markets.”
“Banning imports of wildlife or invasive species that could spread zoonotic disease like COVID-19 is the greatest single step towards protecting Californians’ public health and preventing the next pandemic,” said WildAid CEO Peter Knights. “WildAid applauds the senators and citizens who spoke up to shut down the wildlife trade but this is only the beginning of what needs to be done. To significantly improve wildlife conservation and reduce the risk of zoonotic disease, the global community needs to reevaluate our entire relationship with the natural world.”
“The international wildlife trade not only poses a disease risk to people, but is a threat to biodiversity,” said Brendan Cummings, conservation director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Whether it’s dead animals brought in as trophies or curios, or live animals imported as pets or food, our unsustainable appetite for wildlife is one of the main drivers of the extinction crisis. California has long been a trendsetter in environmental protection, and we thank Senator Stern and all the senators who voted for this legislation today for once again leading the way as we take on the dangerous and environmentally destructive wildlife trade.”
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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