In Washington DC the Washington DC Council has permanently banned the sales of rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory in the district. This move has been a long time coming and will help to further reduce the demand for these items that puts endangered species further in decline.
The Elephant Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Trafficking Prohibition Act is an important step in ending the rapidly dwindling elephant and rhinoceros populations,” DC Voters For Animals (DCVFA) said in a press release.
“Wildlife poaching has put these animals in jeopardy. Yet, ivory and rhino horn are still legal in DC.”
While the federal government itself has prohibited the importation of these goods from endangered animals the federal policies, unfortunately, do not regulate individual in-state commerce.
Many states and cities across the United States have put bans into place against rhino horn and elephant ivory sales but those bans only further exasperated the booming ivory market in the nation’s capital that until now had no restrictions.
Thankfully with DC’s new ban in place the thriving market for these ill-gotten goods will evaporate and mitigate demand.
“Most people expect that ivory and rhino horn sales have already been done away with,” said Max Broad, founder of DCFVA.
“This law puts that expectation into place, clamping down the goods that are driving the demise of the precious species.”
The new laws biggest supporter council member Mary Cheh first proposed a ban on horn and ivory sales back in 2015 but didn’t get enough support to move forward with the bill.
The Humane Society of the United States conducted an undercover investigation in 2019 that exposed the massive extent of elephant ivory sales in the District of Columbia supported this bill along with ElephantsDC, DC Environment Network, A Vegan Life, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Sierra Club DC also support the bill.
The bill will now go on to the desk of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to be signed into law and end this cruel and unnecessary trafficking of endangered animals.
The Humane Society of the United States state that wild elephant populations have dropped by nearly 150,000 since 2007.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that more than 1,000 shipments of ivory—more than 12,000 items—came through Chicago’s ports between 2010 and 2015. Along with local anti-poaching groups, bans can help reduce demand for ivory and rhino horn.
In 2018, Illinois became the ninth state to ban the trade and sale of ivory and rhino horn in the U.S.
Also in 2018, the UK implemented one of the world’s most restrictive ivory bans—one that may also protect hippos, walruses, and narwhals. In late 2019, Japan banned the sale of ivory, while neighboring China is also attempting to close its domestic ivory market.
With the U.S. being one of the biggest markets for illegal ivory in the world this new bill will help make an impact on the remaining rhinos and elephants.
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