This bill prohibits the sale of products and parts from fifteen imperiled species, including elephants, rhinos, giraffes, pangolins, big cats, great apes, hippos, and sea turtles. Passage of this legislation will ensure Maryland does not provide a local market for animal products from international poaching and trafficking.
While Federal law already prohibits interstate trade of wildlife products, it is still legal intrastate, providing a loophole for selling products such as ivory, rhino horn, or giraffe parts within Maryland.
With Washington, DC, New Jersey, and New York having passed similar legislation, Maryland has become a hot spot for this activity. The Humane Society of the United State’s recent undercover investigation documented ivory or probable ivory for sale at 20 Maryland locations—including Kensington, Annapolis, Hagerstown, and Frederick. Baltimore is a certified antiques port, so with nearby states and our nation’s capital banning these sales, it puts pressure on our port and our state as these products flow into Maryland.
Maryland is no stranger to taking a stand against these activities to protect a species. In 2013, Maryland was the first state on the East Coast to pass legislation prohibiting the shark fin trade in our state and protect the worldwide shark population. The Maryland legislature heard bills in 2017 and 2018 to ban wildlife trafficking, but they did not pass. It is time for Maryland to take a similar step forward, not only to protect sharks as we did in 2013, but also to protect species whose numbers have declined precipitously in the past four years, fueled in part by illegal poaching and the continued trafficking of these wildlife parts. The U.S. is a major contributor to the $20 billion illegal wildlife trade that pushes beloved species to the brink of extinction. This bill’s passage is long overdue.
Time is running out for these species.
Please contact your legislators and tell them that you SUPPORT SB 381/HB 52!
Thank you again for being an advocate for Maryland’s animals. Remember, Maryland Votes for Animals, Inc. can only succeed with the help of animal advocates like you. Please consider making a donation to Maryland Votes for Animals at voteanimals.org/donate now, so we can continue fighting for Maryland animals.
Maryland Votes for Animals, Inc.