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Help Make Massachusetts the Seventh State to Stop the Illegal Ivory Crisis

2,304 signatures toward our 30,000 Goal

7.68% Complete

Sponsor: Greatergood.org

This bloody business needs to come to an end!

Wildlife trafficking is an escalating global crisis, with thousands of rhinoceroses and elephants slaughtered every year for their horns and ivory tusks. Trade in illegal ivory has more than doubled since 2007 and tripled since 1998 [1]. If we don't take action now, these iconic species could be pushed to extinction within our lifetime [2].

The U.S. market has historically been one of the world's largest ivory markets [3]. While the U.S. has federal protections in place to stop illegal trade of endangered species between the U.S. and foreign countries and between states, they have less jurisdiction over trade within states. That's a big problem because a significant amount of trade actually happens at storefront sales within the state. In fact, as much as one-third of ivory for sale (including antiques) across the U.S. may be illegal [4].

Massachusetts lawmakers have introduced a bill to crack down on these illegal sales of ivory and rhino horn, with exemptions for legal products with a small amount of ivory/horn (Senate Bill 450, House Bill 419) [5]. If it passes, Massachusetts would be the seventh state to have these increased protections, imposing heavy fines on traffickers within the state and creating a fund with that money to promote conservation, and in turn adding to the global momentum to protect elephants and rhinos [6].

This is especially important because Massachusetts has an illegal ivory problem. In July 2017, authorities charged the leader of an ivory smuggling ring in Concord, MA who led a conspiracy to illegally smuggle over $700,000 worth of goods made from rhinoceros horn, elephant ivory and coral. [7]. Without stricter laws against this illegal activity at the state-level, the wildlife trafficking crisis will only escalate. This bill will likely be considered this fall.

You have the power to make this bill a reality by writing to the Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and telling him to make this bill a priority.


[1]. IUCN, UNEP, CITES, & Traffic. (2013, May). Elephants in the Dust: The African Elephant Crisis. Retrieved from https://cites.org/sites/default/files/common/resources/pub/Elephants_in_the_dust.pdf

[2]. IUCN. Loxodonta africana. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/12392/0

[3] IUCN. Diceros bicornis. Retrieved from http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/6557/0

[4]. Strauss, M. (2015, September 26). Who Buys Ivory? You'd Be Surprised. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150812-elephant-ivory-demand-wildlife-trafficking-china-world/

[5]. Stiles, D., & Martin, E. (2009, June). The USA's ivory markets—how much a threat to elephants? Pachyderm, (45), 67-76. Retrieved from http://danstiles.org/publications/ivory/18.USA.pdf

[6]. Bill S.450 190th (Current). Retrieved from https://malegislature.gov


[7] Associated Press. (2017, July 24). Chinese National Charged With Leading Ivory Smuggling Ring. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2017-07-24/chinese-national-charged-with-leading-ivory-smuggling-ring

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The Petition:

24 Beacon St.

Room 356

Boston, MA, 02133

Dear Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo,

I strongly support House Bill 419 "An Act relative to ivory and rhino horn trafficking" to restrict ivory and rhino horn sales in Massachusetts. I believe that it's important for all of us to take responsibility for protecting endangered species, especially those whose existence is threatened by illegal human poaching. This measure would make sure that illegal ivory and horn can no longer be sold in Massachusetts so that Massachusetts does not play a role in the unprecedented global poaching crisis.

I hope that Representative DeLeo will prioritize this important bill in the business of the chamber. I urge you to take action on this very important issue to protect our iconic wildlife.


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