HARRISBURG, April 2, 2019 – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today announced legislation that would help law enforcement crack down on poachers and other forms of wildlife trafficking.
“Poachers, traffickers, and criminal organizations are driving threatened wildlife populations around the world closer to extinction,” Leach said. “Horrifying cases of animal cruelty and exploitation happen way too often. I recently heard a story of someone attempting to smuggle an orangutan onto a plane in their luggage. Crimes like these are repugnant and we need to strengthen Pennsylvania’s role in the global fight against this epidemic. A society that does not treat its animals with respect and dignity is not a healthy one.”
Leach’s bill would prohibit the purchase, sale, offer to sell, trade or possession with intent to sell imperiled animal parts or products including skins, furs, claws, teeth, and horns. Protected animal species include tigers, elephants, giraffes, sea turtles, dolphins, whales and others.
This bill seeks to align state law with federal and international law to appropriately regulate trafficking markets on a local level. Pennsylvania would join nine other states that have passed similar legislation including New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Washington and Illinois.
Leach today circulated his proposal to Senate colleagues in the form of memo. For the next few weeks, all Senators will be able to co-sponsor his proposal if they wish. Once the co-sponsorship process is complete, Leach will introduce the policy’s language, at which time the proposal will be numbered and assigned to a Senate committee for consideration.
In the past, Leach has introduced several bills with the aim of protecting iconic wildlife species. During the 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 legislative sessions, Leach introduced legislation that would ban the sale and possession of shark fins, eliminate canned hunting facilities and prohibit traveling animal exhibitions.