“New Jersey is a major hub for imports and transportation of body parts of endangered species.” – Born Free USA CEO
Washington, D.C., May 3, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, commends Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey for signing S. 977 into law—a bill that would ban the possession, transport, import, export, processing, sale, or shipment of lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and cape buffalos. These animals are endangered species that fall victim to trophy hunting.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “New Jersey is a major hub for imports and transportation of body parts of endangered species. We are thankful for Senator Raymond Lesniak’s leadership on this bill, which is crucial to protecting imperiled species. We commend Governor Christie for signing this bill into law. Born Free has studied wildlife trafficking for more than two decades, and we can conclude that trophy hunting does nothing to enhance conservation. In 2013, Born Free USA, along with partner organizations, commissioned Economists at Large to investigate the facts. The study proved that the trophy hunting industry makes a minimal contribution to national incomes. As a portion of any national economy, trophy hunting revenue never accounts for more than 0.27 percent of the GDP."
Under this legislation, those violating the law will be guilty of a third degree crime and fines of up to $75,000. The law will go into effect Monday, May 26, 2016, after the Senate and Assembly concur with the governor's conditions.
According to Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-NJ), who sponsored the bill, “Our ban will send a strong message to those who would endanger the very existence of these majestic animals to avoid bringing their ‘trophies’ into New Jersey and better yet, give it up entirely.”
This critical piece of legislation comes less than a year after the tragic death of Cecil the lion, who was allegedly lured outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and killed by an American hunter. He was shot with an arrow, injured, and tracked for 40 hours before finally being shot with a gun, beheaded, and skinned. The U.S. is a significant market for hunting “trophies” like Cecil. State laws banning the importation of these products are aimed at reducing the demand. Roberts adds, “Born Free USA encourages other states to pass similar legislation in order to protect imperiled species from extinction and ultimately put an end, once and for all, to this horrific ‘sport.’”
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.