“New Jersey has the opportunity to be a leader on this issue.” Born Free CEO
Washington, D.C. November 9, 2015 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, will testify in New Jersey at a hearing today in support of Senate Bill S. 3416 to ban the possession, transport, import, export, processing, sale, or shipment of many imperiled species, including the “big five” African species: African elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and Cape buffalo.
The bill, introduced by Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-21), is intended to curb trophy hunting. It was introduced 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 in July. His death was particularly tragic because he was a known, local favorite, and was collared as part of an Oxford University study.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, "Illegal trafficking of wildlife products is directly responsible for shocking declines in wild animal populations in recent years, and this bill is a crucial step toward reducing the availability of wildlife in consumer markets, thus reducing poaching and trade. New Jersey has the opportunity to be a leader on this issue. In 2014, New Jersey became the first state to ban the sale or import of ivory and rhinoceros horns in order to stem the state’s role as a major hub in the illegal trade of these products.”
Senator Raymond Lesniak said, “S. 3416 will stop nonsensical trophy killings being imported, transported or possessed in New Jersey in order to protect endangered, threatened or vulnerable animals from being killed to be a trophy for someone. I urge my colleagues to do the right thing today by voting in support of this humane legislation.”
Trophy hunting, involving the selective killing of wild animals for ‘sport’ is extremely controversial. Pro-hunting groups often make the argument that hunting brings conservation funding into a country through hunting permits. However, not only are the steepest declines in lion populations seen in countries with the highest hunting intensity, but there is proof that the funds reaching the local community are miniscule, reports Born Free USA.
In 2013 Born Free USA, along with partner organizations, commissioned Economists at Large to investigate the facts. The study shows 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. Additionally, trophy hunting revenues account for only 1.8 percent of overall tourism in nine investigated countries that allow trophy hunting, and even pro-hunting sources find that only three percent of the money actually reaches the rural communities where hunting occurs. While trophy hunting supporters routinely claim that hunting generates $200 million annually in remote areas of Africa, the industry is actually economically insignificant and makes a minimal contribution to national income.
This information reinforces Born Free USA’s call for wildlife photography safaris and other non-consumptive use, to be the focus for tourist activities, which make a greater contribution to conservation and the African economy without killing lions.
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 America the message of "compassionate conservation," the vision of the U.K.-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.