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House Legislation

Sponsor(s): Sen. Alexander (R-TN), and Reps. Daines (R-MT) and Miller (R-FL)

S. 2587/H.R. 5052: Weakening FWS' New Ivory Policy

Born Free USA Position: OPPOSE

Bill Description:
This bill restricts the regulations that the Fish and Wildlife Service may create.

Specifically, these regulations may not:

  • Prohibit or restrict the possession, sale, delivery, receipt, shipping, or transportation, within the U.S., of elephant ivory that has been lawfully imported into the U.S.
  • Change the standards for determining if such ivory has been lawfully imported that were in effect on February 24, 2014 (before the most recent ivory regulations), including the placement of burden of proof
  • Prohibit or restrict the importation of ivory that was lawfully importable on February 24, 2014
  • Prohibit or restrict the possession of such ivory that was lawfully possessable in the United States on February 24, 2014
  • None of these requirements apply to regulations that were in effect on or prior to February 24, 2014.

    Background:
    This bill was introduced to complement an amendment added to the House FY 15 Interior and Environmental Appropriations Act, which seeks to defund the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) new ivory regulations. These two Congressional actions are part of a broader attack on the new FWS rules, which some say will unfairly restrict the rights of those who legally own ivory in the U.S. Read more about the FWS rules here -- including how they do not inhibit anyone's right to continue owning their ivory items.

    The new FWS rules were born out of the President's National Strategy For Combating Wildlife Trafficking (February, 2014). This ground-breaking document finally gave the appropriate weight and urgency to government's responsibility to address the elephant poaching crisis, and mandated the necessary scope of actions to deal with it. If these new regulations are now weakened by recent Congressional attacks, we are simply moving back to square one, and elephants are not receiving the international assistance they require. All ivory trade increases the demand for ivory and encourages poaching, particularly because it is so difficult to tell old ivory apart from new ivory. Exemptions for certain ivory pieces allow for the exploitation of these exemption, and inevitably serve as a loophole for illegally trafficked ivory.

    Read a fact sheet about the background on this bill here.

    Read more about devastating poaching crisis here.

    Take Action:
    Call or write to your U.S. senators and representative, and urge them to oppose this destructive legislation!

    Read the full text and follow the progress here for the House bill and here for the Senate bill.

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