End Trafficking of Illegal Animal Products

Target: Washington State Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler

Goal: End the trafficking of illegal animal products by funding a new initiative to curb this deadly trade.

“Valuable” materials, such as ivory, fur and skins are often the reason animals are hunted to extinction. The trade and demand for these materials keeps lining the pockets of poachers and endangering animals across the world.

Initiative 1401 was approved by Washington voters on November 3, 2015 as a measure to outlaw the trade of endangered animals and items made from their bodies. It was one of the most popular ballots in state history with over a million “yes” votes, but it has not been implemented because of budget concerns.

The Washington state senate budget does not include funding for Initiative 1401, although the House and governor’s budget has set aside money for the program. This measure requires $418,000 over the next two years to hire officers and train 24 agents dedicated to ending animal trafficking. This initiative cannot go unfunded. By voting “yes,” Washingtonians have legally mandated Initiative 1401 into effect.

Although federal agencies perform similar roles, specialized state programs could more effectively crack down on this illegal multi-billion dollar industry that threatens wildlife worldwide. The United States is the second-largest market for endangered animal trafficking and any effort to curb it is essential to many wildlife populations.

Put an end to animal trafficking and the sales of illegal animal products by funding Initiative 1401.


Dear Senator Schoesler,

The United States is the second-largest market for endangered animal trafficking in the world, and it must be stopped.

Last November, Washingtonians voted “yes” on Initiative 1401 — a measure that would protect endangered animals by prohibiting the trafficking of products made from their bodies, such as fur and ivory. Since the vote, Initiative 1401 has gone unfunded by the Senate, though the House and governor’s budgets account for the costs necessary to launch. By voting “yes,” Washingtonians have legally mandated Initiative 1401 into effect, and something must be done to save this project and the lives of animal populations across the world.

Poaching for “valuable” materials is a leading factor in animal endangerment and demand for items keeps poachers in business. Allowing this multi-billion dollar industry to continue is not sustainable for endangered animals. While federal agencies are partially responsible for curbing the traffic of animals and illegal items, specialized state organizations are better able to dig deeper, find the sources of trade and end them. The two dozen officers and agents Initiative 1401 seeks to employ will not only work to end the animal trafficking industry, but will show Washington state’s commitment to making these issues a priority.

Please work to fund Initiative 1401 and end animal trafficking and outlaw trade of materials made from their bodies.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: M. Disdero

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