Washington State Residents: Save elephants, vote NO on I-1401

Banning trade in legal ivory does not save elephants. That doesn’t stop proponents of draconian ivory bans from misrepresenting the facts to achieve a pointless and constitutionally dangerous end.

We have covered proposed bans at both the state and federal level. A similar ban failed to pass the Washington legislature last year, so activists have inserted it this time as a ballot initiative.

You can read how the USFWS has bastardized the work of conservationist Dr. Daniel Stiles creating false justification for their proposals. You can watch this video from National Geographic documenting how poached ivory is funneled through black market networks to Asia. It is the Chinese market that drives poaching, not law abiding Americans.

Knife Rights action alert below the jump.

From KnifeRights.org:

ACTION ALERT: Vote “NO” TOMORROW on Irrational & Draconian Washington Ivory Ban Initiative 1401: Washington State’s disingenuous and draconian Initiative 1401, “The Washington Animal Trafficking Initiative” AKA “Ivory Ban” Initiative, is up for a vote in tomorrow’s General Election. Knife Rights urges you to vote “NO” on this ill-conceived, irrational and deceitful ivory ban.

The Initiative’s proponents are led by radical so-called “animal rights” organizations that spend virtually nothing on actual conservation and it is heavily funded by billionaire Paul Allen Newberry. I-1401 will punish law-abiding citizens who own or collect ordinary items, including knives, antiques, artwork, jewelry, firearms and accessories, furniture and many other lawfully owned and obtained items that contain ivory, or any other “covered animal” part or products. There is NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that this new law would do anything to curb the poaching of elephants in Africa which feeds the black market for ivory in China, but it will steal Millions of Dollars from honest Washingtonians!

Knife Rights abhors the poaching of all species. Knife Rights supports science-based conservation efforts that have proven successful in posting SIGNIFICANT GAINS in elephant populations in Africa over the past few decades. Knife Rights supports practical and lawful efforts to defend elephants in the field from poachers as well as lawful enforcement activities that directly target the illegal black-market trade in ivory that have resulted in a REDUCTION in elephant poaching over the past four years. The I-1401 ivory ban accomplishes none of these effective and proven objectives.

Numerous Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) studies and fact sheets have repeatedly concluded that the U.S. black market in Ivory is negligible and has no cause and effect link to poaching. Dr. Daniel Stiles, an internationally recognized expert on the illegal ivory trade who has been cited by FWS has unambiguously stated in a recent federal filing that “[t]here is currently no demand for new poached raw ivory in the U.S.”

This 15-page Initiative is filled with lies and fabricated or misleading “facts” in support of a highly emotional appeal to “save the elephants.” I-1401 will ban all trade in any item containing elephant ivory or any prohibited animal part — even if the item was legally imported or crafted decades ago, was legally acquired and has been legally possessed. It provides a few exceptions that are mostly illusionary because they would be so difficult to take advantage of. In addition to excessive penalties, the enforcement mechanisms in the Initiative allow the government to seize and sell or donate valued personal property that contains the prohibited parts or products

Federal law contains extensive provisions restricting or prohibiting the import, possession and trade in endangered species, including animal parts. Washington State law protects local wildlife and already has a prohibition on the possession of any animal product from another country where the wildlife is known to have been illegally hunted or killed. I-1401 adds no real protections that don’t already exist in law, but does serious and potentially devastating harm to many Washingtonians.

While it misleadingly and dishonestly claims to stop the trafficking of animals threatened with extinction, Initiative 1401 actually only punishes honest Washington citizens by making their lawful property worthless. It will make illegal “traffickers” subject to outrageous penalties out of those lawful ivory owners who attempt to buy or sell property containing any part of a “covered animal species.”

I-1401 will not save a single elephant in Africa and will only steal the property of honest citizens. Knife Rights urges you to vote “NO” on Initiative 1401.


  1. dph says:

    Sorry, a majority of Washington voters (Seattle and King County) are idiots and treehuggers. This bill passed with a huge margin. Sorry if you own something rare, old and expensive, it’s now worth bupkus in Washington.
    PS. I voted no for whatever that’s worth, at least I actually read the bill and realized it was stupid without any outside prompting.

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Washington State Residents: Save elephants, vote NO on I-1401

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