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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: September 8, 2015 12:45 PM
From: Representative Mike Vereb and Rep. Madeleine Dean
To: All House members
Subject: Cosponsor Request: Legislation prohibiting the import, sale, purchase, barter of ivory or rhinoceros horn
In the near future Representative Madeleine Dean and myself plan to introduce legislation in a bi-partisan manner that will sanction the ivory and rhinoceros horn importation to Pennsylvania in addition to selling, purchasing bartering and possession with the intent to sale.

One elephant is killed every 15 minutes for ivory, which is approximately 35,000 elephants killed annually. In South Africa alone, a staggering 1,215 rhinos were killed by poachers in 2014, that’s one every eight hours. This is a global crisis and immediate action is needed in order to save keystone species from extinction.

The federal government restricts the export, import and interstate commerce of ivory and rhinoceros horn. However, intrastate traffic is unregulated by the federal government, therefore we have a duty to take action now and help save these species from extinction for future generations of Pennsylvanians.

The ivory trade funds terrorism. According to the U.S. Department of State, the White House, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Interior including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – the ivory trade directly funds Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army, Janjaweed, Boko haram, among other terrorist organizations.

Our legislation will amend Title 18 (Crimes & Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes ~ in riot, disorderly conduct & related offenses, providing for prohibiting the import, sale, purchase, barter or possession with intent to sale, ivory or rhinoceros horn.

Violation under this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree and shall upon conviction be sentenced as follows:
  • first offense, a fine of not less than $1,000
  • second or subsequent offense, a fine of not less than $5,000 or an amount equal to two times the total value of the ivory, ivory products, rhinoceros horn or rhinoceros horn products, whichever is greater

The ivory and rhinoceros horn trade consists of 3 parts: poaching, trafficking and buying. We have the power in the U.S.A to stop the demand at home.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact Julianne Naccarato at (717) 705-7164 or jnaccara@pahousegop.com

Definitions of Ivory & Rhinoceros Horn:

  • A tooth or tusk composed of ivory from any animal, including but not limited to, an elephant, hippopotamus, mammoth, narwhal, walrus or whale, or a piece thereof, including raw ivory or worked ivory made into an ivory product.
  • Ivory Product: an item that contains or is wholly or partially made from ivory
  • Raw Ivory: an ivory surface, polished or unpolished, unaltered or minimally changed by carving
  • Rhinoceros Horn: the horn or a piece of horn from any species of rhinoceros
  • Rhinoceros Horn Product: an item that contains or is wholly or partially made from a rhinoceros horn

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Introduced as HB1537