On April 7, DC City Council passed a bill that bans the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn in DC, according to an email from animal group DC Voters for Animals. The Elephant Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Trafficking Prohibition Act of 2019 (“Ivory and Horn Trafficking Prohibition Act of 2020”) was passed by the council and will head to Mayor Muriel Bowser to be signed into law.

The bill, “prohibits the import, sale, offer for sale, purchase, barter, or possession with intent to sell ivory products and rhinoceros horn products.” The Humane Society uncovered a significant ivory trade in the nation’s capital in 2019, which become the rationale to bring the bill to the council. Their investigation found over $600,000 worth of ivory for sale in the DC area.

The bill protects elephants and rhinos from wildlife poaching by prohibiting the sale of their ivory and horn in DC. Because federal regulations lack state commerce regulation, cities and states must step up to help ban products that harm animals, according to DC Voters for Animals.

Councilmember Mary M. Cheh said: “I have introduced the Elephant Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Trafficking Prohibition Act on three separate occasions. Perhaps if an earlier iteration of this legislation had passed back in 2015 when it was first introduced, the ivory market would not have moved to the District of Columbia at all. Nevertheless, we must not sit passively while the ivory market thrives in the District. Limiting the demand for ivory and horns is key to stopping the unnecessary and inhumane slaughter of these animals —and we cannot wait.”

“Most people expect that ivory and rhino horn sales have already been done away with,” said Max Broad, founder of DC Voters for Animals, in an emailed statement. “This law puts that expectation into place, clamping down on the goods that are driving the demise of the precious species. It’s an exemplary display of DC values.”

Sign this petition to ban all ivory imports to the United States.

Read more about the ivory trade and poaching in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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