By Hilary Corrigan

The Bulletin

Measure 100

A “yes” vote on Measure 100 would prohibit the purchase or sale of any parts of 12 wildlife species, with the listed exemptions. A “no” vote would maintain Oregon’s current law that does not prohibit the sale of any parts of species not native to Oregon, except for shark fins.

A ballot measure aims to block the buying and selling of animal parts such as elephant tusks in Oregon, a move that advocates expect could help close the West Coast to such dealings.

Measure 100, on the Nov. 8 ballot, calls for prohibiting the purchase or sale of any parts of certain animals — elephants, rhinoceroses, whales, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, pangolins, sea turtles, sharks or rays. Existing Oregon law prohibits the sale only of shark fins, and existing federal law does not prohibit sales of wildlife parts within a state.

The National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, a hunting group with two chapters in Oregon, have opposed the ballot measure as unnecessary and warned it could penalize those who get such animal parts legally.

A coalition — including the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Bruce Starr, a Republican who spent four years as a state representative and 12 years as a state senator for Hillsboro — petitioned to put the measure on the ballot. Gov. Kate Brown has also backed it.

Starr, who now serves as vice president of government affairs at icitizen, a nonpartisan civic engagement organization, has championed the measure as a way to protect species that face serious threats, saying the need to save those species trumps the need for Oregonians to sell the carcasses of lions they shot in Africa. People can still go do such hunts, Starr noted, but they could no longer sell the animals’ parts in Oregon.

“It eliminates the economic incentive,” he said. “We have to do our part. Otherwise these species will go extinct.”

Starr expects the measure to help close a loophole that he argues allows for sales within Oregon of ivory tusks that poachers hack off of elephants they kill in Africa and that reach the state illegally. Washington and California already have similar bans on ivory and Oregonians have the chance to close the entire West Coast to the ivory trade, he argued.

He discounted opponents’ “ridiculous” arguments that such a measure in one state could not affect wildlife trafficking.

“If that were the case, we would never do anything, ever,” Starr said, pointing to such efforts as recycling. “Give me a freaking break.”

The measure would take effect in July 2017 and set penalties for violations at $6,500 or an amount equal to two times the total value of the covered animal species part that is the subject of the violation, whichever is higher. It would not apply to Native American tribe members; it would allow for gifts and inheritances involving the animal parts; and it would allow exceptions for antiques at least 100 years old and for musical instruments if the animal part weight in the antiques and instruments does not exceed 200 grams.

But the NRA argued that the measure’s exemptions are too limited and warned of “disastrous” effects for American hunters, gun owners and collectors from banning legally owned animals products. The group argued that the measure would harm gun owners, hunters and others who legally buy guns, jewelry and antiques that incorporate animal products “by making their lawful property worthless” and would also “make criminals out of those who buy or sell legal property.”

Safari Club International called the measure a solution in search of a problem and warned it would penalize law-abiding citizens of Oregon while failing to help stop poaching.

The measure would target owners of legally obtained animals and products made of animals and prohibit sales of ivory, the group said. It would also punish hunters who import legally hunted trophies and musicians and gun owners whose instruments and antique guns contain ivory, the group said.

The group also argued that existing federal laws and treaties already protect animals the act would cover; that African elephants face no extinction threat in the near future; and that no U.S. action will affect the Chinese black market demand for ivory.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812,

hcorrigan@bendbulletin.com

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