Humane Society pushes for legislation after elephant ivory found for sale in Maryland (US)


ABC News (local)

Date Published

See link for TV segment.

The Maryland General Assembly will review legislation this week after an investigation found at least 30 retailers selling jewelry and other items made of elephant ivory throughout Maryland.

From August to December 2016, the Humane Society of the United States discovered antique shops, malls and consignment stores in Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Washington counties selling elephant ivory and leopard fur products that didn’t appear to be antiques.
Federal law prohibits the import, export and sale of African elephant ivory, the Humane Society said, with exceptions made only for products that are more than 100 years old.

Investigators said several retailers traveled to the Baltimore Art Antique and Jewelry Show from other states, including New York, where ivory sales are illegal. Only one seller was able to provide documentation verifying the age and origin of the items being sold.

“When asked, many sellers claimed ignorance of existing laws regulating the sale of ivory, and others seemed to deliberately confuse or mislead investigators,” the report said.

The proposed legislation, titled H.B. 686/S.B. 560, will prohibit the sale of any products or parts from animals including elephants, sea turtles, lions, rhinos, apes or other threatened or endangered species.

Humane Society officials said the legislation would make sure Maryland doesn’t create an illegal market for animal products purchased from poaching and trafficking.

“We discovered that elephant ivory and other products of imperiled species are readily available in Maryland, and legislators have the opportunity to end the sale of these products in our state by passing H.B. 686/S.B. 560,” said Emily Hovermale, Maryland state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “These bills will protect imperiled species around the world by removing the financial incentive to kill these animals and trade in their parts.”

Committee hearings are scheduled for Feb. 15 and Feb. 21.