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house Bill H.R. 2494

Should the U.S. Crackdown on International Poaching and Wildlife Trafficking?

Argument in favor

Poaching and wildlife trafficking are deplorable. The U.S. can play an important role in stopping them with small investments in the enforcement abilities of foreign governments, while punishing those who commit such crimes.

Alis's Opinion
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08/02/2015
Just because the U.S. cannot do everything, it is not an excuse to do nothing. We need to take the lead because the majority of hunters are rich, bored Americans who put no limits on their behavior--even if it means hunting endangered species to extinction. This reprehensible behavior must be stopped. NOW!!! Do you really want your rich bored grandchildren to never see an actual living elephant, lion or leopard? Even if they are prohibited from killing the last one on earth?
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Mikeizzo1993's Opinion
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08/02/2015
Humans have made more animals extinct than whatever killed the dinosaurs. We need to conserve the wildlife and protect their habitats and well being.
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Dudewizard's Opinion
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08/04/2015
I urge you to read the bill details here. This bill was proposed prior to Cecil's killing. These incentives should also give African gov'ts reason to cooperate the U.S., increasing information sharing between bodies and therefore national security. Yeah $6 million is money, but there are myriad benefits here. This will certainly hurt black market sellers in these areas.
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Argument opposed

There is only so much that the U.S. can do to ensure that foreign governments are abiding by international agreements. Aside from withholding assistance there isn’t much to deter countries from turning a blind eye.

BTSundra's Opinion
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02/03/2016
We should crack down on domestic poaching, but other countries' animals are not America's problem.
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virtuoso's Opinion
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11/15/2016
International poaching.....? We are worried about ANIMALS in SOME OTHER COUNTRY while we drown is $20 trillion debt? Unbelievable.
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Ethan's Opinion
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08/03/2015
This is just another problem that the government is not responsible for. We need to stop wasting tax payer dollars on feel good proposals that can't be enforced.
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bill Progress


  • EnactedOctober 7th, 2016
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed September 15th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house Passed November 2nd, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedMay 21st, 2015

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What is House Bill H.R. 2494?

This bill would enact policies aimed at stopping poaching and wildlife trafficking around the world. It would strengthen punishments against countries that allow poaching and trafficking to occur within their borders, and provide additional resources for cooperative countries to enforce wildlife conservation laws.


It expands existing Wildlife Enforcement Networks — which are government-led, regionally focused programs — to improve coordination, and the sharing of intelligence on illegal wildlife activities between countries. Several federal agencies would be responsible for bolstering existing networks and establishing new ones, including the State Dept., the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

These agencies would provide resources to help professionalize wildlife law enforcement personnel and improve ranger training in partner countries so that they are better equipped to stop poaching and wildlife trafficking.

The Depts. of State, Interior, and Commerce would be required to provide Congress with a list of foreign countries considered to be a major source, transit point, or consumer of trafficked wildlife products each year. Countries that have “failed demonstrably” to abide by international agreements to protect endangered or threatened species would receive a special designation, and the State Dept. would be authorized to withhold assistance — financial or otherwise — from those countries.

The President would be authorized to provide security assistance to African countries in order to counter wildlife trafficking and poaching, which could include:
  • Intelligence and surveillance assets;

  • Communication and electronic equipment;

  • Other defense-related equipment.

None of this assistance could be provided to foreign military or police units if they are found to have engaged in wildlife trafficking or poaching. If the President determines that the country’s government is taking steps to hold responsible parties accountable, this provision could be waived.

Impact

People who oppose poaching and wildlife trafficking; U.S. personnel that would train foreign wildlife enforcement units; the Depts. of State, Interior, and Commerce; the President, and foreign governments and security personnel.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2494

$6.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost $6 million over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: The lead sponsor of this legislation and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), cited the link between the trade of illegal wildlife products and the financing of criminal and terror groups as a primary reason to pass this bill:

“With its high profit margins, the illicit trade of wildlife has become an extremely lucrative funding source for terrorist groups and international gangs. As rhino horn now sells for tens of thousands of dollars a pound, poaching is one of the most profitable criminal activities in the world. Tackling this growing problem conserves some of the world’s most iconic species and strengthens our national security. This bipartisan legislation will aid the global fight against the rampant poaching that is plaguing the world.”

American intelligence agencies have already been considering how to use satellites and other surveillance assets to deter poaching and track down groups that are hunting illegally and have links to terrorists. When these methods have been used, intelligence about terror groups that benefit financially from trafficking has led to greater information about poaching operations, and vice versa when poachers have been caught.

This bill was passed unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and currently has 67 bipartisan cosponsors — including 37 Democrats and 30 Republicans.


Of Note: A high-profile incident involving a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe brought heightened attention to the problem of poaching, as Cecil was killed by a big-game hunter after leaving a protected national park. Hunting lions with guns — while legal — does require a permit and must be undertaken in areas where there is a quota for lion hunting, and it is unclear if Cecil’s killing occurred in such an area. The investigation into Cecil’s death is ongoing.

The World Wildlife Fund has been undertaking efforts to stop poaching and wildlife trafficking for many years, and its efforts have yielded substantial results — including a near-doubling of the population of rhinos in Africa and an increase in the mountain gorilla population. But poaching is still a pervasive problem that jeopardizes the future of many threatened species.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Javier Abalos Alvarez)

AKA

Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016

Official Title

To support global anti-poaching efforts, strengthen the capacity of partner countries to counter wildlife trafficking, designate major wildlife trafficking countries, and for other purposes.

    Just because the U.S. cannot do everything, it is not an excuse to do nothing. We need to take the lead because the majority of hunters are rich, bored Americans who put no limits on their behavior--even if it means hunting endangered species to extinction. This reprehensible behavior must be stopped. NOW!!! Do you really want your rich bored grandchildren to never see an actual living elephant, lion or leopard? Even if they are prohibited from killing the last one on earth?
    Like (55)
    Follow
    Share
    We should crack down on domestic poaching, but other countries' animals are not America's problem.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Humans have made more animals extinct than whatever killed the dinosaurs. We need to conserve the wildlife and protect their habitats and well being.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    I urge you to read the bill details here. This bill was proposed prior to Cecil's killing. These incentives should also give African gov'ts reason to cooperate the U.S., increasing information sharing between bodies and therefore national security. Yeah $6 million is money, but there are myriad benefits here. This will certainly hurt black market sellers in these areas.
    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
    It's time. If these animals were in abundance and were needed for food hunting would be fine however this is not the case. It has become a cruel sport to satisfy the egos of some wealthy people who do not care if they decimate that particular animal population.
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    Yes, most of the hunters do it for the thrill. Conservation just gives them a little cover
    Like (7)
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    Especially those wealthy, American jackasses doing it. Also, they should extradite said American jackasses to face charges in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed.
    Like (7)
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    International poaching.....? We are worried about ANIMALS in SOME OTHER COUNTRY while we drown is $20 trillion debt? Unbelievable.
    Like (4)
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    This bill would enact policies aimed at stopping poaching and wildlife trafficking around the world.
    Like (3)
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    Protecting the natural environment that we are very good at destroying is a must if we want anything left of nature for our children.
    Like (3)
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    We should do all we can. This has got to stop. We are losing animals at an alarming rate. Pretty soon there will be none left. And after Cecil the lion I think we have had enough.
    Like (2)
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    A country can be judged by they way it treats the elderly, the disabled and how it treats animals.
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    Too many beautiful endangered animals are killed as it is. Ending the lives of other sentient beings on our planet for fun is mental illness, not sport. Shoot animals with cameras, not guns.
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    For those who say "There are more important issues," when it comes to animal rights and other topics, you need to learn respect for animal lives as well as our Earth. We are the caretakers of this Earth; therefore, we should learn to RESPECT what was graciously given to us by God.
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    There is no justification for killing any animal for fun!
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    Poaching in the year of 2016 is ridiculous. With a lot of animals going extinct in the world, somethings we cant stop but poaching we can. If we worked harder to end it we could save some species
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    No thats money that we dont have thats going to a cause that wont benefit our country. We need to focus on the US and the problems we're facing.
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    Killing an animal is like killing a human they are real creature
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    The US has plenty of internal problems to deal with.
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    We need to protect endangered species from trophy hunting.
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