The Connecticut Senate has approved legislation banning the import and possession of African elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceros, Cape buffalos and giraffes. Originally Sen. Bob Duff’s (D-Norwalk) Senate Bill 20 would have charged violators of the new law with a felony carrying the same penalties as a person convicted of manslaughter. This would have provided for fines of up to $10,000 and up to two years in prison.
On Friday, May 10, the Senate approved an amendment reducing the penalty to a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries the same penalties as negligent homicide and several other terrible crimes, with a maximum fine of $2,000 and the potential of one year of prison time. After adopting the amendment, the bill passed by a vote of 32-4.
Take Action Today! Connecticut sportsmen should contact their state representatives and ask them to vote NO on Senate Bill 20. Members can contact their legislator by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.
On April 26, the Sportsmen’s Alliance reported on Senate Bill 20, taking specific note that it would treat big-game hunters the same as a person convicted of felony manslaughter, and that it also prohibited taxidermy of the “Big Six” species. In response to the outcry over the outrageous penalties, an amendment was adopted exempting taxidermists who work on trophies for people outside of Connecticut and reduced the penalties. Examples of other Connecticut Class A Misdemeanors are criminal negligent homicide, sexual assault, and assault of disabled or someone who is pregnant.
“According to all but four Connecticut Senators, importing a legally hunted animal from Africa would be an equal crime to assaulting a blind person or a pregnant woman!” exclaimed Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “SB 20 equates legal hunting with killing someone, a sexual assault, or attacking the most vulnerable in our society!”
By heavily criminalizing the import or possession of African big game trophies, SB 20 essentially bans a Connecticut resident from hunting those species. Hunting for big game in Africa is tightly regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which only issues import permits for hunts that occur in countries that maintain sound conservation plans. Money that flows into these countries actually helps maintain healthy populations of wildlife and prevents poaching.
“Senate Bill 20 treats law-abiding hunters like killers of people, and actually endangers the health of iconic animals its authors claim to protect,” said Tague. “This bill is absolute lunacy!”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.