VICTORY! California African Species Import Ban Fails

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Senate Bill 1175, introduced by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Calabasas), has failed! The bill was facing a midnight deadline yesterday after it was passed by the California Assembly, and only needed a concurrence vote in the California Senate before the clock struck 12. The Sportsmen’s Alliance, along with a large coalition of California, national and international groups, had been fighting the bill since its introduction in February. African government officials also weighed in on the legislation, which would have been devastating to their countries.

“SB 1175 quickly advanced through the legislative process despite the strong opposition of the coalition and the African countries that would have suffered greatly as a result of the import prohibition,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Senator Stern and the state of California continue to do everything they can to undermine international wildlife conservation efforts in Africa and to ignore the very people that will be directly affected by these short-sighted bills. But, thankfully, the most recent effort to pass this legislation ran out of time.” 

The horrendous bill would have banned the possession or importation of animal products from a number of African big-game species, and was amended in May to prohibit live-animal markets similar to those in China thought to be responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19.

The harsh economic implications also prompted a coalition of African government officials to repeatedly voice their concerns and weigh in throughout the legislative process. Letters were submitted by officials from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Namibia. The Director General of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife also expressed concern and opposition to the legislation, his commentary in opposition can be found here. Additionally, Senate republicans prolonged yesterday’s final Senate session of the year to ultimately run the clock out on SB 1175.

Senate Bill 1175 would have banned the possession or importation of animal products from a number of African big game species, including: African elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceros, giraffe, zebra, hippos, pangolins, baboons and hyenas. African big-game hunting funds efforts that protect plentiful, threatened and endangered species from poaching and gives local communities incentive to tolerate conflict with these animals. These hunts occur within the scope of the law of African countries and adhere to United States import regulations. The dollars that come from African hunts provide a lifeline for many endangered and threatened species as they fund the anti-poaching and conservation efforts throughout Africa that would not be possible otherwise.

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: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.