Senate passes legislation to combat wildlife trafficking

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Senate passed legislation aimed at combatting illegal wildlife trafficking this week. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley helped introduce the Rescuing Animals With Rewards (RAWR) Act. 

The legislation would authorize the U.S. government to offer reward money for information that helps dismantle wildlife trafficking networks linked to terrorism and organized crime.

“The legislation basically allows the U.S. State Department to be able to offer reward for those who are trafficking wildlife and wildlife parts such as ivory, tusks, rhino horns and other items of that nature,” explained Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action.

Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise.

“Wildlife crimes undermine national security and cause immense cruelty to animals,” said Irby.

The next step for the bill is a vote in the U.S. House before it can be signed into law by the President.