Wildlife Committee Update

Now's the Time to Speak Up for Wildlife!

Kathleen Magner

From animals that suffer and die after being caught in barbaric steel-jaw traps, to the importation of African species on the brink of extinction, your support is critical to passing laws to protect vulnerable wildlife.

 

The abrupt halt to last year’s Connecticut legislative session meant many critical bills were not passed, making the 2021 session more important than ever. Please take action to Support Legislation in the Connecticut General Assembly to Protect Wildlife. Following up with a phone call to your legislator is even more impactful!

 

Sierra Club Connecticut’s Wildlife Committee is working to: 

  • Prohibit the Use of Wild Animals in Circuses, Carnivals and Exhibitions (SB 66). Lions, tigers, elephants and other species are often chained up and jolted with electricity during training and live in stressful, substandard conditions. Having wild animals in such close proximity to the public is dangerous for both people and animals.

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  • Prohibit the Import, Sale and Possession of African Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Black/White Rhinos and Giraffes (SB 62). Lions have disappeared from 94% of their range and number fewer than 25,000. There are more lions being farmed in Africa for canned hunts than in the wild in Africa. Giraffes are down by 40% and face threats from poaching, habitat loss and extinction. Leopards are similarly endangered. It is critical to end the illegal wildlife trafficking of animals and their parts, and all the suffering that goes with such practices. 

 

  • Prohibit the Sale and Trade of Ivory and Rhino Horn (HB 5632). There are only about 350,000 elephants left alive and one is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory. Rhinos are also greatly reduced in numbers with total extirpation of certain subspecies. The suffering caused to these animals when killed is unspeakably cruel. Unless we close markets, we continue to incentivize this practice. 

 

  • Prohibit the Harvesting of Horseshoe crabs (HB 5177). Horseshoe crabs are sharply decreasing in number and are being used as bait (nearly a million crabs a year in the U.S).  Current proposed legislation calls for a ban during a full moon. While we are grateful for its introduction, let’s take it one step further – enact a moratorium that covers the entire mating season to give the population a chance to recover. Horseshoe crabs are also critical to the survival of migratory birds, as well as turtles and sharks. 

 

  • Institute a Bear Education Campaign. Recently, reports of bear-related incidents have fueled support for hunting. This is a poor solution because it ignores the fact that bear populations are self-regulating, and in many cases, residents have not been educated about living adjacent to them. Take action now to promote education and non-lethal co-existence with bears, NOT a bear hunt. OPPOSE SB 63, HB 5447 and HB 5477).

 

  • Prohibit Leghold and Body-Crushing Traps (HB 5528). Animals caught in these inhumane devices suffer severe physical injury, trauma, thirst, hypothermia, drowning and predation. These traps also put household pets and the public at risk. 

 

Wildlife and their habitats are under unprecedented threats. The welfare of all species, including human beings, is indisputably connected. With your essential help, there is much that can be accomplished in this legislative session. Please take action today. Thank you!

Kathleen Magner is Sierra Club Connecticut’s Wildlife Committee Chair.