Background:

Measure 100, titled the “Wildlife Trafficking Prevention Act,” is qualified for the November 8, 2016, Oregon General Election ballot. A full text of the measure is available at: http://oregonvotes.org/irr/2016/068text.pdf.

The intent of the measure is to prohibit the sale or purchase of covered animal species, or parts or products from those species, by anyone in Oregon. The covered species include all species of: elephant, rhinoceros, whale, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, sea turtle, sharks (except spiny dogfish), and rays.

The Oregon measure is similar to Washington State Initiative 1401 that was adopted in 2015 and is now a Washington State law. (Washington State Initiative Measure No. 1401 (2015); RCW 77.08.010(12); RCW 77.15.135)

There are two primary differences between the Oregon measure and the Washington law as they affect an educational institution such as Oregon State University. Oregon Measure 100:

Covers animal species that are not endangered.

  • The Washington law is limited to those species among the covered animal species that are listed as endangered or vulnerable in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list.
  • In contrast, Oregon Measure 100 does not limit covered animal species to endangered species and would include species that are not endangered and species that are extinct.

Exempts only donations of covered animal species to scientific or educational institutions for scientific or educational purposes.

  • The Washington law exempts covered animal species or parts that are “distributed to a scientific or educational institution for scientific or educational purposes.” “Distribution” includes a sale or any change in ownership. RCW 77.08.010(17).
  • In contrast, Oregon Measure 100 exempts only donations of covered animal species or parts to bona fide scientific or educational institutions for scientific or educational purposes. The Oregon measure prohibits sales, trades, or purchases.

 

Impact to OSU:

OSU works regularly with at least four types of animals specified by the proposed law: whales, sharks, rays, and sea turtles. To a lesser extent, Oregon State researchers also study: elephants, lions, and jaguars.

Examples of OSU research and educational activities that will be impacted include:

  • Research on samples that can be obtained non-lethally, such as teeth, hair, scales, DNA samples, and feces but that are not traditionally available via donation. OSU research often uses such samples to identify, track, monitor health, or learn about the movement and behavior of animal species. This research can be beneficial to the protection of the species.
  • Fossil study and research by OSU paleontologists and the OSU collections that they manage both for student educational programs and research.
  • Maintenance and expansion of the Oregon State Ichthyology Collection, a scientific, non-living fish collection.
  • OSU’s ichthyology collection has about 250,000 preserved specimens of fish, including many species of sharks. This collection is used in student education and scientific research, and is constantly improved by sale, trades, exchanges and purchases of specimens. For example, if an excess of shark samples from the Pacific Ocean is identified, the Collection might trade some of them to an East Coast university that has more species and samples from the Atlantic Ocean. If future specimens can only be gained by donation, it could erode the quality of the collection over time.

 

This information was reviewed by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office for compliance with ORS 260.432.