Last month, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Rescuing Animals With Rewards Act, led by Maine Sen. Susan Collins and her colleague Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. The measure aims to end the killing of elephants, rhinoceros, apes and other protected wildlife for valuable parts such as ivory tusks, and horns on the black market.

Wildlife trafficking is an international crime that is estimated to generate over $10 billion a year in illegal profits. Drivers of the enterprise are often organized, sophisticated criminals, including known terrorist organizations. Wildlife trafficking not only threatens endangered species worldwide, but also jeopardizes local security, spreads disease, undermines the rule of law, fuels corruption and damages economic development.

The RAWR Act is one more victory on animal welfare issues for Sen. Collins. She led the charge to maintain the ban on horse slaughter and  co-sponsored the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act; the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, to end the soring of walking horses; the Horseracing Integrity Act, to end doping in American horse racing; the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, and countless other measures. Last year, she helped lead the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act, to ban animal fighting in the U.S. territories, which was signed into law in December 2018.

I applaud Susan Collins for working to crack down on these transnational crimes throughout the world to protect wildlife and am grateful for her tremendous leadership on animal protection issues. We are fortunate to have her looking out for their best interests.

Gina E. Garey

Maine state director, Animal Wellness Action


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