WILDLIFE -- Everyone who appreciates wildlife can appreciate attempts to protect endangered species from poaching, even if the victims are critters halfway around the world from where we live.
But that doesn't mean we have to vote for a law that will do nothing more than be a costly pain in the butt for honest citizens and law enforcement officials alike.
Washington's Initiative 1401 would saddle the state's already understaffed and overburdened Fish and Wildlife police with new responsibilities in monitoring the public as well as state ports, shops and restaurants for ivory and other animal parts killed in other parts of the world.
- See the story by S-R political reporter Jim Camden.
The United States already has such laws, but I-1401 would take them to extremes, for instance -- making grandma's a criminal for selling ivory jewelry she got 50 years ago.
There are definite currents of anti-hunting sentiment in this campaign, which further distracts from the real problem: commercialized poaching.
Microsoft co-owner Paul Allen and other deep-pocket supporters have ponied up millions of dollars to force this bad law on the public and law enforcement. The money would be better spent in the countries where the poaching is underway.
I-1401 backers are spreading the myth that we have the means to enforce technically unfair and tedious legal requirements.
We don't have the enforcement. Our Fish and Wildlife officers already are spread too thin.
I-1401 is another law that threatens law abiding people with "ivory tower" hopes of applying justice to the real international poaching culprits.