A newly passed bill in Massachusetts will help protect vulnerable wildlife from poachers.
Massachusetts is one of the last states to join the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, a national database of potential poachers and suspended hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses shared among member states, and was known as “poacher’s paradise” due to their meager fines and outdated hunting laws.
But that has finally changed.
Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill into law after it was passed by the Senate and House of Representatives. Those who exploit wildlife in the state will now face increased fines and criminal penalties.
“It has been nearly a century since many of the commonwealth’s anti-poaching laws were last updated. The absence of action on anti-poaching laws has resulted in outdated penalties that result in no more than a slap on the wrist for offenders,” Senator Michael Moore, D-Millbury, told The Grafton News. “This legislation finally brings our laws, fines and penalties into line with other states. It also brings Massachusetts into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a nationwide law enforcement network that allows our wildlife protection agencies to share information about poachers with other states. With the passage of this legislation, Massachusetts is making it clear that we will no longer be a safe haven for those who wish to do harm to our wildlife, marine life, and ecosystems.”
Massachusetts Sportsmen’s Council shared some of the new fines which haven’t been updated for decades. Killing a black bear outside of hunting season or killing more than one in season would result in a $10,000 fine for each offense.
Killing a protected bird of prey will result in fines up to $10,000 and up to a year in prison.
The new legislation also targets “thrill killings”. Anyone who kills animals without taking the meat or pelts would face fines up to $15,000 and a loss of their hunting license for life.
The Humane Society of the United States is thrilled by the passing of the anti-poaching law and posted, “Poaching is a serious crime, and HSUS worked alongside coalition partners to pass this bill so that more animals are saved!”
This article by Andrea Powell was first published by The Animal Rescue Site.
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