A Concurrent Resolution establishing the Task Force on the Illegal Trade and Inhumane Treatment of Endangered and Exotic Animals.
Whereas, The illegal trade of endangered and exotic wildlife is a multi-billion dollar business and the United States makes up a substantial portion of the international black market as a source of both supply and demand; and
Whereas, The illegal wildlife trade often targets rare and endangered species, thus furthering the decline of threatened populations and increasing the likelihood of permanent extinction; and
Whereas, The use of endangered and exotic wildlife for illegal purposes results in untold instances of animal cruelty and significant hazards to the public health; and
Whereas, Failure to adequately track and account for endangered and exotic animals at the State level may well contribute to the growth of the illegal trade both domestically and internationally; and
Whereas, It is fitting and proper that the Legislature should establish a task force to evaluate the permitting, registration, and reporting of endangered species and exotic animals and to make recommendations regarding the formulation of a comprehensive approach toward curtailing the illegal trade of wildlife; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):
1. There is established the “Task Force on the Illegal Trade and Inhumane Treatment of Endangered and Exotic Animals,” which shall consist of 1[five] six1 members 1, four of whom shall be1 appointed jointly by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the General Assembly. The members of the task force shall be as follows:
a. One member with significant managerial experience at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, who shall serve as chairperson of the task force;
b. One member representing the nonprofit organization known as Big Cat Rescue;
c. One member representing the nonprofit organization known as EcoHealth Alliance;
d. One member representing the nonprofit organization known as the Humane Society of the United States; and
e. 1[One member] Two members1 of the public, 1[who] one of whom shall be appointed by the President of the Senate and one of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, both of whom1 shall not hold elective office, and who shall have substantial knowledge and expertise related to endangered and exotic animals.
2. a. Members of the task force shall be appointed within 30 days after adoption of this concurrent resolution, and the task force shall organize within 30 days after appointment of the majority of its members. The chairperson shall appoint a secretary, who need not be a member of the task force.
b. The members shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties and within the limits of funds available to the task force.
c. The task force shall meet at the call of the chairperson and may meet and hold public hearings at such place or places as it shall designate during the sessions or recesses of the Legislature.
d. The task force shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any State, county, or municipal department, board, bureau, commission, agency or other entity, as it may require and as may be available for its purposes, and to employ stenographic and clerical assistance and incur traveling and other miscellaneous expenses as may be necessary to perform its duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available for its purposes.
3. The purpose of the task force shall be to evaluate the permitting, registration, and reporting of all “endangered species” and “exotic animals,” as those terms are defined in federal law, rule, or regulation, or as defined in “The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act, “ P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-1 et seq.) or P.L.1962, c.127 (C.23:4-63.3 et seq.), and any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and to make recommendations for a comprehensive approach to curtailing the illegal trade of endangered species and exotic animals and eliminating the instances of animal cruelty resulting therefrom.
4. Within 180 days after the task force organizes, it shall prepare and submit to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly, the Minority Leader of the Senate, and the Minority Leader of the General Assembly a report containing its findings and recommendations. The task force shall expire on the 30th day after submitting its report, or at such other time as may be designated jointly by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the General Assembly.
5. This concurrent resolution shall take effect immediately.