“Beginning on January 1st, 2020, it will be illegal to import for commercial purposes or sell the carcass and any other parts of crocodile and alligator within the state of California”. Thus states the norm of the Californian penal code which, from next year, prohibits the trade in crocodile and alligator raw materials. The law was approved in 1970, but its application has so far been suspended. Although in the Assembly there were three different proposals asking for a further suspension or cancellation of the rule, in Sacramento, where the trade in kangaroo and python is already forbidden and the ban on fur is being discussed, they decided otherwise.
Celebrating, it could not be otherwise, was PETA, Social Compassion in Legislation and the other animalist groups that put pressure to speed up the entry into force of the law. On the other hand, those concerned with the preservation of animal species express disappointment and concern. “It cannot be said that it is a move in the interests of preservation, nor that it will end up saving even one single crocodile”, comments ILH Grahame Webb, chairman of the IUCN crocodile commission, the National Union for Conservation of Nature -, on the contrary, it eliminates the incentives for the conservation of reptiles”. The application of the rule, continues Webb, was supported by “self-styled animal rights activists on the assumption that there was a massive illegal trade, but there is not”. The use of exotic leathers has been “one of the strongest conservation drivers in the most remote areas of the world”.