TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed legislation that would have created a registration and reporting system for tigers held in captivity in New Jersey in order to discourage the worldwide black market for tiger body parts today.
Instead, the governor would create a three-member Task Force on the Illegal Trade of Endangered Species and Exotic Animals.
“I support the sponsors’ intent of putting forward legislation that acknowledges the value of protecting tigers and preserving public safety, as well as preventing the illegal use and trade of tigers and their parts,” said Christie in his veto. The governor criticized the bill for being too narrowly defined, failing to address the trade of “myriad other endangered species and exotic animals that are fodder for underground wildlife trafficking.”
“The Governor has gutted the tiger bill and we are concerned it will lead to the gutting of tigers in New Jersey,” said NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. “We do not need a taskforce to study this issue, we need action to protect these tigers.”
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a sponsor of the bill, was more diplomatic. “Hopefully, the governor’s conditional veto will give us an opportunity to educate the public in New Jersey and indeed throughout the United States and other countries of the plight of endangered species and the inhumane trafficking of tiger parts which threatens the very existence of tigers on our planet.”