THE BLOG

Stamp Out Extinction

05/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In an era of shrinking government budgets, lawmakers are seeking out new revenue streams to help fund critical social programs. That's why a new bill introduced by Congressman Henry Brown (R-S.C.) and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) is a good deal for endangered species and for taxpayers.

H.R. 1454, the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act, would create a new stamp that the U.S. Postal Service would sell at a premium price to raise additional funds for international wildlife conservation. Congress has created a number of special funds to finance programs around the world that aid African and Asian elephants, great apes, marine turtles, rhinoceros, tigers and neotropical migratory birds. These critical projects receive some federal funding, but the conservation of imperiled species would be greatly enhanced by an infusion of more resources.

Bengal_tigerThe legislation is modeled on the highly successful efforts to raise funds to combat breast cancer. Since 1998, the USPS has sold 802 million breast cancer semipostal stamps to the public and has raised an impressive $59.5 million from such sales. 

In fact, it wouldn't be the first time a postage stamp has raised awareness about an animal protection issue. Back in 1966, a five-cent stamp showed a lithograph of a lounging mutt named Babe underscored by the words "Humane Treatment of Animals." Then in 2001, the USPS unveiled a commemorative "Neuter or Spay" first-class stamp, featuring a puppy named Kirby and a kitten named Samantha, and educating millions of stamp users about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets to help prevent overpopulation and euthanasia of homeless dogs and cats.

StampAsk your members of Congress to support H.R. 1454, so some of the most endangered and charismatic species on Earth will have a better chance of survival. And until those new wildlife stamps become available, you can check out Zazzle.com for a number of postage stamps that benefit HSUS programs such as promoting pet adoption and spaying and neutering, and stopping dogfighting and seal hunting. You can even upload a photo of your own pet, and show everyone that the furry face of your loved one is really first-class.