Good Riddance to the Death of HR 511

Last year may have been a year filled with great experiences and adventures, but something we are happy to leave behind in 2012 is HR 511! Thanks to the reptile community and animal lovers alike for banning together to protect your freedoms, legislation to ban interstate transport of the Indian & Reticulated Pythons, Green & Beni Anacondas and Boas has been defeated.

 

Unfortunately the same couldn't be said for Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) the northern (Python sebae) and southern African rock python, (Python natalensis) and the yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) who as of March 23, 2012 are included in the Lacey Act. This addition does not federally ban ownership, but does place restrictions on interstate transport for any reason including pet owners moving from state to state.

 

 

For more information on the HR 511's time in Congress and Lacey Act requirements, check out our previous blog posts below.

RED ALERT: STOP HR511 Python BAN TODAY!

 

Python Ban: The Adaptability Argument

Python Ban: The Special Interest Argument

Python Ban: The Discussion

Python Ban: The Economic Argument

Python Ban: The "Good Science" Argument

Python Ban: The Precedent Argument

Python Ban: The Pet Argument

Python Ban: The Answers to Living Under the Lacey Act

 

HR511 Weekly Update December 3 : Representative John Fleming, M.D.

HR511 Weekly Update December 10 : Brady Barr Resident Herpetologist at National Geographic Society

HR511 Weekly Update December 18 : Colette Sutherland TSK, Inc.

 

Thank you to those who called their representatives to ensure the truth about HR511 was heard and thank you to those representatives for listening to the facts and ignoring the hype. Here at Prehistoric Pets we wish this unbased attack was never opened but we are SO EXCITED to be able to close the discussion and looming threats with be it not without losses, a victory for reptiles.

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HR511 Weekly Update December 3 : Representative John Fleming, M.D.

Just as we thought talks on further banning reptile ownership were complete HR511 has been picked up to add the final species to the Lacey Act banning a total of 9 snake species from interstate transport. Because these proceedings can often be complex and confusing we will be dedicating one blog post a week to the research, arguments, and ways you can get involved in HR511 and the protection of your freedoms.

We will start this series with the opening statement by the Honorable John Fleming, Chairman, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs at the Subcommittee Hearing on HR511: To Prohibit the Importation of Various Species of Constrictor Snakes on November 29,2012.

 

 

Good morning, today, we will hear testimony on H. R. 511, a bill introduced by the distinguished gentleman from Florida, Congressman Tom Rooney to list nine species of constrictor snakes under the Lacey Act.

 

Let me say at the outset that I compliment my colleagues from the Florida delegation for their tireless commitment to restoring the Florida Everglades. But I have concerns that H. R. 511 will end up destroying hundreds of small businesses without providing any real benefit to the Everglades.

 

By way of background, there are several key dates in this discussion. The first was on June 23, 2006, when the South Florida Water Management District petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to list Burmese pythons on the Lacey Act. The next important date was on January 20, 2010, when the Secretary of the Interior proposed to administratively list nine species of constrictor snakes.

 

Before announcing a decision, however, the State of Florida implemented a law as of July 1, 2010, prohibiting the importation and personal possession of seven species of snakes including Burmese pythons.

 

Finally, after an exhaustive analysis by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the U. S. Small Business Administration of more than 56,000 comments, the Secretary of the Interior announced on January 17th of this year that four of the nine species – including the two species that have established populations in the Everglades – would be treated as ‘injurious wildlife.” It is now a violation of federal law to import and to move these four species in interstate commerce. Upon making the decision, Secretary Salazar noted that it was intended to “strike a balance” between economic and environmental concerns.

 

We are now being asked in H. R. 511 to go far beyond the recommendations of the South Florida Water Management District, the State of Florida and the Fish and Wildlife Service by listing all nine species of constrictor snakes.

 

It is important to remember that millions of Americans own and have legally acquired constrictor snakes. They weren’t smuggled into this country. While some of these Americans are simply content to have a Boa constrictor as a pet, many others have created small businesses which breed them, feed them, provide equipment for them, sell them at pet stores, promote them at trade shows, provide veterinary care for them and other activities which contribute millions to our economy.

 

According to an economic analysis undertaken by the Georgetown Economic Services, the Boa constrictor, which was not listed by the Fish and Wildlife Service, “Accounts for 70 percent of all imports and 70 to 80 percent of all revenues generated by these nine species.” The Service estimated that the annual decrease in economic output of these snakes ranged from $42 million to $86.2 million. In addition, the House Committee on Oversight held a hearing on the proposed listing of the nine species and concluded in their report that “Over the first ten years, combined loss could be between $505 million and $1.2 billion”.

 

A witness at that hearing, Mr. David Barker of Texas, an internationally recognized authority on constrictor snakes stated that “This misguided regulations will destroy an entire industry, comprised almost exclusively of small and micro businesses. In short, if this rule goes into effect, it will destroy my life’s work and investments for no rational reason”.

 

During the course of this hearing, I hope to learn why the current Florida state law and recent Interior Department ruling seem, in some people’s minds, insufficient in addressing the Everglades problem. More specifically, does H. R. 511 protect current breeders, pet store owners and small businesses who trade these species in Louisiana, Michigan, New York and Washington State.

 

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USARK Legal Action Against FWS Constrictor Rule

Approximately three months have passed since U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) took the unprecedented action of adding four constricting snakes to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. Never before have animals widely held by the American public been listed. Originally FWS suggested the addition of all of Boa, Python and Eunectes. The list was whittled down to nine constricting snakes after the highly controversial “Risk Assessment” was published by Gordon Rodda and Robert Reed of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The final rule was announced in January 2012. USARK was able to block five of the nine proposed snakes by taking dynamic action against the rule. Never before had a Injurious Wildlife listing been challenged or blocked. Nevertheless, the final rule was enacted March 23rd 2012 with four constricting snakes.

U.S. Geological Survey

From the very beginning of this process USARK has been very careful to lay the groundwork and establish the public record that would afford us the ability to take legal action if necessary. Scientists from all over the world have criticized the sloppy and speculative work used by FWS to justify Lacey Act listing. In 2010 USARK filed a formal challenge of the USGS “Risk Assessment” under the Information Quality Act. In 2011 Georgetown Economic Services (GES) published “The Modern Reptile Industry”, an independent and comprehensive economic survey that included the impact that a Lacey Act listing was likely to have on legitimate business interests. The GES report demonstrated how the listing could impact as much as $104 million in trade annually. USARK built a clear and convincing case that FWS was potentially arbitrary and capricious in their zeal for a listing.

USARK and its counsel are carefully reviewing their legal options for addressing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s unwarranted listing of four constricting snakes, including Burmese pythons, on the Lacey Act’s Injurious Wildlife list. We believe the listing decision was precipitous, unsupported by the best available science, and poor policy. USARK is also concerned about the five other species of snakes, including Boa constrictor, that FWS has deferred addressing.

High quality captive bred Burmese python morphs

We believe FWS has exceeded its Lacey Act authority in terms of the breadth of the restrictions placed on the four listed species. The organization will continue to develop its legal theories and develop a plan for addressing the industry’s legitimate concerns with the proposed and final rules.

These legal maneuvers are not inexpensive, and will be even more costly if it is necessary to file a federal lawsuit. Our goal is to raise $250,000 between now and the end of the year. This is only a start. If we file a lawsuit it could easily require twice that amount. FWS doesn’t think that the Reptile Nation is capable of fielding a serious legal challenge to their arbitrary Lacey Act listing. They don’t think we can raise the money. We have waited until our legal team gave us the word that they felt we have a strong and clear course of action to follow. Now is the time for the Reptile Nation to stand up and take back what is ours!

Please use PayPal to donation@usark.org. Please put “LAW” in the comment or note area; or you can mail a check to: USARK, PO Box 279, Grandy, NC 27939. Please put “LAW” in the memo line.

donate

 

This blog has been shared directly from http://usark.org/action-alert/usark-legal-action-against-fws-constrictor-rule/

The United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) is a registered non-profit organization duly incorporated in the state of North Carolina. We are advocates for the practice of Herpetoculture; the non-traditional agricultural pursuit of farming high quality captive bred reptiles & amphibians for conservation projects, zoos, museums, research facilities, education, entertainment and pets. We are dedicated to conservation through captive propagation, and espouse the ideal of, “Preserving Reptiles & Amphibians for Our Future”. We endorse a ‘Keepers Code of Ethics’. Our members are veterinarians, researchers, breeders, manufacturers, feed producers, hobbyists and pet owners; collectively known as the Reptile Nation. Our membership accounts for annual trade revenues of $1.4 billion in the US. USARK is the only advocate of the conservation, responsible ownership and trade of reptiles and amphibians as a #1 priority with no conflicting interests.

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Python Ban: The Special Interest Argument

 

 

Prehistoric Pets has long worked with a wide variety of species of large constrictors, over a span of many years. During that time, we have come to an intimate understanding of the animals we have worked with, their temperature and environmental needs, personalities, reproductive and feeding capabilities. With this background and some additional research it becomes clear the animals recently added to the Lacey act are neither capable of living outside of their current establishment in the Everglades or pose a reasonable threat to humans.

We’ve compiled just some of the facts we’ve found within the documentation supposedly backing this faulty legislation. We urge you to read these excerpts, examine the sources and develop your own opinion on the subject, but please please do not rely on sensationalized images and articles with an underlying agenda. Today we will cover the special interest argument examining where the support and attack on this legislation is really coming from.

 

 

SPECIAL INTREST ARGUMENT

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The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers spent $213,202 on lobbying since 2009, as the ban was being considered, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sfl-obama-administration-to-make-major-burmese-python-announcement-20120116,0,2260910.story

Democratic Senator Michael Bennet from Colorado received $109,520 from interest groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, to support of HR 2811 along with $62,204  to Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. Then received the same amount again in support of HR669 for a total of $343,448 to these 2 Senators alone.

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h2811/money

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h669/money

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The Way Washington Works

Here’s a timeline.

June 2006: The South Florida Water Management District petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requesting the listing of Burmese pythons as injurious under the Lacey Act, a federal law that regulates trade in wildlife.

January 2008FWS published a Notice of Inquiry in the Federal Register asking the public for comments on several large constrictor snakes.

July 2009U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about the dangers posed by large constricting snakes to Florida’s ecosystems, unveiling the skin of a 17-foot Burmese python perhaps shed in the Everglades. 

October 2009The U.S. Geological Survey issued a science-based report that identifies nine species of large, constricting snakes as posing a medium or high risk as invasive species in the United States.

March 2010FWS issued a proposed rule to list nine large constrictor snakes as injurious under the Lacey Act.

January 2011: Open Secrets, a website that discloses federal lobbying expenditures, announced that the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers spent $120,000 lobbying against the FWS rule. USARK submitted a report saying that banning the trade in these species would cost the industry $100 million–an utterly absurd figure. 

March 2011: The White House Office of Management and Budget/Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs received the final rule from FWS. (This White House agency's review process is usually 90 days, yet the rule was held up for 10 months.)

January 2012: Salazar makes the announcement covering only the four species.

 

http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2012/01/constrictor-snake-news.html

Missing from timeline:

Democratic Senator Michael Bennet from Colorado received $109,520 from interest groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, to support of HR 2811 along with $62,204  to Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. Then received the same amount again in support of HR669 for a total of $343,448 to these 2 Senators alone.

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h2811/money

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h669/money

The Information Quality Act governs the standard of quality of information used to substantiate a federal rule making such as the Constrictor Rule. Because, at the behest of USARK, it was confirmed from scientists round the world that the USGS Constrictor Report was NOT the kind of quality scientific work to base policy or legislative changes on, USARK filed a formal challenge in 2010 of the Constrictor Report in the form of a Request for Correction of the myriad of errors, misstatements and inconsistencies within the document. USGS responded that they were not held to information quality standards under the IQA because their "Grey" paper was NOT deemed at the time of publication to be a "Highly Influential" document; meaning that their estimate of the economic impact of the rule it was supporting fell below the $100 million threshold that constitutes a major rule. Unfortunately for them USARK commissioned Georgetown Economic Services to do a comprehensive economic assessment of the reptile industry. They researched the entire industry and determined that the rule, in fact, reached beyond the threshold to approximately $104 million. This put the entire rule making process in jeopardy, because now USGS and FWS could be held to account in a federal courtroom for bypassing information quality standards under IQA. After USARK proved that this would indeed fall into major rule territory, White House oversight officials appeared ready to bury the rule.... Until HSUS, The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife pressured Florida politicians to ask Obama to push rule through. Then government did what it always does, it compromised. They chose 4 snakes that would not carry the economic impact constituting a major rule and enacted this limited version avoiding the mandatory integrity in science demanded by going after all 9.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/USARK-United-States-Association-of-Reptile-Keepers/93475517723

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Special Interests and Their Brand of Snake Oil

Hundreds of thousands of the animals have been imported into the country in recent years, and there’s almost never a good outcome for these hapless creatures. 

http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2011/09/constrictor-snakes.html

It’s easy to rail at Washington, and in so many cases, it’s the right response. But there’s more to the story. Rail at the special interests that are thwarting the public good. And take action to turn it around. It’s up to us to provide a counterweight and to restore some good sense and sound policies. If we leave the playing field to the reptile dealers, the puppy millers, the NRA and so many other selfish interests, the animals won’t stand a chance.

http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2011/09/constrictor-snakes.html


Animal Protection Priorities – 111th Congress

Pythons – S. 373 / H.R. 2811 – To amend the Lacey Act to add pythons to the list of injurious species prohibited from interstate commerce and importation.  Leaders:  Sen. Bill Nelson / Rep. Meek  House Judiciary Committee markup of H.R. 2811 held on 7/29/09, narrowing bill to Burmese pythons and Rock pythons.   Hearing on S. 373 held on 7/8/09 in EPW Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife. 

Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act – H.R. 669 – To prevent the introduction and establishment in the U.S. of nonnative wildlife species that may hurt the economy, environment, human health, or native wildlife. Leader:  Rep. Bordallo  Hearing held on 3/23/09 in House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/legislation/111th-congress-humane-agenda-1.pdf

Our organizations, representing millions of constituents across the country, come together in support of H.R. 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act. We applaud Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo for her leadership in introducing this bill, and express our appreciation to the 25 current cosponsors.

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/wildlife/exotics/hr_669_statement_042309.pdf

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org. 

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2009/01/bill_to_address_exotic_animal_importation_introduced_012709.html

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Live Reptile Trade: The reptile trade puts human health, the environment, and the animals at risk

The recent explosion in the popularity of pet reptiles—the number topped 13 million in 2009, according to the American Pet Products Association—is bad news for people, reptiles, and the environment.

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/exotic_pets/facts/reptile_trade.html

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RED ALERT: STOP HR511 Python BAN TODAY!

This morning we learned from USARK (United States Association of Reptile Keepers) that Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) had introduced HR511, a bill to ammend the Lacey Act (title 18) to prohibit the importation of 9 species of constricting snakes, to the US House of Representatives. Below is the official post from USARK with details on how you can get involved to help protect our jobs, passions, and pets.

 

HR 511, a bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the importation of various injurious species of constrictor snakes; Indian python, Python molurus, including the Burmese python, Python molurus bivittatus; reticulated python, Broghammerus reticulatus; Northern African python,Python sebae; Southern African python, Python natalensis; Boa constrictor; yellow anaconda, Eunectes notaeus; DeSchauensee’s anaconda, Eunectes deschauenseei; green anaconda, Eunectes murinus; and the Beni anaconda, Eunectes beniensis, in the US House of Representatives, was introduced January 26, 2011 by Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) . 

Congressman Rooney has taken action to move HR 511! This bill seeks to add 9 constricting snakes to the Injurious Wildlife List of the Lacey Act. HR 511 has been scheduled for a Markup Hearing before the US House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday February 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM EST.

http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/markups112.html

>>There is very little time to voice opposition to this bill that could devistate the Reptile Community. Please participate in the USARK Call In Campaign TODAY!<<

PHONE CAMPAIGN:

Talking Points:

Will destroy thousands of jobs and small family businesses; $104 million annual economic impact.
Criminalize the actions of over 1 million American Citizens; Lacey Act felons.
Federal action to address a localized problem in South Florida is unnecessary; the State of Florida and US Fish & Wildlife have already taken draconian measures.
Underlying science has been criticized by scientists from around the world.
Creates a massive animal welfare problem, potentially displacing millions of animals.

Key Members of House Judiciary Committee:

Lamar Smith (R-TX)- 202-225-4236
Sensenbrenner (R-WI)- 202-225-5101
Coble (R-NC)- 202-225-3065
Issa (R-CA)- 202-225-3906
Gohmert (R-TX)- 202-225-3035
Chaffetz (R-UT)- 202-225-7751
Gowdy (R-SC)- 202-225-6030
Poe (R-TX)- 202-225-6565
Goodlatte (R-VA)- 202-225-5431

DO IT NOW!!!

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Python Ban: The Discussion

In several of the documents relating to the addition of several species of snakes to the Lacey Act the assumption is made that during the periods of public comment very few responses were received, and those that were received were carefully considered.

Question 12:  What prompted the reopening of the public comment period of the proposed rule to list the Indian (Burmese) python and eight other large constrictor snakes as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act?

Answer:   In response to a number of requests from stakeholders, the Service granted an additional 30 days for the public comment period on the proposed rule for a total of 90 days.  

Question 13:  How many public comments did the Service receive? 

Answer:  The Service received about 56,500 comments for the proposed rule.  The public can view these comments at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015.  A final determination was made after a comprehensive review of the scientific data and the information contained in comments submitted by the public and peer reviewers

 

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

 

Here at Prehistoric Pets we believe it is the duty of those in office to protect the rights and wishes of their constituents and the duty of those constituents to get involved and carry an open discussion with their elected officials.

This is why we have stayed constantly involved in the discussion emailing, calling, and scheduling meetings with our representatives. Today’s blog includes our letter to Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer explaining our concerns for this legislation. We did not receive the response we had wished for, but at least our voice was heard.

Senator Boxer / Senator Feinstein ,

 

My name is Jay Brewer. I live and work in Orange County, Ca., actually for the past 22 years I have run and operated my small business, Prehistoric Pets.  I emailed you a bit early about setting up a one on one meeting regarding S 373. Below I have included some information on myself, my business, and my concerns for this bill. If we don't get a chance to meet I would appreciate if you could at least understand my stance on this subject and why this cause is so important.

When I opened Prehistoric Pets, as Pet Country, in 1988 the store focused on providing quality pets and service to our customers. As our stock of exotic reptiles grew we had the opportunity to expand first into a 5000 sq ft location in 1992, and then expand again in 2000. Our inventive set-up was the first of its kind, which I designed to create a zoo-like atmosphere with the philosophy“build it and they will come.” This philosophy proved correct and new customers started visiting the store to observe exotic reptiles, which are not displayed at even the largest of zoos.

This collection of specialized and rare reptiles also set PrehistoricPets.com apart, as a large online provider of quality reptiles. Demand for a new variety of high-end reptiles led to an increase of specialty breeding projects behind the scenes at our Fountain Valley location. These online sales, exported around the world and throughout the US, quickly became a very successful and large source of income for Prehistoric Pets. In 1995, we also began promoting our party business, Jurassic Parties, which proved very successful. Through Jurassic Parties we were able to educate the public at both schools and private events about reptiles using hands-on interaction with reptiles these children would have otherwise only read about in science books , to this day we have provided over 12,000 of these educational presentations across Southern California. These two factors combined allowed the 2000 expansion to its current size of 10,000 sq ft, with the most zoo-like experience over doubling our location size and producing a banner year in 2005.

As owner I have used difficult economic periods as a time to find a new niches Prehistoric Pets could settle into. From a 2000 gallon pond in the middle of the store, filled with Giant tropical fish to the displays exhibiting thousands of exotic reptiles of all sizes, Prehistoric Pets is a zoo. Over the summer we converted half of our location into a paid admission zoo, The Reptile Zoo, that serves as an educational center involving hands-on interaction with various types of reptiles. The support from customers, especially mothers, has been overwhelming. They love The Reptile Zoo and Prehistoric Pets as a destination for low price high benefit education entertainment for their children.

Unfortunately S 373 threatens to obliterate my passion and the business I have put my heart and soul into for the past 25 years also destroy an education resource for thousands of families throughout Orange and Los Angeles County without solving the problem it seeks to correct in South Florida.

As I had mentioned before along with running our 10,000 sq ft reptile zoo we are also one of the premiere breeders of Reticulated Pythons , honestly, in the world. We focus in the breeding of specialty "morphs", or color and pattern variations, that are completely impossible in the wild. With 25 years of this specialized breeding I have grown quite a stock in captive bred animals, making it extremely rare to ever import an animal from the wild.

Here in California we enjoy rather wonderful weather, but the majority of the United States is not as privileged with average temperatures in the high sixties. But even in such a warm weather I must spend thousands of dollars monthly to provide specialized heating for every single one of my snakes. You must understand, especially in these tough economic times, I would love to cut costs and stop paying for this heat but without it my animals would quickly catch colds, yes they can catch colds just like people, and sadly die. The same is true for breeders and reptile owners across the country that spend millions of dollars every year to provide specialized environments and care for our animals that would not be able to survive without our support. The reason it would be so impossible for these animals to survive even with balmy day temperatures of 60-80 degrees here in Southern California is their absolute reliance on surrounding temperatures. Snakes are cold blooded, which means unlike humans they cannot raise their own body temperature. Though they might enjoy the warm temperatures during the day with the extreme drop in temperature each night these snakes wouldn’t be able to bring their body temperature back up to a safe level, resulting in as I mentioned before severe colds and a quick death.

Another issue I see with this bill is regarding the actual "invasive threat" of these pythons and boas. Boas have lived in Mexico from the beginning of time and have not crossed the border or been cause for worry regarding infestation or destruction of wildlife... and even Burmese pythons have been in the Everglades for the last twenty something years without moving far north let alone the entire US. When you look at any study of the natural habitat of these pythons then follow the latitude line to where it crosses the United States you will find highest range these pythons can survive crosses into only a small section of Florida and nowhere else in the United States. If there is a problem in Florida it should be a state level with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee, as it currently is.

Thank you so much for hearing me out. I look forward to the opportunity to talk with you face to face in the very near future.

How was your voice heard? Have you contacted your representatives? Were you able to schedule an appointment to meet with one of their staff? What was their response?

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Python Ban: The Economic Argument

Prehistoric Pets has long worked with a wide variety of species of large constrictors, over a span of many years. During that time, we have come to an intimate understanding of the animals we have worked with, their temperature and environmental needs, personalities, reproductive and feeding capabilities. With this background and some additional research it becomes clear the animals recently added to the Lacey act are neither capable of living outside of their current establishment in the Everglades or pose a reasonable threat to humans. We’ve compiled just some of the facts we’ve found within the documentation supposedly backing this faulty legislation.

We urge you to read these excerpts, examine the sources and develop your own opinion on the subject, but please please do not rely on sensationalized images and articles with an underlying agenda. Today we will cover the economic argument that is so often misconstrued and sensationalized by comparing annual costs to the cost over time.

 

 

ECONOMIC ARGUMENT

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“Unfortunately, when it came to weighing the economic interests of these few breeders against the enormous economic and ecological damage these snakes can cause, the Administration was sold a bottle of snake oil.” –Dr. Bruce Stein of the National Wildlife Federation

National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species

 

Actual Facts: From 2005-2012 the “enormous” economic damage to the US Fish and Wildlife Service was about $6 million or $720,000-$850,000 annually. The estimated loss by these “few breeders” will be $10.7 million - $21.8 million annually by the current listing of just 3 species.Fish and Wildlife Services: Economic Impact

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Question 19: Did you determine if there will be economic or environmental impacts if these species are listed under the Lacey Act?

The Service’s Division of Economics reviewed all of the comments related to the economic impact of the proposed rule and updated the economic analysis. The total annual decrease in economic output if all of the nine large constrictors were listed as injurious under the Lacey Act is estimated to range from $42.0 to $86.2 million.[1] For four species, the decrease in economic output is estimated to be $10.7 to 21.8 million. These estimates assume that consumers will not increase their purchases of other species in response to the unavailability of the listed species. If consumers do switch to other species, the impact on economic output would be reduced.

State and Federal agencies have expended millions of public dollars [2] to address the threats posed by pythons in the Everglades If the spread of these species is not controlled, we anticipate that State and Federal agencies would need to spend even more money to address the threats posed in other areas of the United States. These costly control measures could be reduced or prevented by this listing under the Lacey Act.

Fish and Wildlife Services: Four Snakes Q&A

 

[1] Unfortunately for them USARK commissioned Georgetown Economic Services to do a comprehensive economic assessment of the reptile industry. They researched the entire industry and determined that the rule, in fact, reached beyond the threshold to approximately $104 million. USARK Facebook

[2] From 2005-2012 US Fish and Wildlife Service spent $6 million [$720,000-$850,000 ANNUALLY] Estimated loss in industry [9 species $42 million -$104 million ANNUALLY] [4 species minimum $10.7 million - $21.8 million ANNUALLY] Fish and Wildlife Services: Economic Impact

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Question 22: Will the pet industry lose revenue and jobs as a result of this rule?

The Service’s Division of Economics reviewed all of the public comments related to the economic impact of the proposed rule that were submitted during the two public comment periods and updated the economic analysis. The total ANNUAL DECREASE IN ECONOMIC OUTPUT from listing the four large constrictors as injurious under the Lacey Act is estimated to range from $10.7 TO $21.8 MILLION (assuming that consumers do not switch their purchases to other species). However, the cost of controlling wild populations of large constrictor snakes currently in the United States, through state and Federal control efforts has been ABOUT $6 MILLION THUS FAR. [THAT’S LESS THAN $850,000 ANNUALLY] Failure to stop the spread of these snakes into additional locations would result in significantly increased public expense. This cost could be reduced in Florida -- or prevented in other jurisdictions-- by this listing under the Lacey Act.   Fish and Wildlife Services: Four Snakes Q&A

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How can we afford to regulate animal imports, it’s too expensive?

There will be costs to regulate the trade in exotic animals, but the cost of not acting is even greater. One Florida county reportedly spent $110,000 over two years, and another spends $120,000 annually, to remove nonnative iguanas for example. Cash-strapped governments do not have funds to devote to these efforts. Moreover, once established, eliminating exotic species may be impossible and inhumane. Humane Society of United States: HR669 Facts

Again the Actual Facts: From 2005-2012 the “enormous” economic damage to the US Fish and Wildlife Service was $6 million [$720,000-$850,000 ANNUALLY] The estimated loss by these “few breeders” [9 species $42 million -$104 million ANNUALLY] [4 species minimum $10.7 million - $21.8 million ANNUALLY] Fish and Wildlife Services: Economic Impact

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Listing the snakes as injurious may cost the reptile industry as much as $104 million in domestic sales each year, or $1.2 billion over the next decade, driving some breeders out of business, Kelley Drye & Warren said in a report for its clients. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found the industry would lose $3.6 million to $10.7 million a year and about 200 jobs may disappear.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, which reviews U.S. regulatory proposals, said in a May 10, 2010, letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that the federal calculations didn’t fully examine the “significant economic impact on a substantial number” of small businesses. Bloomberg News

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The snake sellers argue that it’s a jobs issue—that a federal crackdown on the trade will cost them jobs. They want to preserve their profits and their opportunity to exploit these animals at the expense of so many other people. Is it possible to put a figure on the life of a child killed by a pet snake that should never have been in this country—no mind in someone’s living room in Sumter County, Fla.? And what’s the cost of the death of hundreds of thousands of snakes who suffer and die as a result of this trade? The Interior Department does have an answer on some of the ecological costs. It says it’s spending about $100 million this year to combat invasive species such as the pythons in Florida. Humane Society Blog

In 2011 alone, the Department of the Interior will spend $100 million on prevention, early detection, control and management, research, and more [on ALL known invasive species not just Burmese Pythons] Fish and Wildlife Services: Cost of Invasive Species

Again the Actual Facts: From 2005-2012 the “enormous” economic damage to the US Fish and Wildlife Service was $6 million [$720,000-$850,000 ANNUALLY] The estimated loss by these “few breeders” [9 species $42 million -$104 million ANNUALLY] [4 species minimum $10.7 million - $21.8 million ANNUALLY] Fish and Wildlife Services: Economic Impact

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Recent invasions by imported animal species such as the constrictor snakes, Asian carp, and red lionfish are together costing federal, state, and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars annually in efforts to control them.

National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species

 Again the Actual Facts: From 2005-2012 the “enormous” economic damage to the US Fish and Wildlife Service was $6 million [$720,000-$850,000 ANNUALLY] The estimated loss by these “few breeders” [9 species $42 million -$104 million ANNUALLY] [4 species minimum $10.7 million - $21.8 million ANNUALLY] Fish and Wildlife Services: Economic Impact

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Ineffective legislation based on fear, sensationalism, and shoddy facts should always be opposed. Unfortunately this addition to the Lacey Act includes all of these features and threatens to dismantle the reptile industry along with all of its educational resources including The Reptile Zoo and Jurassic Parties.

Please sign this petition and share it with your family to show your support of responsible animal ownership, effective and truthful legislation, and the many families who will be detrimentally affected if this becomes law without review.

White House Petition Overturn the Python Ban

 

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JFW...the knowledge of champions


Our Jurassic Fact this week is focused on an animal that I, myself, had to slowly get used to.




The Kingsnake, in many different forms, is an excellent party animal because its draws much attention when the facts are given. I have had many a child gasp when I tell them how they get their name. They are called Kingsnakes because they eat other snakes...even other kingsnakes....and EVEN rattlesnakes. It is found that they are immune to the venom and very commonly go after them in the wild.


Florida Kingsnake


This is the common pattern of the Florida Kingsnake, and the colors may vary. In captivity, they are actually quite docile and can make great pets. Wild-caught kings may be a bit more aggressive, but with proper handling and care, its easy to tame them.


California Kingsnake


I think California Kingsnakes are really cool-looking. They are much different than other snake patterns, with very thick and bold brown (or black) and white stripes. We have several that we use for birthday parties that are sweet as sugar!

The California King can be found throughout the southwest, in a variety of environments ranging from deserts to forests...and the same for the Florida King in the southeast. They aren't quite as well-tempered as the ball python or cornsnake, but with patience and care they can be wonderful pets.


<3....................Thalia
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It's official, I'm a Nerd :)

Heeeeeeeeeeeeey Guys!

I've missed ya'll so very much!  I just went on a vacation to Florida to see some awesome and amazing animals!  I think it's really cool that when reptile or animal enthusiasts, breeders, etc come here we welcome them with open arms and that when we go out and about on wild adventures, the same courtesy is extended to us!  Jay for example, just got back from a trip to Europe where he was treated like a king by Mark & Dean at The Reptile Room, and while I was on my trip, Safari Todd and the good folks at Jungle Adventures Nature Park Zoo treated me like a princess!  We are very grateful to all of the wonderful people in our industry that share our love for all things cold and warm blooded.

I've been working here at The Reptile Zoo in beautiful southern California for a while now and I will let you all in on a little secret, when I came to work here, let's just say I knew alot about alligators, and not much else.  Jay and Tim and Lynda have been amazing teachers and I have learned so much without even trying!  A great example of that came about when I was driving my son Gage up to Jacksonville to skate a contest and we passed the billboard for the alligator farm in St. Augustine that just so happened to have a huge retic on it and "OMG! That's a retic" I scream!!!!  and my son says, "Mom, you're a reptile nerd now!"

At that point I thought to myself, no way, that couldn't be true........

Until we pass a gigantic Florida River Cooter on the side of the road and I slam on the breaks and jump out of the car to have my son take a picture of me holding it.  Again, my son goes, "yeah, see, you're a total nerd"

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  Again I deny it.....

But then we went to see my friend Safari Todd and play with some alligators and while I'm watching his animal presentation I realize that I know waaaaaaaaaaaaay more about animals than I ever wanted to know or wanted to admit..........

And at that point, I decided to embrace it!

I, Savannah Boan, am officially a Nerd, I am accepting it, embracing it and am proud of it.  Thanks to all that have helped me along this journey!

I hope you guys enjoy all the pics!

much love

xo..............................Savannah

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Fun Times!

Hey Guys! Hope everyone has been enjoying the blogs and the videos we have been pumping out! We are all trying our best to give you all the good stuff that comes from The Reptile Zoo! We are working on a series of videos of kids with everything that we are posting to youtube so if you haven't subscribed to this channel

 


Video Link

 

do it now! Jay is far away in Europe right now (see blog below) And I am headed off on an exciting Florida adventure and I hope to come back with awesome pics and video of all the wildlife there! ;) I will miss you all! Talk to ya when I get back! xo.............Savannah
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