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.

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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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Meet Davey: The newest scaly member of Jurassic Parties

Meet Davey aka Davey Jones, a yearling American Alligator, the newest resident at The Reptile Zoo and soon to be the most exciting scaly member of Jurassic Parties. That's right, starting next week Davey will be available as an addition to your Jurassic Party event! These events are specifically tailored to provide even more educational tidbits than our standard birthday and can be customized to meet the California State Science Content Standards for your age group.

 

With the addition of Davey we will also be covering the topic of restricted pet ownership in California and why it is important for the safety of the environment and owners to follow these rules. Below is an excerpt from the California Code of Regulations, Title 14 which lists these animals.

§671. Importation, Transportation and Possession of Live Restricted Animals.

(a) It shall be unlawful to import, transport, or possess live animals restricted in subsection (c) below except under permit issued by the department...

(b) The commission has determined the below listed animals are not normally domesticated in this state. Mammals listed to prevent the depletion of wild populations and to provide for animal welfare are termed "welfare animals", and are designated by the letter "W". Those species listed because they pose a threat to native wildlife, the agriculture interests of the state or to public health or safety are termed "detrimental animals" and are designated by the letter "D"...

 

(7) Class Reptilia -Reptiles

(A) Order Crocodilia -Crocodiles, Caimans, Alligators and Gavials: All species (D).

 

 

Some of the other highlights from this list are all primates, marsupials, hedgehogs, ferrets, wolves, snapping turtles, vipers, and cobras. You might notice you can find some of these animals like American Alligators and Snapping Turtles at The Reptile Zoo. Wonder why? Through our partnership with Brockett's Film and Fauna, who are permitted to own these animals, The Reptile Zoo and Jurassic Partiesare can display these animals for educational use. We have been preparing for this partnership for a couple years, actually it's one of the main reasons we opened The Reptile Zoo in the first place. The creation of The Reptile Zoo as a donation driven educational zoo separates these permitted species from the retail pet store environment of Prehistoric Pets.

 

But enough about boring laws. Want to hear more about Davey? .... I knew you would. Davey as we mentioned before is an American Alligator with the potential to grow up to six hundred pounds! But for now, he is a slender 2 year old who enjoys swimming with his goldfish friends/food in his specially designed home at The Reptile Zoo. Since arriving at the zoo last week he has been training for his big Jurassic Parties debut, with daily handling sessions both with his handler and trainer. Although most gators at his size can be quite fiesty and flighty Davey is calm, cool, and collected. Have you fallen in love yet? If so be sure to stop by The Reptile Zoo to meet our little buddy or better yet book your Educational Event with Jurassic Parties and he will come to you!

 

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