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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Faces in Support of Reptiles

Hundreds of visitors enjoy The Reptile Zoo and all of it's creatures each week, over 16,000 reptile presentations completed by Jurassic Parties alone, and thousands of reptiles are responsibly kept as pets across the United States, but somehow these people, these faces, are overlooked and demonized for their support of reptiles. At The Reptile Zoo we are ready to put a face to these supporters of the reptile community and use these faces to garner support for the protection of these species.

On The Reptile Zoo's Twitter and Facebook pages we will be posting a daily image of people from every walk and stage of life who have benefited from their interaction with these beautiful creatures. Below are just a sampling of the photos to come. We invite you to join our mission by posting your pictures, sharing your stories, and spreading the support for reptiles and their keepers.

To view all of the photos please visit www.Facebook.com/TheReptileZoo


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Prepare Yourselves for NARBC at Tinley Park, IL

Today is our final prep day before Jay and Garrett head out to the Tinley Park NARBC: North American Reptile Breeders Conference this weekend! We will have 2 tables full of great python morphs to look at, and if the price is right to take home! Wonder what we're bringing? Here are just a couple glimpses into what you can expect this weekend.

 


The list is full of pythons including burms and rock pythons which are part of the "python ban" that goes into effect March 23. That means if you don't live in California this will be one of your last chances to pick up one of the 4 species from Prehistoric Pets. And of course there are plenty of industry leading retics on the list as well!

 

The Friday Summit is a place to not only hear from some of the industries top professionals but also BOTH of our voices in Washington PIJAC & USARK. Prior to the panel discussion we will hear from USARK and PIJAC about the most current legislation facing us, and what they are doing to fight it. Come prepared for the panel discussion loaded with questions, as the night is an open forum of Questions and Answers. When you leave Friday night you should know EXACTLY what you can do to better help in the fight against this onslaught of legislation our hobby and industry face. We hope to see everyone come out and participate in what we feel is THE MOST IMPORTANT HERP MEETING EVER. New legal issues will always be on the horizon so we will all need to be united in one voice or our hobby/industry are doomed........come out and HELP UNIFY THE INDUSTRY!

Friday, March 16th  Outside Main Exhibit Hall

7:00 PM Ben Siegel - Burmese Python Initiative
7:15 PM Andrew Wyatt – USARK President
7:45 PM Mike Canning – PIJAC President

USARK Summit at NARBC

If you plan on visiting this weekend's show be sure to stop by and say hello at our booth, but more importantly please make sure to attend the USARK summit on Friday night!

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