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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