Constrictor Rule Update
West Virginia Updates
The Constrictor Rule comment period closed July 24. USARK's comment was a detailed and comprehensive use of the best available information to oppose the listing of five species of snakes as injurious under the Lacey Act. A review of this comment will illustrate why USARK is your advocate for the reptile community. Read it at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/USARKs_July_2014_Comments_on_Snake_Listing_Proposal_v4-Final.pdf). An executive summary highlighting key aspects is included in our comment at the provided link.
Here is a short list of targeted points:
- The Listing is Unjustified by the Purported Threat and, on this Record, Inconsistent with Law
- Listing These Species Under the Lacey Act is Bad Policy and a Poor Use of Public Resources
- Comments on the Proposed Rule’s Economic Impacts and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
- Comments on FWS’ Flawed NEPA Analyses
- The Lacey Act’s Scope and Application to the Proposed Listing
- New scientific information relevant to the proposed listing
- The Current Record, Best Scientific Information, and Objective Evidence Do Not Support Listing the Reticulated Python and Boa Constrictor as Injurious
- The 2012 Partial Rule Was Based on Selective Science and Results-Oriented Decisionmaking Which, Fairly Evaluated, Would Not Support Listing of the Remaining Five Species
- FWS Cannot Rely on Conclusory and Unsupported Statements to Justify the Lacey Act Listing
In addition to our comment, we included the GES economic study of the reptile industry (viewable HERE) that was commissioned by USARK. We also submitted our April 2013 letter to USFWS Director Dan Ashe (viewable HERE) contradicting the bad science used to justify the listing of five species as injurious in 2012 and discussing other issues. Though these documents were presented previously to FWS, since they were not supplied during a comment period for the Constrictor Rule, they had to be included now for FWS to acknowledge them in their decision-making process.
Thank you to everyone who collaborated with USARK and to all those who commented against adding species to the Constrictor Rule. USARK supplied several sample letters, pages of talking points and comments, links and directions to make it easy for the Reptile Nation to comment. Not only were comments sent online, but thousands of letters were signed and mailed from many sources including MAHS (Madison Area Herp Society), LLL Reptile and USARK show booths.
For information regarding the Constrictor Rule, you can view our dedicated webpage at www.usark.org/2014-blog/constrictor-rule-1/.
HSUS Pushed for the Constrictor Ban
HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) again publicly attacked the reptile community and made it clear that they want to end the reptile community. They posted on their site stating they collected over 23,500 letters (as we announced HERE) in favor of adding species to the Constrictor Rule.
If you missed this critical posting from USARK, you can read it with comments on Facebook at http://goo.gl/Hg9ADT or at www.usark.org/2014-blog/hsus-wants-americans-to-lie-to-the-u-s-government/
. They provide fiction and we provide facts.
The Chairperson of the WV DWA (Dangerous Wild Animals) Board said she wants the subcommittee to start over. She pushed to begin again with a review of the Ohio list of DWAs because the proposed WV list (containing thousand of species) was too broad and difficult to understand.
This about-face by the DWA Board is evidence that the grassroots effort between USARK and WV residents has made a difference. This included a letter focused on the overly-broad list of animals proposed in WV and the outright overreach by WV officials that was signed and sent by hundreds of WV pet owners. The fight continues...
Read a recent article HERE.
Please join the group at www.facebook.com/pages/WV-Chapter-of-USARC/747291521995383 for frequent updates.
TXARK Goes to Work
Texas Herpers - TxARK needs your help! Residents of Snyder Texas have come to us looking to assist in making a change to their highly restrictive animal ordinance. Unfortunately, you cannot keep any species of boa, python, water snake, racers, and many other animals, including ferrets, in Snyder city limits without a permit. The average citizen there would never qualify for one. Permits are reserved for research institutions, zoos and the occasional public display use (circus, educational, etc.). We reptile keepers know the realities when it comes to keeping many of these harmless species, but most local politicians do not.
Get all the details at www.facebook.com/TXARK/photos/a.206546532884208.1073741828.200970030108525/269163759955818/
Mathews County Virginia Proposed Ordinance
The Mathews Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the proposed exotic pet ordinance at its August 26 meeting beginning at 1 p.m. in the historic courthouse building. Read a related article HERE.
Heidelburg Pennsylvania Proposed Ordinance
Heidelberg, PA council has asked the planning commission to study and recommend regulations to govern ownership, boarding and other issues related to exotic and domestic animals.
Read a related article HERE.
Constrictor Snake Export Bill
As we posted last week, the House Natural Resources Committee favorably reported H. R. 2158, as amended by Dr. Fleming, to the House of Representatives by unanimous consent. A bill report on this legislation will be filed and then we await additional views will be filed to the report. View the bill and a summary, introduced in 2013, at www.usark.org/library/hr-2158-injurious-snake-export-bill-52013/.
Reptile Super Show San Diego Recap
Text from link above (the bill which can also be viewed at link):
Legislation has been introduced to solve an interstate transport issue for exporting certain snake species. Under current ruling, if a shipment must stop anywhere in the U.S. after departure, it is considered interstate commerce even though the plane is merely stopping to refuel or add freight before leaving the country.
The proposed legislation will allow for export even when the shipment must pass through intermediate airports that are not designated ports. The ruling that listed several snake species as injurious under the Lacey Act has resulted in many headaches for anyone exporting these large constrictor snake species.
Snakes included in this bill: Burmese python, Indian python, Northern and Southern African pythons and Yellow anaconda.
Illinois Herptiles-Herps Act Update
It was another great Reptile Super Show. Ramy's promotion had attendees lined up to see what reptiles and vendors were awaiting. Not only did Ramy put on a tremendous show, but he also provided USARK a $1,000 check, auction venue and free food for auction attendees. Thank you, Ramy and Super Show crew!
RAACA rock star Jordan Russell ran the mic during the auction and helped raise $6,900 for USARK thanks to the generous donations from show vendors. Thanks to everyone who donated, auction attendees and volunteers. You make USARK possible. A list of donors is below.
$2,000: Freedom Breeder
$1,000: Psychotic Exotics, Serpents of the Damned, Zoo Med
$500: Greathouse Farms, 480 Pythons, Jon's Jungle, Mist King, Superior Balls and Dragons, NoCo Reptiles, Hardy Reptiles, Jim's House of Retics
$250: Layne Labs, Creature Company, South Bay Retics, Goss Reptiles, Exo Terra, J & M Cages, Reptile Avenue, Reptile Mogul, Roscoe's Reptiles, Sunland Breeders, DM Exotics, SCHAR, Jeff Luman Reptiles, Pet Kingdom, Rice Canyon Nursery
$100: Jenny Lee, Herp Nation, Jeff Green, TSK, Reptiles Reptropolis, Dart Frog Connection, Tony Geckos, GuyCo Geckos, RROC (Sam Makki), Dope Dragons, Millipedes N' More, Rainbow Mealworms, Geckos Etc., World Serpent Exotics, Reptile Den, Reptiles Magazine, Bassett's Cricket Ranch
Additional contributions: A Lost Art, Albert Martinez, DIY Cages, ROG Reptiles, FL Chams, Broken Arrow Apparel, Forktongue Farm, Hot Wire, Real Insect Jewelry, Caliente Reptiles, FUIB, Galaxy Dragons, Dubi Deli, Randy Wright, Andy's Orchids, AcrylicCgaes.com, Amazing Blue Reptiles, Superior Shipping Supplies, UnbelievaBalls, SD Turtle and Tortoise Society, Rice Canyon, Creative Pet Supply, Steve Little's Snakes, EZ's Reptile Rescue
Volunteers: Jordan, Rebecca, Houssam, Hannah, Katy, Erin Sloan, Lupe, Isaiah, Carlos, Rainer, Scott, Jason (SCHAR Prez), Justice, Ashton, Erin Korec, James
On July 16, we updated our Herptiles-Herps Act webpage reporting that the Act had been signed into law by Governor Quinn at www.usark.org/2014-blog/illinois-herptiles-act/. This was expected after being sent to the Governor on June 27. Only a veto from the Governor would have prevented the Act from going into law. It becomes effective on 1/1/15. We also posted the final text of the Act HERE.
Thanks to the work of dedicated hobbyists, the bill was amended into an acceptable version that was backed by Illinois herpers. While some found the 2013 and initial 2014 versions of the bill acceptable and even endorsable, issues that were bad for the herp community had to be addressed and the bill was amended thanks to efforts from those knowlegdeable with all aspects of our community. The final product provides several positive benefits and is a pro-herp law for the Illinois herp community.
A second bowling fundraiser presented by S.C.H.A.R. is happening Monday, August 11 in Fullerton, CA following the Pomona Reptile Super Show. The first event was great and brought many people from the reptile community together for a night of fun and comradery. Get more details below and at www.facebook.com/reptilebowlarama
Daytona National Reptile Breeders' Expo
If you would like to volunteer and help USARK, please send an email to info@USARK.org. This show celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014! It happens August 15-17 in Daytona, FL. Thanks to show promoter Wayne Hill, the NRBE auction has raised $100,000 to benefit USARK. NRBE auctions have benefited many other organizations and conservation efforts, too. Get more details at www.reptilebreedersexpo.com.
International Herpetological Symposium (IHS)
The 37th IHS in Riverside, CA was a huge success. The speakers were impressive, venue was fantastic and the entire experience was positive. If you missed this IHS, be sure to plan for next year's event in San Antonio, TX. A dozen speakers are already scheduled and this could indeed be the best IHS yet.
A quick note from IHS President Ken Foose: "I want to thank everyone that had a hand in the great success of our Riverside IHS. There were a lot of you, and I thank you one and all."
Thanks to all involved who made the 2014 IHS spectacular for all attendees. Get details at www.internationalherpetologicalsymposium.com and Like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/InternationalHerpetologicalSymposium