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Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws in A

Discussion in 'Reptile Law - Legal News' started by Rich, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs held an oversight hearing on “Why should Americans have to comply with the laws of foreign nations?” The hearing examined the Lacey Act and how the law has been amended to force Americans to comply with tens of thousands of foreign statutes, regulations, resolutions, and decrees. More at PDF icon link above...

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  2. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    Does this mean that I should not have to follow American law when exporting reptiles from America? I am not literate in legal jargon and therefore may not be able to understand the terms of some of the more obscure laws that may or may not exist in America.
     
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    This (or used to be) a free and sovereign country. The laws, ANY laws, of other countries have absolutely no basis to be enforced here. That's not to say that smuggling of protected species should be ignored. But that enforcement should be under US law, not the law of some country who still believes its ok to stone women for any given slight.
     
  4. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    'a requirement that Americans comply with not only domestic, state and tribal laws, but also thousands of foreign laws, regulations, resolutions and degrees dealing with forestry and plants'. Regardless of who's law it is, the act asks that the laws must be followed in order to protect flora and fauna. If someone if going to do business within or regarding a foreign country then it is their duty to follow environmental laws which are there for a reason, it isn't like they are saying that you must follow (for example) a minimum drinking age when you're not even in that particular country. It's a law that you agree makes sense, so why does it matter if it's an act that enforces a foreign law or a law in itself?
     
  5. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    Just by agreeing to act in accordance to the flora and fauna laws, it does not by extension mean that you agree with any of that countries other laws.
     
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    But that is exactly what its saying. The laws on protected species are worldwide, not by country. That is what the international means in CITES. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
    The danger in what they are proposing is for example, say I am the ruler of another country and decide that no one can keep an animal in anything other than a solid gold cage. And so I make it a law in my country!
    Then YOU must either get rid of all your animals or get them gold cages.
    Or YOUR government must prosecute YOU under my law!
     
  7. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    You're missing my point. The point being that it isn't like the laws that secure the stability of your country are being ruined. They are laws to do with the safe and responsible keeping of flora and fauna, and regardless of what country of origin these laws have, these laws are more important than fighting about who's law it actually is in my eyes.
     
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    But the point is that if another country passes a law, no matter how ridiculous it is, then YOU have to abide by it.
    Giving another country the ability to dictate what laws you have to obey in another country is only opening the door to a whole lot of nonsense.
     
  9. DragonsKeepers

    DragonsKeepers Subscribed User Premium Member

    If the laws of others countries are fair, just, and appropriate, the US can enact a law of their own with the same purpose. In Merlin's case, if the US also agrees that gold cages are mandatory, then the US can pass and enforce a law they create, not simply automatically agree to follow the laws of other countries.
     
  10. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    The American government agreed to collaborate with lots of other countries that all want to create legal boundaries to protect nature (for example CITES). It should be more important (especially to animal lovers like us) that nature is being protected. The act only regards types of environmental law from what I have read, and I place some trust in the fact that at least it is a collaborated effort. The government would not have passed the act if they didn't trust the group of countries they entered into the environmental agreements with, and would certainly not agree to follow any laws they have or will have in future if they thought that country was nuts. That's just my opinion though, I get where you guys are coming from too but I guess I trust the other countries a bit more than most.
     
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    Possibly. It may be an aspect of living under the EU laws that you are used to. However in this country, we are not ruled by such a collective effort. The idea of allowing a foreign government to dictate what our citizens do on our soil is not only distasteful its a bad idea.
    Consider the way that foreign governments rise and fall. Controlling powers change. What happens when the new regime decides that, for example, leopard geckos are not to be touched under penalty of having your finger chopped off! And yes there are still places in the world where such types of punishment are used.
    Having a collaborative effort to protect nature is one thing. But to make it to where one country is able to pass laws and to dictate how things are done in another country is ridiculous.
     
  12. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    Unfortunately this is a completely foreign concept in American politics. Regardless of which side of the isle you are on, neither side sees the big picture change they are implementing to the stage of American leadership. You are right in stating that (domestically and abroad) laws and structure need to be made conceptualizing the future impact it could have on our system.
     
  13. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    I am well aware corporal punishment is still legal in many countries. Saying that, the death penalty is still active in many American states, not to mention that America just accidentally dropped bombs on the Great Barrier Reef even though it is under sovereign control of the Australians as well as being a world heritage site that is protected under international law. So are you suggesting that nobody should be brought to justice for the ineptitude shown by specific people regarding that event because they are American but only breached international/Australian law instead of American law?
     
  14. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    I'd think any laws or acts to protect flora and fauna would be supported here. If it was illegal to keep, say, hermit crabs (because I have many) in another country, and therefor here, I'd be sad to see mine go, but happy in the knowledge that wild harvesting would stop, or at least have a giant dent in it.
    My point is, I don't think these laws are being put in place to cause hassle, I think they're strictly so that laws regarding live specimens apply to everyone to avoid loopholes and confusion. I seriously doubt anything drastic would happen.
    Lets say something drastic DID happen, like say laws regarding freedom of speech or expression, there is no way Americans would comply with that, from what I've seen online. You guys are stubborn as mules. (remember the great march to save the big gulp? That's just a soft drink. Imagine what you'd do for something more drastic)
     
  15. NoahG

    NoahG Well-Known Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    I've only read that PDF, so correct me if I'm wrong but...it looks like this is in regards to import/export (i.e. when dealing with another country), not the domestic keeping of flora and fauna.

    Not that that's an endorsement because I agree completely with what is being said in the PDF: when dealing internationally with flora and fauna one should have to follow the laws and regulations of the countries involved but not every single other country that just happens to also be a part of the UN (which was cited specifically). From my understanding of what I read, it's basically like if you were to go to a reptile show in another state: currently you are expected to abide by the laws and regulations of that state and the state you're a resident in, but a domestic law with the vague wording in the Lacey Act would also require you to abide by the laws of every single other state in the union because you're crossing state lines. So when crossing international borders the current wording could be used to force you to have to know and follow the laws of the countries involved as well as every other country in the UN (at the least, that part is unclear to me), not just the laws of your own country and the country you're dealing with. In neither the international nor the interstate situation, however, would other laws be applicable regarding anything done within borders.

    Which is where the above comes in: you already have to follow American laws when exporting reptiles from America, but the Lacey Act could potentially force the exporter at least (as they would be the American in this example) to follow every single other country's laws as well. So amplify "not [being] able to understand the terms of some of the more obscure laws that may or may not exist in America" by at least a thousand because it's not just American and British law that would need to be followed, but almost 200 other countries' as well, some of which the PDF said were not even available in English. Furthermore, there seems to be discrepancies in how people would be prosecuted (criminally, civilly, administratively) between the source country of the law they're being tried for and in the US under the Lacey Act and it appears that under the Lacey Act they could be tried criminally even where foreign laws and regulations would allow for a civil or administrative prosecution (i.e. jail or prison time opposed to having to pay or some sort of revocation).

    All of that said...I agree with the spirit of this:


    And as a side note:

    Don't be so sure -- slippery slopes and all of that (which have been demonstrated time and time again even recently to be a legitimate concern). Laws have been passed that affect freedom of speech and expression and other federal rights and because of when they were proposed and the wording used they have been passed. When politicians are smart enough to take small and strategic steps they sometimes manage to chip away at rights with vocal support from the citizens. Once that foot is in the door history has shown that you can't necessarily trust it to not then kick the door down, or at the very least try to wedge further in.

    Not to mention look at our news: the country as a collective is all too easily distracted onto more material and superficial things, or just smaller events, even when something major and life-altering is taking place.
     
  16. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    If you are going to do business with say India and some of their export laws were in Hindi it would make sense to me to get someone to translate that law for me if I am not fluent. Since the Lacey Act is in fact active people cannot stamp their feet and demand that a foreign country makes all their laws available in English when America doesn't have all it's laws that others may be subject to translated into Hindi.
     
  17. NoahG

    NoahG Well-Known Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    That...wasn't really my point at all.

    If you're exporting to India, or importing from India, to the US then of course you would be sure to have their laws translated if necessary to be sure that you abide by them. However, the Lacey Act could potentially require you to not just find a translator for India, but for every other country in the UN that might not have laws available in a translated form, and if you do not do so then you could get nailed for a law you don't know about and shouldn't apply in the situation because it's with a country nowhere near India. If you don't take necessary measures to legally import/export with a country by your and their laws that's one thing, but the Lacey Act could potentially be used to unreasonably prosecute someone for not taking measures to legally import/export with a country by everybody else's laws as well.

    That's not reasonable, which is supposed to be a major consideration in the American legal system.

    I wasn't at all saying, much less demanding, that other country's laws should be available in English because of the Lacey Act, rather I was pointing out and extrapolating on your own admission about not understanding certain aspects of American law: imagine if you had to worry about understanding every law, including the obscure ones, of every other country in the UN and finding translators for those that you couldn't find English versions of, not to mention worrying about understanding those country's legal systems and language so you know just what they entail. Just because what you happen to be trying to import or export is flora or fauna of some sort.
     
  18. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    The only case that I can see that being a bother is if you were illegally moving a protected species from one country to another. Such as (for example) if I was importing from America to Britain but it was a species protected by law in it's native country for capture/export and it was a wild caught specimen. Really I think it would rely on a degree of discretion and common sense but on principle I understand what you mean.
     
  19. NoahG

    NoahG Well-Known Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    Well, from your description it seems that would be illegal regardless of the Lacey Act? I don't know if that was a mistake in wording or not?

    Different countries have different rules and regulations regarding how things can be transported and paperwork required and such (which brings about another interesting point: the paperwork aspect). There's also different laws as far as what can be imported or exported, not just in regard to protected species. Basically, anything applying to importing or exporting could become a potential issue or bother with the current wording in the Lacey Act.

    Also, unfortunately, from many of the things I've seen "discretion and common sense" can't necessarily be relied upon even in the legal system where it should be exercised most strongly. I could easily see more extremist groups finding out about all of this and using it to stop things up using trivial (and probably obscure) laws from countries not at all involved because the Lacey Act's wording allows for that and they want to interfere even where no harm is being done. That may seem cynical, but from experience I'm not willing to put it past certain people.
     
  20. PeanutsMarmiteSydney

    PeanutsMarmiteSydney Elite Member

    Re: Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws

    What I mean is that say I am importing Madagascan geckos that are protected from America to Britain, but they are protected under Madagascan law but not American or British (for the sake of example here). However the Madagascan law is in the name of environmental protection and so it could be enforced on the culprits (exporters) that were just caught but had not been caught previously when moving the wild caught animals into America. Then I suppose it would come in handy.

    What I think is most needed is a tighter wording of the act itself, since like you said, common sense can be few and far between in some people and extremists may also take advantage of it. I believe the intention behind the act is a good one that protects the flora and fauna of all areas but it needs re working so that people can be happy with it. - Please bear in mind that this does not imply that all 'good' law should be written into the American legal code, but that the existing act could be altered to suggest how and in what cases legal action would be exercised.
     

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