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Help Stop the HR2811 Python Ban

Discussion in 'Reptile Law - Legal News' started by Rich, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Please join the Reptile Nation in a Congressional Call In Opposing HR2811 aka The Python Ban November 2, 3 & 4. If you value your Boas & Pythons you will participate and encourage your entire sphere of influence to do the same. There is a Hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security scheduled for November 5th. Please call in and OPPOSE HR281.

    As originally written HR2811 would add the entire genus python to the Injurious Wildlife List of the Lacey Act. This would effectively end the Import, Export and Interstate Transport of any animals listed. In July USARK was successful in narrowing the scope of the bill by removing most pythons with an amendment offered by Congressman Tom Rooney. The amendment would limit the bill to the Burmese Python and the African Python. In addition committee staff agreed in principle to further amend the bill to allow the captive bred trade in these two snakes to continue. To date this promise has not been kept and the HR2811 has not been amended to allow for captive bred trade.

    Meanwhile the USGS Risk Assessment of 9 Large Constricting Snakes has been released. The Humane Society of the United States is lobbying hard to have HR2811 amended to include the entire genus python, as well as the four species of anaconda, and Boa Constrictor referred to in the USGS report. Do not assume that HSUS will not be successful in getting HR2811 amended to reflect these changes. Only USARK and the Reptile Nation stand between HSUS and the destruction of our community.

    Our science experts have done a cursory analysis of the USGS report and characterize it as “…loose with numerous mistakes and inaccuracies. It is an oversimplification of a very complicated topic.” The bottom line is it is not the solid piece of science HSUS wanted to use as a tool to break the back of our community. However that has not stopped them from mischaracterizing it as just that.

    What can I do?

    ***November 2,3 & 4 Call In and Fax the Subcommittee and voice your opposition to HR2811. Be polite & professional!

    My name is____. I oppose HR2811. It is overly simplistic and politically driven. It is poorly thought out and sacrifices good science for political expediency. The negative economic impact for my family and business would be significant. Please oppose HR2811. Thank you for your consideration.

    Call List:

    Congressman Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Sponsor
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-4506; fax 202-226-0777
    Miami: phone 305-690-5905; fax 305-690-5951


    Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-1313; fax 202-225-8398
    Ft. Lauderdale: phone 954-733-2800

    Congressman John Lewis (D-GA)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-3801; fax 202-225-0351
    Atlanta: phone 404-659-0116

    Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-3001; fax 202-225-5974
    Boca Raton: phone 561-988-6302; fax 561-988-6423

    Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (HI-2)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-4906; fax 202-225-4987
    Honolulu: phone 808-541-1986

    Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-5792; fax 202-225-3132
    Punta Gorda: phone 941-575-9101; fax 941-575-9103

    Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security:

    Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-8351; fax 202-225-8354
    Richmond: phone 804-644-4845

    Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-3072; fax 202-225-3336
    San Jose: phone 408-271-8700

    Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-3816; fax 202-225-3317
    Houston: phone 713-691-4882

    Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-2201; fax 202-225-7854
    Los Angeles: phone 323-757-8900

    Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-3265; fax 202-225-5663
    Memphis: phone 901-544-4131

    Congressman Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-2615; fax 202-225-2154
    San Juan: phone 787-723-6333

    Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-5431; fax 202-225-9681
    Roanoke: phone 540-857-2672

    Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-5716; fax 202-226-1298
    Gold River: phone 916-859-9906

    Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-3035; fax 202-226-1230
    Tyler: phone 903-561-6349

    Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-6565; fax 202-225-5547
    Beaumont: phone 409-212-1997

    Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-6365; fax 202-226-1170
    Chesapeake: 757-382-0080; fax 757-382-0780

    Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-5635
    New York: phone 212-367-7350

    Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-7931; fax 202-226-2052
    Pembroke Pines: phone 954-437-3936; fax 954-437-4776

    Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-6616
    Brooklyn: phone 718-743-0441

    Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL)
    Washington DC: phone 202-225-4061; fax 202-225-5603
    Chicago: phone 773-267-5926; fax 773-267-6583
  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    They just won't lay off it will they?

    I'm surprised the Reticulated Python was not included in the list (where African Rocks and Burms were.)
  3. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    I'll be doing my part!!!! I thought America was "The land of the free" not the land of you can only do what you want if it does not disturb my delicate sensibilities, if it does, then I'll just complain until some idiot writes a frivolous bill hoping to enact it into an even more frivolous law!
  4. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Herp Center is a USARK member so I will be posting these updates and legislative issues as they reach my inbox. When I get the upgrade underway we will have a section dedicated to this type of discussion.
  5. wgnelson

    wgnelson Elite Member

    I'll call in. I don't know if a MA residents opinion matters. The animals can't live in the wild up here, but I'll voice my opposition to the bill any way.
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    This isn't just about Florida and the south. If it were I could understand it. This is an attempt to ban our ownership of these animals nationwide, even down to the smallest ball python!
  7. MoogleBass

    MoogleBass Kittes are so nice! Premium Member

    No matter where you live. CALL! This is the only way we can stop this.

    Thanks, Rich, I didn't know HC was in USARK now. I had been posting the emails when I got them, for others to know.
  8. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    I never knew this site had political affiliations.
  9. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    On November 6, 2009 USARK will have two expert witnesses testify Opposing HR2811 aka ‘The Python Ban’ before the US House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security. Andrew Wyatt, President of USARK and Dr. Elliot Jacobson, DVM, PhD, and Professor of Zoological Medicine at University of Florida have been invited to give testimony.

    USARK is Opposing HR2811 because we believe that the two US Geological Survey (USGS) reports that it is predicated on are flawed, and cannot justify the draconian measures of adding animals to the Injurious Wildlife List of the Lacey Act legislatively. This debate has become sensationalized by the media and is being politically driven by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a radical leader of the Animal Rights Industry with a public position on ending the trade in reptiles here in the US. This is a case of ‘cherry picking science’ to support a political objective. USARK would encourage Congress to reconsider sacrificing sound policy for political expediency. We welcome a policy debate and are willing to put forward a national accreditation process for certain reptiles as an alternative to an all out ban.

    Please Click the icon at the top of this page to follow USARK on Twitter for fast-breaking updates and results of the Hearing.

    Click here for more information on the Hearing:
    Hearing on: H.R. 2811, a bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to include constrictor snakes of the species Python genera as an injurious animal

    Click here to watch Web-cast of hearing:
    Legislative Calendar

    Below is the USARK Press Release on the HR2811 Hearing:

    For Immediate Release

    Congress to Consider Python Ban; Noted Reptile Experts Question Science

    November 6, 2009 Wilmington, [NC] - Today a U.S. House Subcommittee will consider H.R. 2811 a bill that could determine the fate of much of the reptile trade in the United States. Introduced by U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek (D-FL), who recently announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, the bill could add the entire genus python to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act; a designation reserved for only the most dangerous alien invaders to our natural ecosystem. Such a move would prevent all import, export, and interstate transport of pythons in the U.S. The scientific justification for such a move hinges on a recently published report of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) entitled ‘Risk Assessment of Nine Large Constricting Snakes’, which paints a picture of large constrictor snakes on the verge of taking over much of the U.S.

    Proponents of H.R. 2811 including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are quick to suggest potential environmental harm from trade in large constrictor snakes, and have hailed the 300-page USGS report as “erasing any doubt.”

    However, critics of a python ban maintain the science is simply not there to justify such a move. “H.R. 2811 aims to legislate science,” responded Andrew Wyatt, president of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK), a national trade association advocating responsible private ownership of, and trade in reptiles. “There exists a scientific process at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make these types of determinations. For sake of expediency, or political gain, Congress appears intent on destroying a viable industry and forcing reptiles out of the homes of responsible owners,” added Wyatt. “The scientific basis for such an action is simply not there.”

    Over the past 60 years, the practice of keeping reptiles has changed from an obscure hobby to an incredibly widespread and mainstream part of the American experience. With over 5 million Americans involved, and thousands of small businesses, the reptile trade in the U.S. is reported to represent 3 billion dollars annually.

    Dr. Elliott Jacobson, Professor of Zoological Medicine at University of Florida, and a highly respected expert in reptile biology also remains unconvinced on the science. "Although the USGS Report is an attempt to assess the ability of large constrictor snakes to invade substantial areas of the US, it is an oversimplification of a very complicated topic,” said Dr. Jacobson. “The fact that the boa constrictor can be found in Mexico near the Arizona border, but has never entered the U.S. means there are factors operating that cannot be explained by this report."

    H.R. 2811 will receive a hearing in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security, 2141 Rayburn House Office Building at 10:00 am.
  10. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I overlooked this message. Sorry Greg.

    HC is a member of USARK. If you are unaware of what USARK is, I tossed this together:

    United States Association of Reptile Keepers

    We aren't forcing anyone to join, nor are we pressing our affiliation with them. Herp Center purchased a membership to keep informed of what laws are being passed and what we can do to help prevent them. We then pass that information along to our users.

    We want to keep everyone informed, which means we need to stay on top of things. ;)
  11. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    I forgot to mention this! I called and emailed my senator a few weeks ago! He told me he had recieved a lot of compaints but hadn't heard as much detail as I gave in the email...Afterwards he told me how stupid he thought the bill was, and that he was very much wanting to fight it, and hoping a more logical solution will take its place! Of course its very possible he could have been merely telling me what I wanted to hear, but he sounded sincere and actually upset when he talked about the loss of jobs(Texas hasn't been hit TOO hard by the recession, and we're trying to keep it that way!)

    But just saying I'm trying to do my part! :)
  12. YellowOctopus

    YellowOctopus Elite Member

    I agree that, in a perfect world, this ban should not be instated.

    However, it's not a perfect world. I disagree with the ban in that it's an umbrella solution to a complex problem. However, there is the issue of responsibility for education about these snakes.

    For example, many people decide that they'd like to own a snake. They buy a heat lamp and some mice and a 20 gallon tank, on recommendation from the pet store (and yes, usually the problem animals are from pet stores) and go home with their new x python.

    They're not educated about nutrition, health, safety, invasive species problems or what to do if care for the snake becomes a problem.

    Whose fault is this?

    I say it's the herp community's fault. If the herp community wants to continue the trade and ownership of these snakes, they have to take the responsibility to lobby pet stores for better education about the snakes and for governmental regulation of the education.

    Just look at pit bulls. They're banned in tons of places in the U.S. because of dogfighting and dog attacks. However, there's a movement to educate the public about caring for and training these dogs.

    I'm saying there needs to be a movement to educate the public about boids just like there needs to be one in place for pit bulls. The public (the American public, especially, it seems) doesn't do half measures well. It's either all or nothing. I really do think that this tendency can be usurped by better education. However, until that's an established institution, it's probably for the best to have pythons banned. I hate to say it, but if there's not that movement, I don't see any other options. For now.

    Edit: If this ban would require current owners of pythons and other boids to surrender their python charges, I do strongly oppose it. However, I've not seen anything about that. Would someone mind specifying about that?
  13. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    While I agree that something must be done I don't believe that this is the right plan of action. I understand most of what you are saying but maybe I mis read; you agree no one should be able to own these animals anymore, but none should be taken out of already established homes?

    Why is that exactly? Is it because you own one and don't want to loose it? Or is it because you honestly believe that everyone that owns one right now will do the right thing?

    Just wondering? I would love to own a snake one of these days, and I don't want that right to be stripped away. While I realized this ban isn't for ALL snakes, its just another step towards complete control over the industry.
  14. YellowOctopus

    YellowOctopus Elite Member

    No, I think that the industry does a really poor job of preventing "impulse" bought snakes, and I think it needs to have an incentive to get itself in gear and take some responsibility. I'm sure most breeders do a good job of educating their customers, but the pet stores do not.

    I think that this ban would probably help the industry take responsibility. However, if it goes as far to say that everyone who currently owns a boid needs to give it up, that is ridiculous, invasive and unacceptable.
  15. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    Ahhh I see.....I am just sad that if this goes through, It won't matter in the future if I have the money or space I still couldn't get any of the breeds listed, Is that not unacceptable?
  16. YellowOctopus

    YellowOctopus Elite Member

    I agree, it's not acceptable, but something has got to get the boid industry to start taking responsibility for the education of the public about their pythons.

    I was actually talking about this with one of the reptile guys at a local pet store. He mentioned that he thinks it should be permit based, which should be a small fine and a class, as well as inspection (he thought by a government organization, I thought that might be a little too much to hope for and not as efficient anyways) of the living space of the new reptile. We both agreed it should be for all, if not most, exotic pets.

    I think that's a generally acceptable solution, but there's got to be a lobby pulling for it instead of a loosely amalgamated group of enthusiasts who just oppose a ban.

    To get all cheesy on you, "act" is the most important part of the word "activism."

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