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Tom Crutchfield?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by aromatherapykim, May 20, 2014.

  1. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    On facebook I follow some big breeders and absolutely love seeing photos of all their animals and facilities. One of the ones I had come across was Tom Crutchfield. I've followed him for several months and love to see all the amazing animals he has. He has seemed to achieve the ultimate goal in my mind, he has a huge farm where he keeps and breeds rare and amazing animals of all kinds from all over the world. I get goosebumps when I see pictures of his king cobra, Albert.
    Anyway yesterday I saw someone comment on one of his posts saying that they saw him on lockup abroad....
    After a quick google search, there he was, a whole episode of lockup abroad about him. I watched it last night and there he was, talking about everything he had done that made him so successful, illegally.
    Anyway I don't know if this is a taboo subject in the herp world or what but I'm really just curious, what is everyones opinion and knowledge of Tom?
    I still think he has done amazing things for the reptile world and from what I speculate he seems to be running in a much more legal manner now
  2. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    Ive found that Tom is a touchy subject in the herp community, which is why you dont hear people talk about him as much as some of the other godfather figures in the hobby. On the one hand, without him and his cohorts there is absolutely no way the reptile hobby/industry in America exists today. On the other hand, he is a convicted felon who spent decades illegally smuggling animals. In all likelyhood much of that illegally imported stock founded a lot of the major breeding projects in this country. Not exactly the kind of ambassador for the hobby we need.

    Its a weird grey area. You cant denounce him for all the smuggling that got us where we are today without implying we'd be better off without all these species available in captivity. So for the most part people just dont talk about it cuz its a weird, uncomfortable, dark side of the hobby/industry that doesn't make us look very good to the general public, when they already misunderstand us without us freely giving them ammunition
  3. jaydsr2887

    jaydsr2887 Elite Member

    i look at it as this was in his past.... meaning he done it and it is done, the end.... you cannot persecute someone for the bad they done in the past.... is he the same guy he was then? probably not but we dont really know but no one does but him... so we cannot judge him but is he doing the same thing? No..... so i wouldnt give him grief about it or judge him for his past, i mean we all have our demons hiding somewhere......
  4. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    What part of the exotics industry doesn't have "shady" practices in it's history. Look at Dr Axelrod's history with fish... Many of the species we have today in the industry that are thought of as mainstays, at one time where WC and not always brought over legally in the eyes of the world courts. WE wanted them and someone somewhere got them for us, no questions asked.

    It's still going on today as it was in my days in the early 70's and 80's.

    I choose to focus on the cruelty factor, some smugglers care nothing for the product they carry and need to be dealt with harshly, while others take the risk of a few extra bucks for something new. Everything at one times was something new, and it was only a few years ago...
  5. jaydsr2887

    jaydsr2887 Elite Member

    exactly dwarvenchef, i completely agree.... just as the Caiman lizard, we know very little about it just as 5 years ago when it showed up in the pet trade and it is somewhat endangered down in south america do to it being hunted for its skin but someone wanted one and dispite the fact of its status, they got it..... smuggling was here still is and isnt going anywhere.....
  6. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    The way I look at it.
    Smugglers are not usually creating the demand. So blame can fall all around like rain and try not to have it hit you.

    But I agree. The past is quite a bit different than the smuggling that goes on today.
  7. jaydsr2887

    jaydsr2887 Elite Member

    how so kriminaal? they are catching the animals, sneaking them elsewhere, and selling them secaretly.... the only thing that has changed is the means of exporting them in......
  8. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    You're right.
    I kind of meant the meaning behind the illegal exporting/importing back then was often done for establishing captive domestic breeding projects. While now most species smuggled in are by poachers for a quick buck.

    But then it's hard to judge some of them also when they are doing it to feed their families.
  9. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    It was the same back than, Mexican Red leg tarantula's in the early 80's, Green iggys, Burms, Caimans, Jacksons Chameleon, just to name a few. At that time these where selling for about $20 over the counter, Jacksons a bit more and the suppliers had literally buckets of them lining the walls. It was disgusting going to LA for supplies and seeing the wholesale shops inventory. On top of that however because they imported such HUGE quantities of animals that now and again something would get mixed in with them. I would sift through hundreds of snakes looking for oddballs and buy them for myself. No ID or idea as to what it was... sad to say I was just as much the problem in my youth as I wanted something different, thus demand was there. You can say what you like but we all have done it at one point or another without knowing the consequences of our actions.

    It's easy to see why those of us that have been in the trade for so many years get jaded. The things we have seen and done without really knowing it. Just like the old days with Pot, nothing from a smugglers inventory is clean or harmless. They have all gotten payment in lives attached at some point in it's travels through the underbelly.
  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    There is a book written about reptile smuggling, in which he features prominently. It's called Stolen World.
  11. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    Thanks for all your responses! I figured this subject could be a little touchy.
    I feel that yes what Tom did was wrong, but he changed the reptile world because of it. No smuggling should not be excusable or encouraged but what Tom did has already happened and he paid his price for it and now we do have some amazing animals in the hobby that would have never been here without his bold actions. His actions were I'm sure fueled by money to a certain extent but he loves these animals. He has a passion and knowledge and expierence of them where many smugglers I'm sure are just there to collect the animals in mass and get them shipped for the paycheck.

    I've gotten so interested in herping history. hearing people tell stories of old lists and collections and people they've met and animals they've encountered and all before I was even alive. It just sounds so exciting to have 20,30,40 years of expierence and memories behind you. I just wish I could have been there and I can't wait for 20,30,40 years down the road when I'm able to have my own memories and expierences.
    And yes I've already got stolen world on order as well as the lizard king and forbidden creatures.
  12. JohnR

    JohnR Member

    I disagree.

    Living in Kentucky until I was 18, I can honestly say that I have NEVER done that. Pet shops here were few and far between and I always spent my time in the woods...hunting reptiles but never keeping them.

    We didn't have importers to my knowledge, so anything exotic was seen either at the zoo or in a magazine/book.
  13. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Not going to argue the point of being disagreed with I have no problem with it. However being around the block a few times in various avenues EVERYTING we touch that has been imported and darn near most of the domestics have shady deals in their past.

    On a side note, every paper bill over the 20$ mark has drugs on it. Don't even want to go into the fast food industry... How do you like the taste of your crude oil?

    Yes I've spent a lot of time down that rabbit hole and see corruption at some point in everythings path. The trick is where you draw the line and how deep you burry you head in the sand.
  14. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Yes even Zoo's, that where big money is spent and washed.

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