4.27.14: Lawsuit Update, Illinois Bill, Salmonella and more: View the post HERE.
4.23.14: An investigation of salmonella infections linked to Bearded dragons has been announced by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). We will provide additional information as it becomes available and we are engaged with this issue. More information HERE.
3/12/14: D.C. Law Symposium and NARBC Tinley Park: View the post HERE.
3/2/14: Louisiana ACTION ALERT & SC, WV, WI Alerts: View the post HERE.
3/1/14: ACTION ALERTS for WV, LA, SC, WI and more: View the post HERE.
2/25/14: Lawsuite Update, WV Action Alert and more: View the post HERE.
2/14/14: Cat Ex, ACTION ALERTS and Legislative Updates: View the post HERE.
Legislative Alerts and Updates: Local, State and Federal: View the post from 1/28/14 HERE.
USARK Takes Action: The United States Association of Reptile Keepers filed suit in the U.S. Federal Court against the U.S. Department of the Interior, challenging the Lacey Act listing of four species of constrictor snakes as “injurious.” This is a powerful day for the Reptile Nation, as we fight to protect your rights to pursue your passion and defend your businesses against unwarranted and unnecessary government intrusion. View the full post from 12/19/13 HERE
USARK Reptile Defense Fund: Click HERE
USARK Important Announcement: Read the full blog post from 12/10/13 HERE
2 Amazing Stories, 3 Incredible Supporters and More: Read the full post from 11/6/13 HERE
CatEx update and USARK in D.C.: USARK President Phil Goss traveled to Washington, D.C. last week. In addition to meetings, strengthening relationships with our allies and tireless networking, USARK sat as one of five witnesses for a hearing concerning the USFWS categorical exclusion proposal. Three of the five witnesses testified against the proposal: USARK, PIJAC and AZA. Read more HERE
NARBC Anaheim Recap and more: The NARBC crew held another great show in Anaheim, CA. Bob Ashley and Brian Potter hosted a Saturday night auction that raised over $14,000 for USARK and PIJAC. View auction contributor appreciation and more HERE
Updates: Cat-X Hearing and NARBC Anaheim: USARK will be in Washington, D.C. this week spreading awareness of the damages that would result if this categorical exclusion proposal is accepted… Read more HERE
Press Release: Lawmakers this week will debate the merits of a proposal to bypass environmental reviews when listing a species as “injurious” under the Lacey Act — a move that has rankled zoos and pet shops because it would make it easier for the Fish and Wildlife Service to ban the importation of some exotic animals… View more HERE
Blog: Recap of NRBE Daytona Beach with thank yous concerning auction donations and volunteers. Much more can be found HERE.
Blog: Recap of NARBC Arlington and Reptile Super show Pomona with recognition of auction donations and voluteers. View the post HERE.
Summer has been a busy time for USARK! In July, USARK President Phil Goss, accompanied by our legal team at Kelley Drye, spent two full days in Washington, D.C. opposing the categorical exclusion (Cat-X) for Lacey Act listings by the Department of the Interior and United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)… View the complete post HERE
ACTION ALERTS: There are two issues demanding immediate action. The first alert addresses a USFWS proposal to list any species as injurious without full due process afforded under the law (i.e. no scientific support, no research, no economic impact study, etc.). This categorical exclusion affects a huge portion of the pet community (reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, mammals). Any species listed will vanish from the pet community. The second alert concerns a push by anti-pet groups to add 5 species of snakes (including all boa constrictors and reticulated pythons) as injurious, which would make interstate commerce, interstate transportation and importation all illegal. Anti-pet groups want no pets. Big snakes are just their first target. Support the entire herp community and stop them now! Share these alerts with all pet owners. All information can be found at the links below. The time to act is now, Reptile Nation! Action Alert 1: http://usark.org/action-alert/usfws-categorical-exclusion-2/ Action Alert 2: http://usark.org/press-releases/action-alert-no-to-adding-species-as-injurious/ There will be an extension to the comment period concerning the categorical exclusion proposal. New deadline will be September 30th or shortly thereafter. More details will be given soon. Keep sharing both Action Alerts and making your voices heard!
PRESS RELEASE and ACTION ALERTS: Earlier this week, USARK President Phil Goss traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with House and Senate Congressional offices to express our opposition to the latest attempt by the USFWS to change the rules in support of their misguided efforts to list the remaining five constrictor snake species as injurious under the Lacey Act. Read more HERE
FDA Amends Regulations to Remove Requirement to Destroy Viable Turtle Eggs and Live Turtles: FDA believes it can achieve its public health objectives without the need to destroy viable turtle eggs and live turtles. Other alternatives to destruction exist, including: raising turtles until they have a carapace length of four inches or greater; donating them to a scientific, educational, or exhibitional organization, or exporting the turtles in compliance with applicable laws. Read more HERE
Hearing Notice: The Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 10:00 a.m., in room 1324 Longworth House Office Building entitled, “Transparency and Sound Science Gone Extinct?: The Impacts of the Obama Administration’s Closed-Door Settlements on Endangered Species and People.”
ACTION ALERT: Anti-pet groups are pushing to have the 5 remaining species of snakes (Boa constrictor, Reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, Green anaconda and Beni anaconda) listed as injurious under the Lacey Act – in essence banning all importation and interstate commerce. The time to fight for your rights is now. A letter (at bottom of the page) is circulating from Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan asking the Secretary of the Interior to complete the rule and list the five remaining snake species. Take less than 5 minutes and complete the Action Alert below to contact your federal Representative and then share it with as many people as possible. This is just another step toward eliminating your freedoms and those of the entire reptile community. Remember to be professional and civil at all times. Act now! Go HERE
ACTION ALERT: In response to the USFWS proposal to allow a “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA requirements. This rule would allow USFWS to add species as injurious without full due process afforded under the law. View the full Action Alert HERE
Chairman Doc Hastings (Committee on Natural Resources): “These destructive patterns that cost jobs, block public input, and disregard transparency must come to an end. The Department must get back on track to being a job-creator for the good of our country and economy…” Read the press release HERE
Americans Should NOT Be Forced under Lacey Act to Follow Foreign Laws in America: 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… View full press release HERE
The Reptile Super Show in San Diego was a great event. Ramy Guirguis and the Super Show crew did an amazing job. The show was filled with quality vendors, herps, supplies, inverts and excited attendees. USARK received a huge amount of support, which was apparent by the dozens of attendees and vendors wearing their USARK shirts. Our volunteers could not have been better in the booth and during the auction. Read more HERE
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2013 - The House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday, July 17th entitled, “The Department of the Interior Operations, Management, and Rulemakings.” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will be the sole witness testifying at this hearing. This will be Secretary Jewell’s first appearance before the Committee…
Fish and Wildlife Service seeks blatant exemption from National Environmental Policy Act requirements (Confirms USARK’s Challenge to Rule): The Obama Administration has repeatedly made a bias of compliance with the environmental impact review requirements when it serves their purposes (for example, see the Keystone pipeline issue which has conveniently been under NEPA review for years). Just two months after USARK raised questions with regard to the FWS failure to respond to environmental impact criticisms by the industry, researchers, state and federal wildlife officials, and zoos and aquariums when listing the four species of injurious snakes, FWS proposes a blanket NEPA exemption for itself under the Lacey Act. There is no justification for exempting a Lacey Act listing that – as with snakes – has adverse environmental consequences. The FWS is clearly concerned that their listing is on shaky legal ground and they are looking for ways around federal law. The reptile community must oppose this proposal! Our legal arguments challenging the Lacey Act listings are strong and clearly have the agency on the defensive. USARK will be posting talking points in the coming days so that you can join us to defeat this blatant abuse of agency power. You can view the pertinent information from the Federal Register at http://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/NEPAaction.pdf. View this posting HERE
Press Release: The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) welcomes the Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking issued by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, on 1 July 2013. The Executive Order addresses both its domestic and international response to the current surge in wildlife trafficking. Read the full release HERE View the Executive Order HERE
Read the latest USARK email and updates HERE.
Herpers work with city officials to lift overreaching restrictions on snakes in West Fargo, North Dakota. Read an update HERE.
Thomas Cobb found that a city ordinance may limit him to only one pet boa constrictor, though he has 29 that receive the highest standard of care. This was unacceptable to Thomas and he was able to obtain permits for all 29 boas. Thomas has done a remarkable job representing the herp community while protecting his lifelong passion. Read more HERE.
Update: Scott Snowden faced new legislation that would have made his pets illegal. A city ordinance was proposed concerning dogs and had language attached that would have banned all constricting snakes. Scott stepped up, addressed the issue and was successful by educating the city officials. Read an update about his success HERE.
Press Release: All Witnesses in Agreement that ESA Needs Improvement - Witnesses who testified before the Committee touted the success of state, local, and tribal conservation efforts and underscored the need for meaningful ESA reform. Read the full release HERE.
Press Release: House Natural Resources Committee to hold Endangered Species Act hearing focused on defining species conservation successes. WHEN: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 10:00 A.M. WHERE: watch it live via http://
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. View the bill HERE
April 2013 Recap: Read the latest USARK newsletter reviewing all our work in April including another trip to D.C., the California “swap meet” bill and herp community networking. Read the press release HERE.
California AB 339: The “swap meet” bill has been amended to exclude reptile and aquatic trade shows. The bill has been amended in Assembly, read a second time and re-referred to Committee on Appropriations. Thanks to your voices through USARK’s action alerts and collaboration between PIJAC and USARK, reptile and aquatic shows will now be safe. Thanks for your support and action!
South Carolina Action Alert: H 3985 was introduced into the South Carolina House of Representatives on April 18, 2013. This “DANGEROUS WILD ANIMALS ACT” seeks to ban possession of many species of reptiles and mammals including boa constrictors, reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons and crocodilians. Under this legislation, “it shall be unlawful for any person to import, possess, sell, transfer, or breed a dangerous wild animal.” This bill needs to be stopped. View the Action Alert HERE
New bill in South Carolina: “Regulation of Dangerous Wild Animals” H 3985 was introduced and referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs yesterday. Full text can be found at the link. More details coming soon. http://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/SC3895.pdf
On Friday, April 12, USARK President Phil Goss and USARK’s Washington legal counsel from Kelley Drye met with senior staff at the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to press the case for withdrawal of the remaining rule and reversal of the current rule designating several snake species as injurious under the Lacey Act. Read more HERE
USARK demands that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service withdraw listing proposals for five species of constrictor snakes and calls listing of four constricting snakes “arbitrary and capricious.” Read more HERE
California AB 339 Update: This bill moved from the California Committee on Public Safety and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations on April 2. California residents need to act now! Click HERE
Connecticut HB 5832 Update: April 3rd is the JF Deadline (the date by which each committee must report out bills or resolutions for further consideration by other committees or the full General Assembly). The bill will be “dead” tonight. This bill would have banned boa constrictors and Burmese pythons in Connecticut. Thanks to everyone who used the USARK Action Alert to voice their opinions.
H.R. 996 Action Alert: The Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act of 2013 (“IFWP”) has been introduced. Among other things, the IFWP creates a new system for designating species as “injurious” and banning import, interstate commerce, and transportation of listed taxa. Find more information HERE
Nevada Action Alert: Assembly Bill 246, as written, would ban reptile shows in Nevada by prohibiting the sale of animals at swap meets. Please support your fellow herpers. View the Action Alert here: http://usark.org/campaign/nevada-assembly-bill-246/
Nevada Action Alert: Hearing March 28! Please read the entire alert. Follow this link (CLICK HERE) and send your emails. Be sure to share this with others. It is very important to send your emails and share this webpage with Nevada residents. USARK appreciates your support!
Announcement: USARK and our D.C. legal team are currently analyzing HR 996 (a reintroduction of HR 669: Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act to summarize), corresponding with assigned committees and building an appropriate plan of action. It is prudent to develop our strongest strategy. USARK will keep you updated on noteworthy happenings. View a summary of the bill HERE
ACTION ALERT: Minnesota and Coon Rapids, MN Residents. A proposal to limit the number of domestic animals kept as pets, including herps, to twelve. See the Action Alert HERE
USFWS has lifted the restriction of overtime operations. Special thanks to Marshall Meyers, PIJAC and everyone who utilized the USARK Action Alert campaign. NARBC Tinley Park saw great attendance and raised over $28,000 at the Saturday night auction, including $10,200 for Rico Walder. Read more HERE
ISSUE RESOLVED: USFWS Suspends Overtime for Wildlife Import/Export Operations
USFWS has announced that effective immediately, it will suspend all inspection and clearance of wildlife imports/exports during overtime hours on weekdays, weekends, or Federal Holidays. This draconian measure is in response to the recent across the board budget cuts implemented by the White House as part of the budgetary sequester. As a result, shipments will be delayed and animals will be put needlessly at risk. See the Action Alert here: http://usark.org/press-releases/action-alert-usfws-suspends-overtime-for-wildlife-importexport-operations/
Follow this link (CLICK HERE) and send your emails in 30 seconds. Be sure to share this with others. It is very important to send your emails and share this webpage with California residents. USARK appreciates your support!
via Turtle Survival Alliance: It is with a deep sense of loss that we report the untimely passing of Greg Fleming, DVM of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Greg died in Mozambique, after apparently suffering a stroke that led to cardiac arrest. The zoo and turtle community are stunned this morning over this tragic news and Greg’s death leaves a hole in our ranks that will be impossible to fill. Greg had a huge personality, a sarcastic wit, a sharp intellect and was always surrounded by laughter. Aside from being a good clinician, Greg was an accomplished turtle breeder, managing one of the few successful breeding groups of Sulawesi Forest Turtles in the US. He was a former member of the TSA Steering Committee and a frequent fixture at TSA conferences. In fact we were just recently on conference call with Greg and he had planned to join a team of vets at the Turtle Survival Center in early April for the first wave of incoming turtles. Over the years Greg contributed valuable time and resources to the TSA, helping to treat and rehabilitate countless turtles and tortoises that had been placed in our care by USFWS. Please join us in extending our condolences to Greg’s family in Calgary and the entire Disney team for their loss. Decisions are still being made regarding services, where cards may be sent, and what special cause Greg’s family recommends in lieu of flowers. As soon as the Disney family has more details, they will share them. USARK sends support and condolences to Dr. Fleming’s family, friends and colleagues.
This article updates that Blanding’s turtles, spotted turtles and diamondback terrapins have been added by CITES as Appendix II animals. “For species included on this list, international trade is regulated by a system in which permits are issued only when trade has been determined to be non-detrimental to species survival. CITES-listed species are also subject to mandatory reporting requirements.” Click HERE for full article.
Click HERE to read an informative article from the Washington Times concerning potential flaws with the current Endangered Species Act process. The article cites flaws with using the “best available research” which may not be adequate or accurate. It also mentions a proposed bill that may ban the use of taxpayer dollars to fund lawsuits, and also give state and county governments the opportunity to block settlements. Read more HERE.
CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species) is meeting in Bangkok, Thailand March 3-14, 2013. Several species of reptiles, amphibians and insects are being proposed for addition, exclusion or movement to Appendices I and II. NOTE: Spotted turtle, Blanding’s turtle and Diamondback Terrapins being considered for addition to Appendix II. More details can be found HERE.
USARK President, Phil Goss, answers a few questions for Reptile Times. Goss discusses USARK’s fight for the entire industry, uniting the herp community, the importance of reptile education to the masses, monkey-tailed skinks, boas and more. The full article can be found HERE.
Follow this link (CLICK HERE) and send your emails in 30 seconds. Be sure to share this with others. It is very important to send your emails and share this webpage with Montana residents. USARK appreciates your support!
The PIJAC Board of Directors voted unanimously to provide USARK an honorary membership. Also, NARBC Arlington raised $12,090 for USARK/PIJAC and an additional $2730 for Rico Walder. USARK appreciates continued support from NARBC! The complete press release with a full list of auction contributors and volunteers can be read by clicking HERE
New document made public from HR 511 Hearing
Below is a link to the Georgetown Economic Services response to the questions posed by Rep. Sablon and a rebuttal of the criticisms of the GES report by the witnesses during the hearing on HR 511. The letter and the GES report are part of the public record for the hearing. CLICK HERE to view the document
USARK President, Phil Goss, visited Washington D.C. last week. Goss had several meetings on Capitol Hill. Not only did Goss address Capitol Hill, he also collaborated with Kelley Drye and Warren LLP, USARK’s Washington-based legal experts, to finalize USARK’s legal strategy. Kelley Drye is the foremost authority regarding reptile and animal law and is the most influential lobbying firm concerning reptile legislation.Click HERE or the photo to the left to see the full story.
World-renowned snake breeder Rico Walder was diagnosed with brain cancer. His close friends and family have set up this fund in order to help ease the financial burden during his time of need. Please help support one of the herp community’s finest members and help him get back on his feet. Any and all donations are appreciated! Thank you! Click HERE or the pic to the left to visit the Rico Relief Effort page. Thank you for you time and consideration.
Follow this link (CLICK HERE) and send your emails in 30 seconds. Be sure to share this with others. It is very important to share this webpage with West Virginia residents. USARK appreciates your support!
Follow this link (CLICK HERE) and send your emails in 30 seconds. Be sure to share this with others. It is very important to share this webpage with Connecticut residents. USARK appreciates your support!
Follow this link (CLICK HERE) and send your emails in 30 seconds. Be sure to share this with others. It is very important to share this webpage with New York residents. USARK appreciates your support!