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ACTION ALERT: Maine

Remember to be CIVIL and PROFESSIONAL at all times!

Deadline to comment is June 17 at 5:00 PM Eastern time!

Sample letters, talking points, contact information, etc. can all be found below!

Where: Maine state

WHAT: The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife ("DIFW") has announced a completely unjust, unconstitutional and overreaching proposal to regulate animal ownership which is an EXTREME case of bad government!

DIFW has proposed rule changes to Chapter 7 of their wildlife code. The rules shall apply to "the possession, propagation, rehabilitation, or exhibition of any wildlife in captivity and to the importation of wildlife from an area outside the state..." Send emails and contact officials NOW before the meeting on June 7. They need to hear the opposition NOW, as well as at the meeting.

MANY species WILL BE listed! A new "Technical Committee" and the DIFW commissioner can ban and add species to lists as they please. Even if not on a restricted list now, species could be added at any time without due process. This new system will overly restrict ownership of species across the board.

This is a completely unjustifiable proposal. The proposal creates a 3 category system, or tiered system, for which to file species which will eventually include most non-native herps, mammals, and birds. These 3 categories (a prohobited list and 2 retsricted lists) will be severely restricted and will include species not on the very limited "Unrestricted List." The current unrestricted list includes only a few species that can be owned without permit or regulation. To make matters worse, all overlooked species will be illegal to own. Simply, if DIFW does not put it on a list, you cannot own it, even with a permit.

SUMMARY of proposal: www.usark.org/maine-rule-changes-2016

To summarize, it DOES NOT matter what species are currently on the lists as hundreds of species could be added at any time without justification or due process!!!

This is an attempt to overregulate ALL "non-domestic" animals out of our lives. There is no other argument for this proposal and the supposed justifications provided are non-sensical.

They need to hear the opposition NOW, as well as at the meeting. Scores of herpers, pet owners, and exotic animal keepers must contact officials. They should also insist upon a workshop with DIFW to collaborate and work to resolve current problems with the wildlife regulations, in addition to stopping the unjustified proposals.

LINK to proposed changes: www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Maine-Proposal-2016.pdf

PUBLIC MEETING:

June 7, 2016 @ 6:00 p.m.

Augusta Civic Center, Cumberland Room

76 Community Drive

Augusta, ME

COMMENTS:
Due June 17
to Becky Orff at Becky.Orff@maine.gov

Also, send comments to Governor LePage at www.maine.gov/governor/lepage/citizen_services/ideas-suggestions.shtml

REMEMBER: You MUST be civil and professional at all times when addressing officials!

The reasons for listing species as restricted/prohibited are absurd:

  1. "Non-native wildlife potentially carries risks for the native wildlife resources and ecosystems of the State of Maine and the public at large." - This is false for the proposed restricted reptile species.
  2. "With changing environmental conditions and the inherent adaptability of wildlife, the ability to predict the likelihood of a non-native wildlife species to survive in the wild is difficult." - This is absolutely absurd. If Maine climate ever warms enough to support these species, humans will already be extinct:
  3. These rules are "established to limit trade in wildlife species that are rare or threatened in their native range." By far, the vast majority of these animals seen in trade are captively bred. Also, the Endangered Species Act, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and laws by the states or countries of origin already limit the trade and protect these species.
  4. Reportedly, banning species will "ensure the proper care and welfare of all wildlife in captivity." Actually, bans have the opposite effect.

Copy/paste one of these subject lines, or write your own so all emails don't have the same subject line.

  1. DIFW proposal is astoundingly unjust
  2. NO justification for exotic animal proposal
  3. Proposed tiered system is unjustifiable
  4. Proposed exotic animal rules are unjust
  5. Opposition to proposed wildlife rule changes
  6. NO to proposed wildlife rules
  7. I OPPOSE RULE CHANGES
  8. Reptile prohibition is unfounded

Sample Letter #1

Talking Points at bottom, too!

Copy/paste this sample letter. It is important to personalize/edit at least some of the letter.

Dear Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Officials,

As a Maine resident and responsible animal owner, I strongly oppose the proposed tiered system and rule changes to Maine's wildlife laws as a responsible animal owner. This is an example of the government overreaching and taking away freedoms without just cause or valid reasoning. There is absolutely no justification to for these proposals. The entire proposal is far overbearing with absolutely no grounds to form validity. This is a pure case of an out of control government.

While I could write chapters on what is wrong with this proposal, allow me to supply some basic and concise points:

  1. Bans and over-regulation are never the answer and always lead to more problems than the imaginary ones they attempt to resolve.
  2. The following suggested justification in absolutely absurd. If Maine climate ever warms enough to support these species, humans will already be extinct: "With changing environmental conditions and the inherent adaptability of wildlife, the ability to predict the likelihood of a non-native wildlife species to survive in the wild is difficult."
  3. By far, the vast majority of these animals seen in trade are captively bred. Therefore, stating these rules are "established to limit trade in wildlife species that are rare or threatened in their native range" is also not valid. Also, the Endangered Species Act, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and laws by the states or countries of origin already limit the trade and protect these species.
  4. Bans and bad laws do absolutely nothing "to ensure the proper care and welfare of all wildlife in captivity." Actually, bans have the opposite effect. Bans create a black market, drive the trade underground, often raise prices enticing a criminal factor, etc. The animals actually suffer from being kept "secretly" by people who may only be keeping them because it is forbidden, not because of a passion for the species.
  5. While reviewing rules, the “Unrestricted Species List” should also be discussed during a workshop with stakeholders. The current list is ridiculously limited compared to the many species commonly kept across the rest of the continental United States. The Maine law is already unconstitutional. The list must be expanded and requiring import permits for all the other domestically bred species is government overreach without sound rationale.
  6. Comparing Maine's environment to Florida's (and other parts of the U.S.) is non-sensical and any proposed rule change based upon this notion should be immediately dismissed.
  7. Animal welfare and humane treatment are always essential, but these rule changes would actually harm these critical animal needs.

I would hope that as a tax-paying citizen, government officials would base legislation only upon sound reasoning and legitimate science. This absurdity is a huge waste of taxpayer funds rather than implementing common sense regulations. I'm seeing in Maine that some officials want these animals banned just because they don't like them and lack education regarding them. That is bad government and is unconstitutional. Government officials must become properly educated on topics before making decisions, especially when many of their constituents will be affected.

I know that many local stakeholders have all reached out to educate officials. If you listen to those educated about these animals, you'll see they should not be banned in Maine. I also insist that a workshop be held to address current overregulation such as the very limited "unrestricted list," propagation permit, and other issues. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. Have a good day.

Sincerely,

[your name]

Sample Letter #2

Talking Points at bottom, too!

Copy/paste this sample letter. It is important to personalize/edit at least some of the letter.

Dear Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Officials,

As a responsible pet owner and Maine resident, I oppose the proposed rule changes and tiered system as a responsible animal owner. The entire proposed system is flawed. This is an example of the government overreach and removal of freedoms without just cause or valid reasoning. There is absolutely no justification to for these proposals.

There is absolutely no justification to the proposal and the listed reasons are absurd by any standard. The potential for these non-native wildlife species to carry risks for the native wildlife resources and ecosystems of the State of Maine and the public at large are non-existent. The species pose zero threat to handlers or the public when handled responsibly.

The species cannot survive the extreme climate of Maine. These non-native species cannot live in temperatures remotely close to Maine winters, or even colder nights in fall and spring. In fact, only a few weeks annually provide ample temperatures for these species to survive our climate. The proposed snakes and lizards would not even survive extended periods exposed to temperatures in the 50s and 60s.

For many other reasons, the addition of these species is unjust. Many of these species are commonly kept in captivity. The husbandry, or captive care, of these animals is well-understood and they thrive in captivity, allowing them to be in the homes of people who cannot have cats or dogs, or would simply prefer to have these species over others. Companies even make cages specifically for housing them.

I would hope that as a tax-paying citizen, government officials would base legislation only upon sound reasoning and legitimate science. I'm seeing in Maine that some officials want these animals banned just because they don't like them and lack education regarding them. That is bad government and is unconstitutional. Government officials must become properly educated on topics before making decisions, especially when many of their constituents will be affected.

I know that many local stakeholders have all reached out to educate officials. If you listen to those educated about these animals, you'll see they should not be banned in Maine. I also insist that a workshop be held to address current overregulation such as the very limited "unrestricted list," propagation permit, and other issues. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. Have a good day.

Sincerely,

[your name]

Sample Letter #3

Talking Points at bottom, too!

Copy/paste this sample letter. It is important to personalize/edit at least some of the letter.

Dear Becky Orff and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Officials,

As a responsible pet owner, I oppose the proposed 3 category animal regulation system. This proposal is overreaching and unjust legislation without sound science or reasoning to support it. There is simply no valid justification to support for this ban.

Valid data and science presented by herpetologists, stakeholders, biologists and other professionals have apparently been completely dismissed. Surely before the rule is finalized, the Department will analyze sound science and legitimate statistics to base their decision in the best interests of those who will be affected rather than to satisfy uninformed, biased or animal rights driven persons.

For many reasons, this proposal is unjust. Below are just a few:
  1. By over-regulating these animals, you will be unfairly punishing several thousand Maine residents;
  2. Maine does not have a climate that would support feral populations these animals;
  3. Bans and over-regulation do not protect animal welfare;
  4. Many of these species are very commonly kept in captivity;
  5. The husbandry, or captive care, of these animals is well-understood and they thrive in captivity;
  6. Any minuscule public safety risk from these animals is eliminated through basic responsible handling;
  7. Overly restricting these animals removes any educational opportunities for children;
  8. Maine has an abundance of herpetocultural hobbyists and many currently do, or would like to, work with these species;
  9. Many more reasons can be supplied.
Government officials should base legislation upon valid reasoning and sound science. This proposal is nothing more than bad government based upon miseducation of the subject. I would hope government officials would take the time to learn about the topics at hand before making decisions to negatively impact their constituents.

To my knowledge, the Maine Herpetological Society and stakeholders have reached out to assist. Please allow their assistance and you'll see these reptiles should not be banned in Maine. I also insist that a workshop be held to address current overregulation such as the very limited "unrestricted list," propagation permit, and other issues. Thank you for your time and have a good day.

Sincerely,

[your name]

Talking Points
Use these to personalize your letters. You may add them, substitute them for current sentences, etc.
  1. Bans and over-regulation are never the answer and always lead to more problems than the imaginary ones they attempt to resolve.
  2. The following reasoning is completely invalid for the proposed species of reptiles: "Non-native wildlife potentially carries risks for the native wildlife resources and ecosystems of the State of Maine and the public at large."
  3. The following suggested justification in absolutely absurd. If Maine climate ever warms enough to support these species, humans will already be extinct: "With changing environmental conditions and the inherent adaptability of wildlife, the ability to predict the likelihood of a non-native wildlife species to survive in the wild is difficult."
  4. By far, the vast majority of these animals seen in trade are captively bred. Therefore, stating these rules are "established to limit trade in wildlife species that are rare or threatened in their native range" is also not valid. Also, the Endangered Species Act, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and laws by the states or countries of origin already limit the trade and protect these species.
  5. Bans and bad laws do absolutely nothing "to ensure the proper care and welfare of all wildlife in captivity." Actually, bans have the opposite effect. Bans create a black market, drive the trade underground, often raise prices enticing a criminal factor, etc. The animals actually suffer from being kept "secretly" by people who may only be keeping them because it is forbidden, not because of a passion for the species.
  6. While reviewing rules, the “Unrestricted Species List” should also be discussed during a workshop with stakeholders. The current list is ridiculously limited compared to the many species commonly kept across the rest of the continental United States.
  7. Comparing Maine's environment to Florida's (and other parts of the U.S.) is non-sensical and any proposed rule change based upon this notion should be immediately dismissed.
  8. The "Unrestricted List" must be expanded as requiring import permits for all the other domestically bred species is government overreach without sound logic.
  9. Animal welfare and humane treatment are always essential, but these rule changes would actually harm these critical animal needs.

Article written by USARK