Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act of 2016

WHAT: H.R. 5895 and S. 3278, the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act of 2016 (“IFWP”)

Where: National

Introduced by, and other details:

H.R. 5895 by Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and S. 3278 by Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY).

Link to text: http://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Invasive-Fish-Wildlife-Prevention-Act-of-2016.pdf

Links to more information, including co-sponsors (to be updated):

1.     H.R. 5895: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5895

2.     S. 3278: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/3278

Summary:

Similar to legislation introduced in previous Congresses (i.e. H.R. 996 in 2013), the IFWP:

(1) Creates a new system for designating species as “injurious” and banning import, interstate commerce, and transportation of listed taxa (including family, genus, species, and subspecies);

(2) Requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) to develop regulations and, over time, review all nonnative live wildlife for potential to injure human health, livestock, native wildlife, and the environment;

(3) Gives FWS the duty and power to regulate pathogens and harmful parasites in nonnative and native wildlife, including power to quarantine imported animals or ban interstate movements of animals or species hosting or thought to host pathogens or harmful parasites.  This completely undermines the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS);

(4) Creates significant new reporting requirements, and civil and criminal penalties;

(5) Requires FWS to impose a fee on all live, imported wildlife to recover costs incurred in carrying out its duties under the law.

Legislative Prospects:

Given the lateness of the session and the fate of previously introduced similar bills, it is unlikely the legislation will advance before the end of the Congress this December.  However, the bill will likely be used as a platform to make a case for stricter measures on importation of non-native species and certain provisions could find their way into other legislative measures or future executive rules.  Anti-exotic animal activists have and will continue to push for a “white list” approach to injurious designations (i.e., banning non-native species until shown not harmful).

Call to Action: We will provide a full Action Alert soon.

The IFWP represents a flawed approach to the problem of invasive species.  For example, federal laws affect the entire country while less than 1% of the U.S. may have need for concern from a certain species.  It is imperative that USARK lend its voice to draw attention to the bill's potential harm to the legitimate, lawful and responsible pet trade.

As we have before, USARK will meet with and contact key committee staff and members of Congress to convey the industry’s and pet owners’ concerns.  We encourage you to do the same and contact the members of your congressional delegation to urge them to oppose S. 3278 and H.R. 5895 as an overly broad solution to the potential problem of invasive species damage.  It is especially important to contact your representative and senator if a co-sponsor of these bills.

Key Talking Points in opposition:

·       The IFWP represents a flawed approach to the problem of invasive species by taking a nationalized approach to localized concerns.

·       IFWP impacts extend beyond the pet trade and, as written, will impact animal entertainment businesses, researchers, zoos, aquariums, air, water, and truck transportation, and many other sectors.

·       The IFWP attaches significant liability to even innocent activities.  IFWP would greatly increase the number of species listed as injurious without justification, including most, if not all, non-native reptiles and amphibians commonly kept as pets.

·       The IFWP imposes a weak science standard (decisions to be made on “sound science” rather than the “best available science" while implementing a new petition process and import reporting system.  Illegitimate environmental and radical animal rights groups will use these in misinforming public scare campaigns to force FWS‘ hand to ban animals in trade, regardless of validity to do so;

·       The IFWP shortcuts administrative processes, including eliminating required economic and social impact analyses.  It requires FWS to undertake its own review of virtually all non-native wildlife species, imposing a costly administrative burden on an agency already strapped for adequate resources.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Will be posted soon.

Article written by USARK