2017 IN HB 1550

Positive legislation! Indiana HB 1550 would allow species listed under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA") to be kept if domestically bred. ESA-listed species are already regulated at the national level by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but Indiana has a much more restrictive law that makes it illegal to own these species. Banning the keeping of ESA-listed species is due to a misunderstanding of ESA and lack of knowledge that these species are captive bred and no longer wild caught. Many species have been captive bred for decades. Additionally, this bill is crucial as species are continually added to ESA. Imagine your pet of many years suddenly becoming illegal to have in your home. Take action and support this bill!

Below you'll find all the information needed to contact legislators including Talking Points, sample letter, etc. Remember to be professional and civil at all times! Acting otherwise will only hurt our cause.

HB 1550 was assigned to the House Natural Resources Committee.

HB 1550 language: www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/IN-2017-HB1550.pdf

Legislator contact for House Natural Resources Committee: Just click each Representative's name and then click "Send Email" at the top left of page to send messages individually. Simply copy/paste your message. www.iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/committees/natural_resources_1400

Email list for House Natural Resources Committee:
h57@iga.in.gov, h74@iga.in.gov, h46@iga.in.gov, h30@iga.in.gov, h89@iga.in.gov, h84@iga.in.gov, h42@iga.in.gov, h54@iga.in.gov, h62@iga.in.gov, h43@iga.in.gov, h8@iga.in.gov, h9@iga.in.gov, h71@iga.in.gov, h62@iga.in.gov, h43@iga.in.gov, h8@iga.in.gov, h9@iga.in.gov, h71@iga.in.gov

Link to all other bill details: www.iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1550#

Talking Points (These can be included in messages to legislators or during oral testimony.)

  1. Species listed under ESA are already regulated and the federal level.
  2. ESA includes many species non-native to the U.S. The trade on ESA-listed species non-native to the U.S. are regulated by the USFWS, their countries of origin, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
  3. USFWS does not ban ownership, breeding or commerce of ESA-listed species.
  4. By breeding ESA-listed species in captivity, it allows others to learn about them which aids in conservation efforts.
  5. Captive bred endangered species have no negative impact on wild populations.
  6. ESA-listed species are no longer collected from the wild and imported into the U.S.
  7. While an illegal wildlife trade on these species may exist, it exists in foreign countries and animals found for sale domestically are captive bred, not wild caught.
  8. The ban on ownership of ESA-listed is an extreme example of bad government and is due to a misunderstanding of the Endangered Species Act and the captive breeding of these species.
  9. Many species commonly kept as pets, including many tortoises and macaws, are listed under ESA, but this is due to habitat destruction and decreasing wild populations. Animals which were captive bred or owned before being listed under ESA, as new species are added annually, should be exempt from this state law.

Sample Letter

Please support HB 1550! The current ban in Indiana to keep species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act ("ESA") is an unjust law for many reasons. Species listed under ESA are no longer collected in the wild and imported into the U.S. Only animals born in captivity are available for sale. Also, and perhaps most frightening, species are continually added to the ESA list as habitat destruction and overharvesting for consumption take their toll on wild populations. Imagine someone owning an animal for many years, or even decades in many cases, and then this pet becomes illegal overnight. This truly is an unintended and wrongful consequence of what was intended to be a good law.

Vote yes to HB 1550 and do what is right for Hoosiers who have these species as pets. Other states are leading the way in this movement. Virginia passed this same legislation to make ownership legal just three years ago. In 2015, Arizona voted no to this proposal after learning the facts. And just this year, Oregon made it clear that they only regulated ESA-listed species native to their state.

Many Indiana residents currently own mammals, birds, reptiles and fish which are, or may soon be, ESA-listed and would be unknowingly breaking the law. Do not make criminals of loving animal owners! Do what is right both for these animals and their caring owners by supporting HB 1550. Thank you for your time and consideration on this complex matter.

Article written by USARK