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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!
1. Below is a link to contact your federal Representative. Simply click the link and enter your zip code. You will see your Representative’s information (you may need to narrow search with your address). You will see a small envelope next to your Representative’s picture that you can click to send an email (or you may visit the Representative’s website provided). Simply fill out the form, copy and paste the subject line and sample letter below and send it. http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
2. Call Congressman Vern Buchanan’s office and voice your opposition at (202) 225-5015.
Subject: NO to supporting Congressman Buchanan’s letter to add additional snake species as injurious
I write today to urge you not to sign Congressman Vern Buchanan’s letter to Secretary Sally Jewell urging the listing of five remaining snake species as injurious under the Lacey Act. There is no valid scientific evidence to support the listings and the result will impact thousands of families and small businesses.
Anti-pet groups are being allowed to force their agenda upon all Americans. Constrictor snakes have been held as pets for over 50 years and there is no evidence to support injurious listing.
The proposal to list these snakes under the federal Lacey Act is opposed by a wide group of stakeholders, including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), the pet industry, and the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, to name a few. The proposal was highlighted in a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing as federal overreach and at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing which featured National Geographic’s resident herpetologist in opposition to the listing.
The Boa constrictor is by far the most commonly held and most economically important large constrictor, accounting for the majority of adverse economic consequences from a listing. USFWS, however, failed to adequately characterize the industry’s scope or recognize the negative economic impacts of this first-time listing of a species widely held as pets.
This rule is an unnecessary federal intrusion into state wildlife management and misuse of the Lacey Act. Listing of these snakes will create felons out of tens of thousands of pet owners, hobbyists and collectors and will destroy small businesses across the country in states where there is zero likelihood of captive-bred snakes establishing themselves in the wild.
A ban on the import and interstate commerce of the remaining five species will have a devastating economic impact. There is absolutely no evidence showing these species to be a threat to public safety and no science to support the fact that these species can become injurious throughout the United States. The only potentially habitable climate lies in extreme southern Florida and the issue has been addressed locally by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Responsible pet owners want to maintain their freedom to choose their pets. Thank you for opposing Congressman Vern Buchanan’s letter.
The Anti-Pet Group’s Plan
Ban the Sale of Deadly Snakes
Sign Letter to Ban selling Snakes that Threaten Environment, Wildlife, Human Safety
Endorsed By the Humane Society
In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule to ban the import and interstate commerce of four species of large constrictor snakes. However, there are an additional five dangerous species that FWS should now ban. The U.S. Geological Survey determined these non-native constrictor snakes pose a significant environmental threat —the reticulated python, the DeSchauensee’s anaconda, the green anaconda, the Beni anaconda and the boa constrictor.
Science shows that listing these five snakes as injurious is essential to protect wildlife and human safety, as well as spare taxpayers the fiscal responsibility of attempting to control the further spread of these snakes should they become established in suitable climates beyond Florida and Puerto Rico, such as Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii, and a number of U.S. territories.
Large constrictor snakes have killed at least 12 people in the U.S. since 1990—17 since 1978—including seven children. Hundreds of attacks, intentional releases, and escapes of large constrictor snakes from poorly secured cages have been reported in 45 states and the District of Columbia.
Economists have determined that listing these snakes as injurious will have little impact on the reptile industry since sales of these large constrictor snakes are only a very small part of a much larger industry and their listing would result in consumers simply reallocating their money toward non-listed snakes and other reptiles—causing little or no net change in economic activity.
We urge you to join as a signatory to the letter below to encourage the Service to complete its final snake rule by adding five additional large constrictor snakes under the Lacey Act.
Dear Secretary Jewell:
We are writing to request that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) move quickly to complete its ruling on large non-native constrictor snakes by issuing a final regulation listing the reticulated python, the DeSchauensee’s anaconda, the green anaconda, the Beni anaconda and the boa constrictor as injurious under the Lacey Act.
In a comprehensive 323-page report issued in 2009, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) concluded that nine species of dangerous exotic constrictor snakes present a “high” or “medium” risk of becoming invasive since unwanted snakes are commonly turned loose or easily escape from cages. On January 23, 2012, FWS issued a rule listing four of the nine species—Burmese pythons, yellow anacondas, and northern and southern African pythons—as injurious under the Lacey Act. However, five of the original nine snake species remain unlisted. Of the five snake species that were not included in the 2012 rule, three are found in the pet trade—boa constrictors, reticulated pythons, and to a lesser extent, green anacondas. Unless these species are added to the listing, the trade in boa constrictors and reticulated pythons—which represents two-thirds of the large constrictor snake species imported to the U.S.—will continue to threaten the environment as well as public safety. In the U.S., reticulated pythons have killed four adults and three babies and at least two human deaths are attributed to boa constrictors.
Boa constrictors have become established as an invasive species in more areas than any other boa or python species and are categorized as high risk by the USGS report. They are already established in parts of Florida, and a November 2012 issue of Biological Invasions confirmed a breeding population of boa constrictors in Puerto Rico. These snakes also pose threats to other states and territories, including Hawaii, where loose boa constrictors are being found with greater frequency.
The FWS, in partnership with many organizations, has spent more than $6 million since 2005 attempting to combat the growing problem of Burmese pythons and other large invasive constrictor snakes in Florida where they are consuming endangered and threatened species and have decimated as much as 99 percent of the area’s small and medium sized native mammals.
Banning the import and interstate commerce of these deadly predators will not impact small or large businesses since consumers interested in keeping reptiles will likely reallocate their pet-related budget towards one of the hundreds of other available reptiles or other animals that are not affected by this listing as we have seen after the original four snakes were listed.
Thank you for attention to this urgent matter.