On Thursday, November 29 at 10:00 AM, the US House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on HR 511. The bill known as the 'Python Ban' seeks to add nine constricting snakes to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. HR 511 could restrict import and interstate transport of constrictor snakes throughout the US. The bill's sponsor is Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL). HR 511 reported out of US House Committee on the Judiciary on a voice vote in February, 2012.
HR 511 will be heard by the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs on November 29th. The Subcommittee Chair is Representative John Flemming (R-LA). The hearing will be held in the Longworth House Office Building at 10:00 AM.
USARK will provide three expert witnesses for the hearing; USARK president and CEO, Andrew Wyatt; NatGeo Wild Python Hunter, Shawn Heflick; National Geographic Society Resident Herpetologist, Dr. Brady Barr. Witnesses will submit written testimony and have five minutes each to deliver verbal testimony. Committee members will likely ask follow up questions of witnesses to clarify points.
USARK opposes the addition of any constrictor snakes to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. The USGS "science" used to justify the action is biased and controversial. The economic impact to businesses engaged in herpetoculture has been ignored by the CBO. Additionally, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that feral python populations are in drastic decline due to predation and cold, and cannot survive temperate climates north of south Florida. These facts have clearly demonstrated that the Lacey Act is an ineffective tool to deal with invasive species issues, as well as, the herpetoculture community.
Amendments to the bill may be introduced or passed. A vote to report the bill out could be taken. If passed as written, HR 511 would supersede the recent US Fish & Wildlife Service 'rule change' increasing the number of constrictors on the Injurious list to nine. (Boa constrictor, the northern and southern African pythons, Burmese python, reticulated python and all four anaconda species)
What you can do to help!