Senate Committee to consider Python Ban.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) expects U.S. senators to amend Senate bill 373, which could affect the python trade if approved, by as early as Dec. 10. The bill, introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) in February, seeks to amend the Lacey Act to add “constrictor snakes of the species Python genera” to the list of injurious wildlife species, thus prohibiting the import, export and interstate movement of the snakes.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is scheduled to consider S. 373 during a “mark-up” session on Dec. 10 at 9:30 a.m. in Washington, D.C. S. 373’s companion bill, H.R. 2811, was recently amended to add only Burmese and African rock pythons to the list.
Some members of the pet trade, including PIJAC and United States Association of Reptile Keepers have raised concerns about adding a species to the injurious wildlife list through legislative action, as opposed to the science-based risk analysis as established under the Lacey Act.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deputy director Dan Ashe testified during a recent subcommittee hearing on S. 373 that the agency is still completing its review under the Lacey Act, according to PIJAC. However, he recommended amending the legislation to include the nine species of large constrictor snakes that were assessed in a report published by the U.S. Geology Survey. The 302-page report, which came out in October, details the ecological risks associated with the Burmese python, reticulated python, Northern and Southern African python, boa constrictors, yellow anaconda, Deschauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda and Beni anaconda.
PIJAC suggested that S. 373, if it does move forward, be amended to address only the Burmese python, “the one species of concern.”
“There is absolutely no justification for banning all pythons,” PIJAC stated in a PetAlert released on Dec. 7.
PIJAC also supports specific language that would allow interstate movement, subject to certain standards; allow exportation of live specimens to countries that allow importation; allow possession, subject to certain conditions (i.e. caging, recordkeeping) and establish a 120-day grace period, following the enactment of legislation, during which owners can take the necessary steps to comply with the new regulation.
PIJAC reported that it is submitting to the committee a proposed federal/state mechanism for Burmese pythons listed as injurious under the Lacey Act. According to the organization, it would be used as a model if other python species are included in the bill. The proposal sets forth standards for possession, transportation, and exhibition and aging, as well as record keeping and reporting requirements and escape plans.
To view S. 373, visit: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgibin/bdquery/z?d111:SN00373:|/bss/111search.html.