Update on reptile legislation throughout the United States.
In case you missed the last update, USFWS has renewed its motion to dismiss in response to the amended complaint filed by USARK, as expected. FWS has again challenged USARK’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) standing by demanding more substantiation than the law requires. They have also proposed that the statute of limitations has expired. This statute is set at a six-year time period to raise a claim. FWS again asserts that this six-year period began in 1965. FWS listed four species of constrictor snakes as injurious on January 23, 2012, therefore, the six-year statute of limitations has not expired.
USARK's opposition is due on June 11 and then FWS' response will be due on June 23. We will have additional updates as they become available.
You can view the latest filing at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/5.23.14-Amended-Complaint-Motion-to-Dismiss.pdf.
Federal Constrictor Rule Update
An announcement was again posted in the spring Regulatory Agenda (posted below). Very similar language has been posted several times since the four species were listed in January of 2012. It means that FWS plans to finalize the rule, but that may or may not happen. If the rule is finalized, we may see no additional species added, some added, or all five added. FWS could have listed any of the five additional species at any time but they have not. This is most likely due to pressure from USARK and the lawsuit. If USARK had not been present, there would already be 9 species (or more) listed.
This is serious but it is the same threat we've had since 2012 when the original four were listed. FWS has been posting language similar to below for over two years and they have not taken action.
Along with announcing pending action in the Agenda, there is always the possibility of re-opening the public comment period. If this occurs, it will likely be the direct result of USARK's request to provide updated information prior to finalization. They may also choose to re-open in response to the USARK lawsuit. A re-opening would be an opportunity to provide updated and supplementary reasons as to why additional species should not be listed as injurious under the Lacey Act.
Regulatory Agenda Announcement:
Publication ID: Spring 2014
Title: Injurious Wildlife Evaluation; Constrictor Species From Python, Boa, and Eunectes Genera
Abstract: We are making a final determination on the listing of five species of large constrictor snakes as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act: Reticulated python, DeSchauensee's anaconda, green anaconda, Beni anaconda, and boa constrictor.
Note: The four species currently listed as injurious are (language from rule): Python molurus (which includes both Burmese and Indian Pythons), Broghammerus reticulatus or Python reticulatus (Reticulated Pythons), Python sebae (Northern African Python), Python natalensis (Southern African Python)
SC H 3985 and LA SB 357
These bills have died after being introduced and gaining no traction. The South Carolina statewide legislative session ended on June 5. Louisiana's final adjournment was on June 2.
A huge thank you goes to Repticon show coordinators for distributing USARK-authored materials to collect well over 1,000 petition signatures and signed letters at shows in each state shortly following the introduction of these bills. The letters and petitions were delivered to appropriate state legislators to illustrate the high amount of objection to these bills. Joe and Joy Lewis, Beanie Villermin and others were very active to halt the bill in Louisiana, and herpers in South Carolina did the same. USARK contacted legislators, supplied sound reasoning, scientific research and statistics so the voices of our membership were heard. Thanks to everyone who followed and shared our Action Alerts to contacted legislators.
Illinois SB 902: Herptiles Act
The bill passed Concurrence in Senate with a vote of 51-1 on May 30. It had to return for a vote in the Senate since an amendment was added while in the House. The amendment did three things: removed the 4" turtle language, removed Malagasy cat-eyed snakes from the list of "venomous reptiles," and provided an exemption for Zoological Association of America (ZAA) accredited facilities. It has now passed both houses and awaits signature by Governor Quinn. The Governor has 60 days to sign the bill from the time it is presented to him. If the bill is not signed or vetoed, it will also become law.
View details on this bill at www.usark.org/2014-blog/illinois-herptiles-act.
Over 4 million people have been reached through the USARK Facebook page in just the last seven day period (Reach is the number of unique users who saw USARK information). After starting fresh in January 2013 following the deletion of our original page, the USARK page has accumulated over 23,000 legitimate and authentic Likes (Fans) without buying them. Likes can be purchased inexpensively through services to artificially, and perhaps unethically, inflate your perceived audience. Simply do an internet search for "buy Facebook likes" or click here: www.jonloomer.com/2012/07/09/buy-facebook-likes.
Thanks to all that follow the page, like our posts, comment and share the relevant information. We continually post herp-related news, animal rights scam exposure, legislative updates, new species discoveries, educational material and incredible photos, all to make our community better and spread awareness. There are examples below of articles and photos. You can visit the page at www.facebook.com/UnitedStatesAssociationOfReptileKeepers.
International Herpetological Symposium (IHS)
The 37th IHS hits Riverside, CA on July 16-19. This event includes talks from noted herpers including Bill Love, Russ Gurley, Sean Bush, Jeff Lemm, Jim Harrison, Brian Barczyk and many others. This year will also include a chance to visit the L.A. Zoo and field-herping opportunities. Get all the details at www.internationalherpetologicalsymposium.com and Like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/InternationalHerpetologicalSymposium.
Over $35,000 in prizes! Buy tickets and check out what you can win at www.raaca.net. Also, be sure to visit and join the Reptile And Amphibian Charity Auction (RAACA) page at www.facebook.com/groups/RAACAUCTIONS to stay updated and get some intermittent comic relief. A huge thank you to all involved from USARK, including Jordan Russell, Myke Clarkson, Houssam Istanbouli and the sponsors: Freedom Breeder, BHB Reptiles, The Reptile Shop, SC Constrictors, The Boaphile (Jeff Ronne), TSK Feeders and Herp Nation Media.
Thank You PACNWRS and OKC Elite
USARK would like to thank the promoters and volunteers of the OKC Elite Reptile show and the Pacific Northwest Reptile and Exotic Animal Show (PACNWRS). Jeff Hoffman and Noah Criswell of PACNWRS held raffles that raised $2,000 for USARK, with the inclusion of personal donations. Thanks to all that donated and contributed. Their next show is March 28-29, 2015 and the website is www.pacnwrs.com.
The OKC Elite Reptile Show organized a benefit auction and raised over $3,500 for USARK. Thank you Exotic Aquatics & More (Johni and Brad), Topnotch Ball Pythons (Shawn), Russ Gurley from Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group (TTPG), Jason from Zoo Med Laboratories, RNK Design, OKC Elite crew, all vendors who donated and everyone who attended. The next show is Nov. 1-2. Get details at www.okcelitereptileshow.com.
The Sticky Situation Project
Thank you to Seri Dukart (Gallery Geckos) and Rachel Wintjen (Happy Gecko Sticky Situation) who are collaborating to make a magnificent and unique herp quilt that will be raffled. One of the completed blocks is below. This is a very creative way to support our herp community. You can follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stickyproject and visit their Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/StickyGecko. (10% of sales from the Etsy shop will be donated to USARK through June 8th.)
Reptile Super Show
It will be here soon! The Reptile Super Show is July 12-13 at the Concourse/Civic Center in downtown San Diego, CA. The USARK benefit auction is Saturday night at 6:30. This is one of the largest shows of 2014. Come join in the fun of the Reptile Super Show and show your support for USARK. Thank you to Ramy and the Super Show crew for your continued support. Get show details at www.reptilesupershow.com/san-diego.
HSUS exposed: "Direct care of animals was far from the main priority." HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) former Director of Education speaks out about fraudulent advertising practices and revenue spending. View the article at www.nypost.com/2014/06/03/to-help-our-furry-friends-dont-give-nationally.
Summer Croc Fest: June 28 at Carl Barden's Reptile Discovery Center/Venom Lab in Deland, FL. This event will raise funds to help save the critically endangered Gharial and the critically endangered Philippine crocodile. Get more details at www.facebook.com/SaveTheCrocodiles. Thank you to the organizers: Colette Adams, Curt Harbsmieir, Shawn Heflick and Flavio Morrissiey.
Oklahoma Reptile Expo: June 8 in Broken Arrow, OK. Thanks to Chris for volunteering his time to run the USARK booth. More details at www.coldbloodedexpos.com/ok-reptile-expo.
Cin City Reptile Show: June 8th in Mason, OH. More details at www.cincityreptileshow.com.
Indiana Reptile Breeders' Expo: June 22 in Richmond, IN. More details at www.irbexpo.com.
All Ohio Reptile Show: June 21 in Columbus, OH. More details at www.allohioreptileshows.webs.com.