House Committee Considers Lacey Act to Shut Down Reptile Trade; Thousands of Jobs Could be Lost
WASHINGTON, March 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife will hold a joint oversight hearing on “How To Manage Large Constrictor Snakes And Other Invasive Species.” The Subcommittees will receive testimony on efforts to monitor and control Burmese Pythons and other invasive species in Everglades National Park.
At the center of this debate is the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed rule change adding 9 snakes (including Boa constrictor) to the injurious wildlife list of the Lacey Act. The big question is whether federal regulation via the Lacey Act is the way to address a problem that is localized in the southern tip of Florida. Justification for the rule change is a highly controversial US Geological Survey report criticized as, “not suitable as the basis for legislative or regulatory policies” by a panel of independent scientists in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee.
Legal experts have questioned whether the complicated Lacey Act designed to stop poaching at the turn of the century is now being abused by USFWS. Never before has a Lacey Act listing been proposed for animals that are so widely held by the public. The United States Association of Reptile Keepers estimates that there are now approximately 2 million animals in captivity in the US that would be subject to the USFWS proposed rule change. If enacted tens of thousands of Americans would be in possession of injurious wildlife and could be subject to felony prosecution under the Lacey Act.
The effect on thousands of small businesses would be swift and devastating. There would be many bankruptcies and tens of thousands of people would be negatively impacted. Thousands of jobs would be lost.
SOURCE United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK)