The United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) has received letters from Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Democratic majority Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee staff indicating that they will not honor commitments to work with USARK in regards to S. 373 aka The Python Ban. USARK has offered a number of amendments to mitigate the effects of S. 373 on the captive bred reptile industry, including a moratorium on import until more definitive science can determine whether a Lacey Act listing is actually necessary. This would have amounted to what is known as a “sunset clause.” Apparently Democrats on the committee feel they have the political momentum to ignore science in favor of political expediency. Justification for these draconian measures is predicated on the discredited USGS report on nine large constricting snakes.
The Democratic staff are working on an amendment for tomorrows “Mark Up” hearing that would “amend S. 373 to include the nine snakes addressed in the USGS report.” It will be offered tomorrow. What is unclear is whether that means the bill will be limited to the nine, or include the nine. If it is limited to the nine it would target the large snakes including Boa constrictor. If it includes the nine, that could mean all of the large snakes, but also ALL the other pythons. As of yet there has been no language shared to clarify what they will actually attempt.
This utter disregard for good science in favor of political expediency continues to be pushed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They see this as an opportunity to destroy the Reptile Nation. They have had unfettered access to Senator Nelson’s and Senator Cardin’s, D-Md., offices.
EPW committee ranking member Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., is working with USARK to build a coalition opposing S. 373 for a fight in the Senate. He is concerned with the obvious “railroading” that is being attempted with a viable sector of the economy to satisfy powerful special interests invested in destroying the captive bred reptile industry. He is also concerned with the lack of evidence to support such drastic and damaging measures.
The USGS report has many problems, which have been pointed out by scientists with far more acclaim than the authors. One of the most glaring flaws is the aggressive climate model that the entire report is based on. In addition there have been no provisions made to account for more than 4 million snakes already in captivity that will become valueless overnight if S. 373 becomes law. S. 373 is an economic and ecologic disaster in the making.
USARK is doing everything possible to protect the Reptile Nation. USARK President Andrew Wyatt has been in Las Vegas raising money and awareness across the country. Todd Willens will be representing USARK in Florida at the Florida Fish & Wildlife commissioners meeting. Frank Vitello continues his vigilance on “The Hill” and will attend the Senate Mark Up Hearing tomorrow in Washington, DC. We have the back of the Reptile Nation and will continue to do everything in our power to protect our members.
1. Contact The Media. Pythons, Politics and Destruction of the American Dream Campaign. Click on this link to send a hard hitting email to all the big media outlets: http://usark.org/campaign.php?id=9
2. Contact President Obama. Click on this link to let the President know you oppose S. 373 and the destruction of American jobs: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
3. Call and Fax the Senate EPW Committee Today!
Obama Sample Letter:
(cut and paste in whitehouse contact portal above)
President Obama, Senate Bill 373 aka the Python Ban is being considered in the Senate right now. It will destroy thousands of jobs and bankrupt thousands of American families. The bill has been sensationalized and politicized and has no basis in real science. In fact a report generated by USGS to justify this bill has been called unscientific by an independent panel of scientists. It is being pushed by powerful special interest groups and it will hurt me financially. It is a confiscation of my personal property rights and will not solve the problems proponents claim it addresses. This is clearly a situation that has become politically driven and ignores science that does not support S. 373. Please do not allow politics to trump good science and sound policy. This is wrong and you promised in your election campaign not to allow situations like this to occur. Please stop S. 373.
Forward this Alert to everyone you know. Your friends, email lists, forums, social networking sites … everyone! This will only work if everyone participates. We must generate tens of thousands of responses. Do it now!
Call In Day:
My name is _____. I oppose Senate Bill 373. Although I support and appreciate efforts to preserve the Everglades, there is no evidence to show this bill will have any conservation effect on the Everglades. This bill will hurt American families in our state. It would ban the captive bred trade in 40 species of pythons and destroy thousands of jobs in our state and across the country. Scientists have questioned the USGS report being used to justify this extreme proposal. Science should trump political expediency. Please oppose S. 373.
Contact: Full Senate EPW Committee
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), (Sponsor S373)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), (Chair EPW)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), (Ranking Member EPW)
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), (Chair Water & Wildlife)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), (Ranking Member Water & Wildlife)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Sen. Christopher (Kit) Bond (R-Mo.)
Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
Sen. Bernard (Bernie) Sanders (I-Vt.)
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Andrew Wyatt is the President of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) and has been an avid herp enthusiast for more than 35 years. He has traveled the world and has had his animals featured in a number of television productions. For more information about USARK, click here.
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