The following are our guidelines and recommendations for making an effective and highly impactful public comment on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed “Rule Change.” If enacted, the Rule Change could add four pythons, four anacondas and Boa constrictors to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act.
It is important that your public comment be thoughtful and pertinent. During the Notice of Inquiry in 2008, only 115 public comments, out of approximately 1,500, were used because most failed to answer what was asked by the USFWS.
The following are the United States Association of Reptile Keepers’ (USARK) recommendations for creating a public comment.
1. Do Not plead for your animals and write how unfair this is.
2. Do Not give your political philosophy or your feelings about government regulation.
3. There is a list of questions that should be addressed if you have the knowledge to address them. Look for USARK suggestions in italics. Answer only questions you feel comfortable and knowledgeable on.
4. Be thoughtful and as original as possible with your comments.
5. Comment on the effectiveness of using the Lacey Act.
6. Give alternatives to Lacey Act. (such as USARK Industry Best Management Practices ... USARK Accreditation)
7. Comment on the unprecedented nature of listing animals that are so widely held by the American public. (use the word “unprecedented”)
8. Unintended consequences of reducing the value of as many as 2 million animals to $0 overnight. What will happen to animals that owners can no longer afford to care for?
9. The fact that USFWS has done such a poor job making their scientific and economic case has created a highly controversial situation. Many credible scientists, economists and industry leaders disagree with USFWS. (use the word “controversial”)
10. Comment on the economic impact on you and your family.
Here are the USFWS questions to be answered by public comment.
1. What regulations does your state have pertaining to the use, transport, or production of any of the nine constrictor snakes? What are relevant federal, state, or local rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the proposed rule?
2. How many of the nine constrictor snakes species are currently in production for wholesale or retail sale, and in how many and which states? (Burmese python, reticulated python, northern African python, yellow anaconda, green anaconda and Boa constrictor.)
3. How many businesses sell one or more of the nine constrictor snake species? (Do you?)
4. How many businesses breed one or more of the nine constrictor snake species? (Do you?)
5. What are the annual sales for each of the nine constrictor snake species? (Your sales?)
6. How many, if any, of the nine constrictor snake species are permitted within each state? (Are they banned in your state?)
7. What would it cost to eradicate individuals or populations of the nine constrictor snakes, or similar species, if found? What methods are effective? (Nothing, $0, because there is NO evidence they can live in your state. Unless you are in south Florida.)
8. What are the costs of implementing propagation, recovery, and restoration programs for native species that are affected by the nine constrictor snake species, or similar species? (Nothing, $0, because there is NO evidence they can live in your state. Unless you are in south Florida.)
9. What State threatened or endangered species would be impacted by the introduction of any of the nine constrictor snake species? (Nothing, $0, because there is NO evidence they can live in your state. Unless you are in south Florida.)
10. What species have been impacted, and how, by any of the nine constrictor snake species? (Nothing, $0, because there is NO evidence they can live in your state. Unless you are in south Florida.)
11. What provisions in the proposed rule should the USFWS consider with regard to: (a) The impact of the provision(s) (including any benefits and costs), if any, and (b) What alternatives, if any, the Service should consider, as well as the costs and benefits of those alternatives, paying specific attention to the effect of the rule on small entities?
12. How could the proposed rule be modified to reduce any costs or burdens for small entities consistent with the Service’s requirements? (Allow for interstate trade in captive bred animals to continue.)
13. Why we should or should not include hybrids of the nine constrictor species analyzed in this rule, and if the hybrids possess the same biological characteristics as the parent species.
USARK is investing thousands of dollars challenging this “Rule Change.” We have hired an independent economist to do an economic assessment of the reptile industry. We have hired an attorney in anticipation of the need to file a lawsuit against the USFWS. We are doing extensive scientific research to counter the poor work USGS has done.
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