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General Legislative Discussions Any general discussion concerning legislative issues or events. Not necessarily specific to a particular region, or even a type of animal group.

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Old 05-02-2017, 09:20 PM   #21
Regardless its a start and big win

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Old 05-22-2017, 02:33 AM   #22
USARK update:

Read below or at

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) interpretation that injurious listings under the Lacey Act, one of the nation’s oldest conservation laws, banned interstate commerce was tossed out by a federal court, in a ruling made on April 7th, 2017. In a case brought by us, the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the law does not prohibit movement of animals listed as “injurious” among the 49 continental states. Although the case was specific to the FWS Lacey Act listing of eight non-native snake species, the final decision will reverse years of agency regulatory overreach regarding all listed species.

USARK’s case revolved around the interpretation of amendments made to the law in 1960. Congress banned import of injurious species into the “United States” broadly, as well as barring “shipments between the continental United States, Hawaii,” or other districts, possessions, and territories. Congress was addressing FWS concerns about invasive mongoose in Hawaii reaching the mainland or other territories.

Not until the 1980s did the FWS assert authority to prohibit all interstate shipments. Ours was the first case to challenge this interpretation, likely because the snake listing was the first to impact animals long and widely kept under human care. In ruling against the agency, the appellate court found that the law “continues to mean what it has meant since its enactment: it prohibits the shipment of injurious species between the listed jurisdictions, including to and from the continental United States, but it does not speak to shipments between the 49 continental States.”

Some environmental organizations, prominently the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Invasive Species Prevention, warn this decision could have negative consequences. USARK’s attorney and architect of the case, Shaun Gehan of Gehan Law, LLC, notes that the Lacey Act supports states by federally enforcing their environmental laws, including those banning possession or trade in species deemed to threaten local ecosystems.

With respect to the listing, we would like to again make clear an obvious point. The fact is that only a few counties in southern Florida, where Burmese pythons unfortunately became established decades ago as a result of Hurricane Andrew, and perhaps a small part of south coastal Texas, have potential temperature ranges allowing these snakes to survive year-round. The Lacey Act listing was an appalling overreach, impacting snake owners, breeders, and hobbyists throughout the other 99% of the U.S. where these animals cannot possibly survive.

Additionally, it takes much more than a temperature range matching the species’ native range in order for it to survive and establish a population. Suggested habitat ranges must also have available prey species, shelter, water, lack of human interference, and other conditions. Note that Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa already prohibit importation and ownership of non-native reptiles due to their climates, and are thus unaffected by either the listing, or the recent ruling.

Gehan believes this decision is a positive for FWS and the country. “The agency’s interpretation has caused problems for water districts in states like Texas with pumping systems from transboundary sources. It has also hurt aquaculture. This decision allows states to tailor regulatory programs to address real threats and working with partners to develop controls without fear of disruptive federal intervention.” Among other things, it will allow a fishery to develop for invasive Asian carp that have been threatening waterways throughout the country.

Final judgment in the case has not yet been entered, pending a decision by the government to either appeal or seek a rehearing in the matter.* Once the ruling is final, the remainder of the case challenging the decision to list the eight species of constrictor snakes will return to the lower court. This remains a time to continue conducting ourselves as a responsible reptile community and for proper self-policing of those acting otherwise.

Our newsletter following the ruling can be read at

* The decision by the Court of Appeals will not become final until seven days after the period to seek a rehearing expires, assuming that the government does not move for a rehearing. In that case, the order will be entered on May 30, 2017, or 52 days after the decision was rendered, meaning the continental interstate shipping ban can no longer be enforced by FWS.

Details on Court Ruling

If you missed it, we highlighted some details of the ruling on our website including pertinent dates. You can find that information at

Constrictor snakes listed as injurious

The eight species of constrictor snakes currently listed as “injurious” under the Lacey Act are below. (Note that Indian and Burmese pythons were subspecies at the time of listing, but were later elevated to full species. This means the eight species have become nine.)

Indian python (Python molorus)
Burmese python (Python bivittatus)
Yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
Northern African rock python (Python sebae)
Southern African rock python (Python natalensis)
DeSchauensee’s anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei)
Beni anaconda (Eunectes beniensis)
Reticulated python (Python reticulatus AKA Broghammerus reticulatus and Malayopython reticulatus)
Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
Old 05-28-2017, 11:03 PM   #23
Today's update has a lot of great information, including a keeper code of ethics and sample buyer agreements.

Lawsuit Update, Responsible Herpetoculture, Shipping and More

By USARK on May 28, 2017

If you are a reptile and amphibian enthusiast who has been spending time under a rock (which actually is not too uncommon if you are a field herper), USARK was successful in quashing the overreach demonstrated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) when taking federal action to unjustly ban the interstate transportation of snake species commonly kept by reptile aficionados. The Court ruled in contradiction to the FWS interpretation of the Lacey Act. While FWS claimed that listing species as injurious banned not only the importation into the U.S., but also the interstate transportation of those species, the Court disagreed and plainly stated, “We agree with ARK.”

We filed our lawsuit in late 2013, and carried the course to a rightful ruling. There does remain our challenge on the listing the constrictor snake species as injurious, and we shall post updates as they are available.

Shipping of species listed as injurious between the continental states, including species of constrictor snakes and salamanders, can lawfully begin again this week (May 30). Note that any shipments must still abide by current state and local laws.

Before selling and shipping these species, especially the constrictor snakes, we ask that you review all the information supplied in this newsletter. While the husbandry of large constrictors is well understood and keeping them under human care is not a problem for individuals with the capacity and resources to do so, these are still species that are not suitable for novice and unprepared reptile keepers.

Keeping these snakes should not be taken lightly. Anyone keeping large constrictors should realize how large the animals may get, how much they will eat, how much they will cost to keep, how large an enclosure will be needed, how long they will live, and other all aspects of their care. Impulse buys of any animals should be prevented and avoided, for the sake of the animals, and the sake of reptile keepers everywhere. If you cannot afford or do not have the desire to provide appropriate housing, veterinary care, and all other high expenses associated with keeping these snakes, or any animal for that matter, you should not bring one into your home.

Also, please be aware of the market for these large snakes, and respect that it has not magically multiplied. There will always be a limited market for these species comprised of dedicated keepers. It is our responsibility to self-police and present ourselves as a professional community. We must do our best to educate prospective buyers and be sure they are willing to humanely care for these animals their entire lives.

USARK has prevailed and we did it for all the responsible keepers who unjustly lost their freedom to continue appreciating these animals. Despite the naysayers, detractors, and even grossly over-funded and fraudulent animal rights groups all fighting against us, we got it done and earned the principled ruling from the Court. Now it is up to the herpetocultural community to behave admirably and responsibly.

We appreciate the support of those who made this possible over the last four years, and look forward to witnessing the continued professional conduct we know triumphs in our community. Thank you, Reptile Nation!
Old 05-28-2017, 11:09 PM   #24
Reptiles 101
:? party::
Old 05-29-2017, 08:03 PM   #25
Dyscophus antongilii
Originally Posted by Reptiles 101 View Post
:? party::
and . On a serious note, that is fantastic!! I am thrilled with USARK, as per usual.
Old 05-29-2017, 08:22 PM   #26
This is awesome. I only keep snakes that I can handle alone, but I love the big snakes and admire those who have the ability to properly care for them. To all who this ban has affected personally, I'm really happy to see you get this relief! (Full disclosure: I'm a USARK member)
Old 06-01-2017, 02:15 PM   #27
I am totally ecstatic. (I was worried about inbreeding on top of constraints for buying/selling.)
Old 06-03-2017, 11:37 PM   #28
Can we ship Radiated Tortoises across state lines now?

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