USARK Update: July 2, 2014
July 2, 2014
Update on reptile legislation throughout the United States.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is doing very little to help dogs and cats, although their misleading advertising would have you believe otherwise. Instead, they have been busy spreading propaganda and HSUS President Wayne Pacelle is even asking HSUS followers to join in and lie to the U.S. Government by sending their sample letter. If HSUS commits such actions publicly, imagine what they are telling politicians behind closed doors to influence public policy and remove your freedoms.
If you donated $100 to HSUS, less than $1 went to help animals. HSUS spends less than 1% of their $170 million annual revenue toward animal welfare. Instead, they spend your donation dollars for lobbying to push their anti-pet and anti-agriculture agenda. The HSUS agenda should concern farmers, all pet owners (including those with dogs and cats), hunters, fishermen, and anyone who does not want to be forced into a vegan lifestyle. They believe animals should not be pets or companions, and that animals should not be utilized in education or cancer treatment research. They want animals completely removed from our lives. If their attack continues to succeed, Americans will lose freedoms. Can you imagine an America without milk, eggs, family barbecues, leather shoes, hamburgers, Thanksgiving turkey and fishing trips? The animal rights groups can.
There is a plan to abolish all interaction between humans and animals by HSUS and many other groups, such as PETA. This is the animal rights (AR) movement. It is real and it is gaining strength. Educate yourself. Educate others. Protect your freedoms.
Volumes could be written concerning their deceitful advertising, 501(c)(3) non-profit status being challenged by U.S. Congress, the vast majority of their budget going to advertising, lobbying and payroll, claiming to care for animals with whom they have no interaction, etc. For now, let’s just look at one incoherent recent blog post by Wayne Pacelle. The HSUS sample letter, which they ask their followers to send, is filled with falsehoods. There is so much disinformation in just this one HSUS post, it’s impossible to fathom the amount of fiction spread by HSUS.
Why is HSUS misinforming the public? Their deceptive campaign continues because there is not valid, peer-reviewed science to support their claims. They lack credible arguments and instead focus on sensationalized propaganda.
Note: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study mentioned by HSUS to list species of constrictor snakes as injurious under the Lacey Act was not peer-reviewed and is not accepted by the scientific community as valid. A panel of 11 herpetologists (zoologists who study reptiles and amphibians) and other scientists criticized the report for being “unscientific and not suitable as the basis for legislative or regulatory policy.” However, it was still used to decide public policy. Is this unconstitutional? Indeed it is.
Reason for the HSUS blog post: Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reopened the comment period for the listing of five additional species of snakes as injurious. This restriction on pets is pushed by HSUS on Capitol Hill. It would negatively affect tens of thousands of pet owners, harm animal welfare, end conservation and education efforts, and destroy many family-owned businesses, leaving many people without jobs. HSUS immediately began a campaign asking their followers to send erroneous information to the U.S. Government to support the removal of these species as pets in America. The HSUS campaign is also filled will deliberate statements about boa and python behavior meant to cause hysteria. These statements demonstrate HSUS wants to spread fear and panic rather than the truth about these snakes. The original HSUS postings are copied at the bottom of this message. Learn more at www.usark.org/2014-blog/constrictor-rule-1/.
In you feel this may be false information presented to serve our purposes, visit these websites:
Below are quotes (falsities) from HSUS propaganda followed by facts:
"Boa constrictors -- the most popular in the pet trade -- have predictably established more invasive populations than any of the other constrictor snakes"
FACT: There is only one population (Deering Estate, south of Miami). This population is reportedly the result of release or escape of boas during a movie set in the 1960s. Regardless of the cause, it has been noted since the 1970s and in over 40 years, the snakes have not moved outside of this original parcel. They are struggling to survive on this small tract of land and have not “invaded” to form other populations. Also, Boa constrictors of the subspecies Boa constrictor imperator are native into the Sonoran Desert of northern Mexico. If they could be invasive into a large area of the U.S., they would be here now.
"Boa constrictors have killed one adult and injured numerous children -- biting them in the face, ambushing them while playing in their yards, and even attacking them while sleeping in their beds."
FACT: Boa constrictors have not been documented "ambushing them [children] while playing in their yards.” There have been sensationalized stories and misidentified snakes that were actually native species, which still would not have ambushed anyone. While bites from snakes do occur, any animal, including humans, may defend themselves if they feel threatened or are handled inappropriately.
"boa constrictors have also been killing people's companion animals."
FACT: There have not been any documented cases of feral Boa constrictors killing people’s pets.
"Constrictor snakes can attack suddenly and with deadly force, preying on unsuspecting people who encounter someone’s escaped or released constrictor snake"
FACT: Constrictor snakes are not in the U.S. "preying on unsuspecting people." All incidents involving constrictor snakes occurred within the owner's property. Even USGS (a Government science organization) recently published an article stating that no tourists in the Everglades have been attacked by pythons. There is unfortunately a population of Burmese pythons there as a result of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The pythons in southern Florida are not the result of irresponsible pet owners driving from all over the country to release their pets into the Everglades.
“Boa constrictors and reticulated pythons have already killed five adults and three babies, and the danger continues to escalate.”
FACT: There have been 3 total deaths reportedly from Reticulated pythons and Boa constrictors.* All three deaths were to adults and they were the owners of the snakes. One case involved a woman giving a 14’ Reticulated python a shot (administering medication) without assistance. The Boa-related death was very odd as reportedly there was another adult on site and in the same room. Boas do not get nearly large enough to be uncontrollable for two adults. All three deaths happened in the households where the animals lived and resulted from improper handling of the animals. The other deaths from large constrictors involved Burmese pythons or African Rock pythons, not Boa constrictors or Reticulated pythons. All these species have very different behavioral qualities and each is unique. Just like people, even individual animals have varying “personalities.”
*NOTE: There have been 10 constrictor snake-related deaths in the U.S. since 1990. At least one case has been noted as potentially fraudulent (i.e. the snake did not kill the person). No case occurred outside the household/facility that housed the snake. All incidents reported are tragedies, as are all premature and accidental deaths.
“Boa constrictors, the most popular of the nine large constrictor snakes in the pet trade, are predators who can grow up to 13 feet long…”
FACT: Most Boa constrictors in captivity are 5-8’ (males are much smaller than females) and weigh less than 25 pounds. Boas over 10’ in captivity are rare. Often reports of 10’ snakes (of any species) only measure about 7’. The record length snakes were in the wild, and were not captive bred and raised animals. Boa constrictor constrictor (BCC) is the largest of the 9 subspecies of Boa constrictor and they are not common as pets. By far, the most common pet subspecies is Boa constrictor imperator (BCI), which is found from northern Colombia through Central America to northern Mexico. Many populations in Central America and Mexico only reach 4-5’ in length.
“They die during capture and transport.”
FACT: This implies that these snakes are all wild-caught animals imported into the country. Nearly all large species of constrictor snakes are born and bred in the U.S. Very few animals are imported and even many of those are from breeders in other countries, not wild-caught animals.
"One study showed that Burmese pythons in the Everglades may have contributed to a 99 percent decrease in the numbers of certain small- to medium-sized mammals."
FACT: This study was not able to link Burmese pythons with the decline in mammal populations and very unscientific assumptions were made.
$35,000 RAACA Raffle
Deadline to enter is July 4th at 6:00 PM EST. One person will win over $35,000 in prizes! Buy tickets and check out what you can win at www.raaca.net. 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.
Daytona National Reptile Breeders' Expo
This show celebrates it's 25th anniversary in 2014! It happens August 15-17 in Daytona, FL. Thanks to show promoter Wayne Hill, the NRBE auction has raised $100,000 to benefit USARK. NRBE auctions have benefited many other organizations and conservation efforts, too. Get more details at www.reptilebreedersexpo.com.
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.
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.
Midwest Herpetological Symposium: October 17-19 in Indianapolis, IN. Discount for registration before Sept. 1. Get more details at www.hoosierherpsoc.org/pdf/SymposiumBrochure.pdf.
Reptile Super Show: August 9-10 in Pomona, CA. Get more details at www.reptilesupershow.com/los-angeles.
Click to purchase tickets and get more information.
View this on our website at www.usark.org/2014-blog/hsus-wants-americans-to-lie-to-the-u-s-government/.
Wayne Pacelle’s Blog post:
Time to Tighten Grip on Imports of Constricting Snakes
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is rightly looking to finish up a job it left incomplete over two years ago – examining whether five species of large, non-native constricting snakes, all judged by the U.S. Geological Survey to be an ecological threat, should be listed as “injurious” and prohibited for import or interstate trade for use as exotic pets.
In 2012, the agency listed only four species – the Burmese python, Northern African python, Southern African python, and yellow anaconda – but punted on the other five species. At the time, the reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda, Beni anaconda, and boa constrictor represented about 70 percent of the trade in large constricting snakes. It’s time for the Obama administration to finish the job, stopping a reckless trade that results in snakes dispersed in our communities and ultimately leaving a major ecological wake.
Dogs and cats were domesticated for thousands of years, and they have a place in our homes. The large constricting snakes we are talking about are wild animals, native to Africa, Asia and South America. While we agree that they are fascinating and remarkable animals, they are best suited in their native environments, and they don’t belong in the wildlife trade or in our bedrooms and basements. They die during capture and transport. In the end, too many people get them and then tire of them or realize that they do not have the resources, space and expertise to care for them properly, and release them. Some of the snakes adapt to the wild, becoming invasive species.
Boa constrictors, the most popular of the nine large constrictor snakes in the pet trade, are predators who can grow up to 13 feet long, and they can and have killed large mammals, including humans. They have now become established in Miami-Dade County and Puerto Rico, and if they become established like Burmese pythons have in south Florida, they could cost the nation tens of millions of dollars in eradication programs – to say nothing of the effect on native species of birds and small mammals, including endangered ones. One study showed that Burmese pythons in the Everglades may have contributed to a 99 percent decrease in the numbers of certain small- to medium-sized mammals.
Here at The HSUS, we have tracked more than 500 human safety incidents involving large constrictor snakes that include attacks, intentional releases and escapes from poorly secured cages. Boa constrictors and reticulated pythons have already killed five adults and three babies, and the danger continues to escalate.
But even with this full-blown problem on our hands, and stories about constrictors on the loose hurting wildlife and humans making it into the media every day, private dealers continue to trade millions of large constricting snakes via the Internet and through pet stores. Some of the stories defy belief: last year, for instance, authorities discovered 850 snakes, including a Burmese python, in the garage of a New York area animal control officer who was selling the snakes over the Internet.
Join me to ask for a final rule that will end, once and for all, the inhumane trade of these beautiful, wild creatures who do not belong in glass cages or big boxes in someone’s house, or as abandoned pets wreaking havoc in the wild.
HSUS Sample Letter to USFWS:
Keep Large Constrictor Snakes Out of the Pet Trade
In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed listing nine large constrictor snakes as injurious under the Lacey Act, which would significantly reduce the trade of these species as pets. However, in January 2012, only four of the nine species were listed. USFWS is still considering the remaining five species of snakes for listing and is soliciting public comments on the matter.
Large constrictor snakes have become established in parts of Florida and are consuming native wildlife, including endangered and threatened species. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that all nine species of these large constrictor snakes present a “high” or “medium” risk of becoming invasive.
Constrictor snakes can attack suddenly and with deadly force, preying on unsuspecting people who encounter someone’s escaped or released constrictor snake or children living in households where these snakes are kept.
HSUS Sample Letter to USFWS:
Subject line: Add all remaining large constrictor snake species to the Lacey Act
To: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Large constrictor snakes native to Africa, South America, and Asia are living in the wild, breeding, and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem, all here in the United States. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service banned the import and interstate transport of only four species of the giant constrictor snakes that the U.S. Geological Survey warned pose a serious risk to the environment. Please ban the remaining five species, including boa constrictors, which represent 60 percent of the trade in these deadly predators.
Boa constrictors -- the most popular in the pet trade -- have predictably established more invasive populations than any of the other constrictor snakes and is categorized as high risk by the USGS report. Boa constrictors have killed one adult and injured numerous children -- biting them in the face, ambushing them while playing in their yards, and even attacking them while sleeping in their beds. Established in a residential area of Florida, boa constrictors have also been killing people's companion animals. These animals are not suitable pets, they're life-threatening predators and they are dangerous to the individuals who keep them, their families, the community, and the environment
Here are the URLs to the cited internet pages at www.hsus.typepad.com: