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RE: Mr. Mike Rochford

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Posted by: Mike_Rochford at Mon Feb 15 20:41:02 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Mike_Rochford ]  

Mr. Rochford,
This is a statement that you made in another thread here in the Burm Forum on Kingsnake.

"I hope everyone understands the delay and knows we're not trying to hide anything to get the legislation passed. I don't even want the legislation to pass.


Because, I feel you deserve some benefit of the doubt, I will not call you a liar, but I will say, I find your statement hard to believe.

I happen to know one of the individuals that you have spoke of here in the Burm Forum and you work to some degree with this person. (He has not spoken in this forum, so I will not say which person it is, but if he does speak, he will then open himself up to the firing squad as you have.) The person that I speak of is totally against the ownership of the big snakes and he is in on all of these studies. He is very influential in the community, and is well respected. Funny thing is, this person has owned a lot of different snakes throughout the years.

If your claim is true, that you don't want to see this legislation pass, then why is all of the media so negative and biased? Everything that I have seen or heard, whether written, said, sugested, implied, documented, accused, acuired, imagined, speculated, or what have you has always been against the snakes, ownership of the snakes, personal rights, reptile owners in general, and a complete disrespect to the reptile community as a whole. Why is that?

I will give you my opinion. You as well as the others in all of these studies have to answer to someone. You and those you answer to all have their own opinion, so all of your documentation is going to conform to your biased opinion. You and others like you want to deliberately put fear into the general public to further the cause of banning the big snakes. If this were not true you and your colleages would do something to change the public perseption that these big snakes are bad and they are going to invade the country and eat or kill everything in their path.

Do you Mr. Rochford, or any of your colleages, employers, or institutions recieve any money from any of the animals rights groups? I would be willing to bet that someone somewhere does.

If you are for the ownership of these snakes you have not shown that to be true. Why can't you and others like you speak publically about the truth and the reality of the situation. You and others like you know and have known that these snakes cannot live in cold climates, yet you constently allow bad press to scare and form negative opinions in the general public.

Hurricane Andrew released most of those big snakes and you and others like you know it. But you and others like you continue to portray it as being irresponsible snake owners. Not one person has been caught releasing a Burm into the Everglades, but it has been proven that Hurricane Andrew destroyed reptile businesses and all types of structures that housed Burmes and other wildlife, therefore releasing these animals into the wild.

Why can't you people start making press appearences telling people that they don't need to worry about a giant snake invasion? If you and others like you don't start telling the truth, there is only one answer as to why, it's because you don't want the truth to be known.

I very carefully said "I" don't want the legislation to pass but "we" are not hiding anything to try to get it to pass. OBVIOUSLY some of the python researchers want it to pass because they have testified at the congressional hearings. But NOBODY is hiding anything, even the people that want it to pass. And I was assured today that the data will be made available before this whole legal battle ends. I know most of you guys (or maybe all of you) don't trust me but if anyone does I hope that puts your mind at ease a little bit.

In regard to the media... I can't say that I've ever been asked about anything political in front of the cameras. From me they usually want to know what they eat, what their movements are, any interesting stories I have, and things like that. I have very little interaction with the media. In my 4 years here we've done 3 TV shows out of an insane number of requests for people to film with us. I think the worst thing you'll be able to find me say is that P. sebae are a little more aggressive than P. molurus. I kinda wish I hadn't said that but I can't really say it's untrue either. If someone with a camera had ever asked me what I think about the range maps I would tell them what I have stated here... I don't think they will go as far as the Rodda map but they will probably go farther than the Pyron map (and I'm open to the possibility of being wrong about that). People never ask me that though. And there are scientists on the record saying pythons won't make it as far as the Rodda map. Their names are Alex Pyron and Frank Burbrink (among others). The problem is that unless Gordon Rodda says "hey guys, I was wrong" it doesn't really matter what anyone else says. But when a production company is putting together a tv show and they see the Pyron map and the Rodda map which one do you think they are going to put on the program? Which one do you think sounds more interesting? It's not a decision for me to make. It's not a decision for my boss to make. Or Skip. It's up to the producer of the show.... and you know he's going to choose the Rodda map because it's more interesting to more people.

I am right here in public saying I don't want the ban to pass so I don't know what you want from me. I have no control over which tv shows I'm involved in or what those people want to know from me and I especially have no control over what they use/don't use from what I have told them. I don't want to make people afraid of snakes. I've spent my whole life trying to the opposite. I worked as a camp counselor in high school and college and I couldn't begin to tell you the number of kids I tried to influence in a positive way toward snakes. And my favorite snakes are rattlesnakes so I've always been trying to conserve them and teach people that they're not evil creatures that are out to kill you and it's always been an uphill battle because that group of snakes isn't exactly the most popular among non-herp people.

Our funding sources are public information that you can find online. I believe that is true for all the other python researchers too since they are government agencies. We've never accepted any money from animal rights groups. Personally, I hate those groups and think they are a joke (and they are giving us a bad name).

I've never said that Hurricane Andrew did not cause the pythons to escape. I've only said that it doesn't even matter whether it did or not because it's still not acceptable that the snakes got loose. The source is still the pet trade. We need to get past that argument and start being more careful with our animals. And you would seriously have to be an idiot to get caught releasing anything in the Everglades. That place is huge and very poorly monitored by law enforcement. Not that it matters. I have literally seen a ball python crawl out of a crack in the wall of a reptile dealership so let's please not deny that there is a problem. Let's try to fix it ourselves so they government doesn't try to do it for us.

Like I've said before, I don't need to be here posting on this forum. I'm honestly trying to help make things better. I understand why everyone is upset and I know when I was younger I had a HUGE problem with authority. I probably still do. When I moved to college and out from the control of my parents I FINALLY assembled a decent venomous collection (~20 snakes) just to have the animal control show up within a couple weeks and some IDIOT lady that knows nothing about snakes tell me that I can't keep them. Somebody that knows LESS than me is telling me what I can/can't do with MY animals. That pissed me off to no end and I still hold a grudge and have a problem with how stupid people in this country are. To add insult to injury, the lady was afraid of bats so she asked my roommate and I to help her any time she got a bat call. I was stupid enough to help and I still lost all my animals. I feel your pain. But I'm not a liar and I'm not out to destroy what you guys are clearly very passionate about. It's not me. But I do think we need to come up with some changes that will probably require some compromise. I think regulations at the state level are probably necessary. It's just the reality of the situation. There's no way to deny that MANY people in this country do care about the environment/invasive species/endangered species/etc. and it's not acceptable to keep allowing non-native species to become established. That's just the way it is and no amount of fighting is going to change that so we need to think of the best possible compromise.



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