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HR 669 to ban interstate travel

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Posted by: Katrina at Mon Apr 13 22:09:08 2009  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Katrina ]  
   

Do you have a rodent, BIRD, ferret, turtle, lizard, hermit crab, fish, or snake of any kind as a pet or help find homes for them? If so, the following federal bill could make it impossible for you to transport your pet across state lines - this includes your finches, parakeets, ferrets, tortoises, iguanas, and guinea pigs.

CONGRESSIONAL HEARING BANNING NONNATIVE SPECIES APRIL 23

ON April 23rd 2009 The Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. Congress will hold a hearing on H.R. 669, a resolution that will in effect ban importation, INTERSTATE TRANSPORT, and the private possession of most birds, small mammals, reptiles, and fish as pets. Should HR669 be adopted as written only the following non-native animals would be allowed:

> > any cat (Felis catus)
> > cattle or oxen (Bos taurus)
> > chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus)
> > dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
> > donkey or ass (Equus asinus)
> > domesticated members of the family Anatidae (geese)
> > duck (domesticated Anas spp.)
> > goat (Capra aegagrus hircus)
> > goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus)
> > horse (Equus caballus)
> > llama (Lama glama)
> > mule or hinny (Equus caballus x E. asinus)
> > pig or hog (Sus scrofa domestica)
> > domesticated varieties of rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
> > sheep (Ovis aries)
> >
Should this resolution be adopted into law as written it will have a devastating impact on every pet owner in the United States. Action is needed TODAY to protect your rights to keep your pets!

THE ISSUE

The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669), introduced by Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) Chair of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife of the House Natural Resources Committee would totally revamp how nonnative species are regulated under the Lacey Act.

Currently, the Fish and Wildlife Service is required to demonstrate that a species is injurious to health and welfare of humans, the interests of agriculture, horticulture or forestry, and the welfare and survival of wildlife resources of the U.S.

HR 669 substantially complicates that process by compelling the Service to produce two lists after conducting a risk assessment for each nonnative wildlife species to determine if it is likely to "cause economic or environmental harm or harm to other animal species' health or human health." In order to be placed on the "Approved List" it must be established that the species has not, or is not likely, to cause "harm" anywhere in the US. Species that are considered potentially harmful would be placed on an "Unapproved List." Furthermore, HR 669 would essentially ban all species that do not appear on the Approved List, regardless of whether or not they have ever been petitioned for listing or are sufficiently well studied to enable a listing determination.

Species not appearing on the "Approved List" could not be imported into the United States; therefore, all unapproved nonnative species could not be moved interstate. In addition, trade in all such unlisted species would come to a halt - possession would be limited and all breeding would cease. Unless those species are included on the approved list import, export, transport, and breeding would be prohibited. Exceptions are limited and would not be available to pet owners across the nation.

THE IMPACT

Non-native species in the pet trade encompass virtually every bird, reptile, fish and a number of mammals (e.g., hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, FERRETS) commonly kept as pets. It is immaterial under HR 669 that:

- The vast majority of these nonnative species in the pet trade have been in the United States in large numbers for decades, some for hundreds of years, and have not proven to be an environmental problem.
- Only a small number of species kept as pets have caused environmental problems, and this has generally been on a very localized basis (i.e. southern Florida, Hawaii).
- Most states have exercised their authority to regulate problem species within their own borders through a mixture of management regimes ranging from permit systems to bans.
- The HR 669 listing criteria mandates proving a negative " that no harm has or is likely to occur within whole of the entire United States.
- The "risk assessment" process is too limited in scope and application and should instead be a a broader "risk analysis" that also takes into consideration socio-economic factors and mitigation (management) measures that might be utilized by the federal and state agencies.

HR 669 would employ a 2-step process of a Preliminary and a Final Approved List along with the Services having to promulgate regulations not only to deal with creation of the lists but also regulating all aspects of this rather complex bill. The Service would have to complete major portions of the list and regulation process within 24 months of passage. Imagine how the Service will be able to conduct the required risk assessment outlined in HR 669 within these timeframes when it takes on average 4 years for the Service to find a species harmful under the current Lacey Act. The bill sets up the under-resourced Service for failure and numerous lawsuits by activist groups.


   

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