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  1. #1
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    UPDATE: HR2811 Hearing Recap

    On Friday, November the 6th at 10:00 am the USARK delegation consisting of Andrew Wyatt, Dr. Elliott Jacobson, Michael Cole, Frank Vitello and Todd Willens attended the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Sub Committee for Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Hearing on HR 2811 aka ‘The Python Ban’. Chairman of the Committee was Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA). The ranking member was Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Co-sponsor of the bill, Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) was also in attendance. The expert witnesses giving testimony in support of HR 2811 were the bills' sponsor, Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Dan Ash, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Nancy Perry, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and George Horne, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Testifying in opposition to HR 2811 was Andrew Wyatt, President USARK and Dr. Elliott Jacobson, Professor of Zoological Medicine, University of Florida.
    Testimony went very much as expected, with HSUS and SFWMD calling for an end to the reptile industry, suggesting that all nine snakes addressed in the recent U.S Geologic Survey (USGS) report be added by amendment to HR 2811. That would include all four anaconda species, the two African pythons, Burmese python, reticulated python and Boa Constrictor. The surprising testimony was given by USFWS when they also called for the addition of all nine snakes to the bill citing their lack of expertise and ability to complete the evaluation of Boa, Python and Eunectes already underway and due to be completed by 2010.

    Andrew Wyatt testified to the negative economic impact and loss of jobs that would occur if HR 2811 were to pass illustrating that the trade in reptiles is about 3 billion dollars annually and would effect on over 5 million Americans and thousands of small businesses. He also pointed out the fact that this bill is not only about import, but the approximately 4 million animals in captivity in the United States. HR 2811 makes absolutely no provisions for what would happen to the millions of animals already in captivity. Additionally he commented that this issue has been over sensationalized and politicized sacrificing good policy and science for political expediency. The premise for making drastic changes to HR 2811 was predicated on the recent USGS report which failed to make the case that proponents had hoped for.

    Dr. Elliott Jacobson testified that the USGS report was riddled with uncertainty and referred to it as a “gray paper”. Dr. Jacobson noted that the paper was filled with errors, inaccuracies and over simplifications and had not gone through the rigorous peer review process necessary to be published in a scientific journal, but rather an internal review within USGS, thus placing it in the realm of “gray literature”

    Although some members of the committee were overly aggressive in their questioning of Andrew Wyatt, Chairman Scott, Ranking member Gohmert and Representatives Rooney and Goodlatte were earnest and inquisitive in their questions and attempt to see all sides. USARK was able to make a strong case for the Reptile Nation. No decisions have been made as to how HR 2811 will move forward. USARK continues to have close contact with key members and committee staff in order to insure the best interest of the reptile community.

    ***All in all it was a very tough hearing, but this is not over by a long shot. This is the time for the Reptile Nation to come together as never before. We still have the ability to have real influence on the outcome. Join USARK! There is Strength in Numbers... Protect Your Rights. The Reptile Nation needs you now as never before. DO NOT GIVE UP!!! The Reptile Nation will prevail.

    Click here to read individual testimony. Then click the name of the witness.

    Click here to see the Webcast. It is in two pieces.
    Specialty Serpents

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    Danounet (11-09-2009)

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