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Thread: Good Article

  1. #1
    Registered User Maixx's Avatar
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    Good Article

    This article was posted on our local herp society forum, thought I'd share it here.

    The Herpetological Community on borrowed time?
    By Chris_Law Sun,
    November 20 2011 at 22:44

    The Herpetological Community on borrowed time?

    I'm writing this article to spark some conversation and open some thought. Whether you totally disagree with my sentiments or statements, feel free to comment and discuss. We need to get some open dialogue going, opinions and ideas formulated and a defense built up before it's too late:

    City by city, state by state, legislation seems to sweeping the nation at an alarming rate. It seems that at least once a year, the exotic animal community is faced with at least one major situation which draws a lot of negative attention to its doorstep. Some of these issues are brought on by ďexposesĒ from the Humane Society of the United States Ė aka Ė HSUS (not to be confused with your local pet shelter or humane society) and other animal rights movement organizations. However, more often than not, it is resulting from irresponsible behaviors within our own community, which get caught in the winds of news media outlets and spun out of control before the damage can be contained. The question now is, is it too late to stop the damage from spreading and more privileges being lost?

    I donít believe it is. I believe we can still save our community and what we are most passionate about. However, in order to do that, we need to come to reality and sit down with ourselves and have a heart to heart. I canít think of one person that wants the government involved in the lives of herpetoculturists and telling us what we can and cannot have. However, as time progresses and more and more comes to light about our community, I donít see it happening any other way unless we really slam the breaks and put it in reverse. The question we have to ask ourselves is who is the real enemy here? Is it the government? Is it HSUS, PETA and others? Iíll tell you who it is. Itís us. We are our own worst enemy. We have been practicing business methods that have been unsavory and unscrupulous for a long time now and itís catching up and FAST.

    It is first, very important that we all understand that what we have are not Ďrightsí to keep reptiles. It is a privilege. Consider driving a car, for example. Many think that they have a Ďrightí to drive a car. A Ďrightí is something that is afforded to you and cannot be taken away. Now, if that were true with driving a car, then that would mean that there should be no driving license requirement. There should be no insurance requirement. Failure to have those would result inÖnothing. They canít tell you to stop driving, because itís a Ďrightí. But, is that the case? If youíd like to test this theory, youíre welcomed to get drunk a couple times, get pulled over for various moving violations, and other assorted mindless acts and see how much longer you get to keep your driverís license and be able to legally drive. Also, if youíre stupid enough to really put anything I just mentioned to the test, then I really donít want you driving a car OR keeping a reptile. The same concept goes with reptiles. At one point in time in history, driverís licenses and insurance werenít even a thought. Drivers were fewer, roads were less crowded, and risks of accidents were practically nil. As time progresses, more people obtain motor vehicles, more conflicts occur and then the government has to step in, followed by driverís licenses and insurance requirements. Get the idea? What you have is a privilege and itís one you should hold dear. It seems as if the reptile community has stepped away from our roots. We have completely forgotten some of the basic principles that made this community what it is. We have evolved over time in this community, some things have come available that are interesting and new. Morphs are bred, a great many new species available, habitat systems and vivarium technology have improved drastically, and our knowledge on the husbandry requirements of our charges has developed incredibly. But, it takes more than that to keep our community out of the legislative hot seat.

    Responsibility is one of the key players in our community. Being sensible enough to make a proper judgment on what animals should be made easily available to the general public for sale, and the methods in which we make them available have a truly profound impact on how people relate to us as individuals and as a community. Unfortunately, we have a considerable number of bad apples that have decided that such practices are a waste of their time, and affect their wallet thickness. Some have decided that crocodilians (especially alligators), venomous snakes, and large constrictor snakes should be made easily available to anyone that wants them (whether youíre inexperienced, donít have a proper home setup, or are entirely too young to provide a stable home environment). Now, keep in mind, itís not everyone that does this. There are a great many responsible breeders and dealers out there, too. This isnít meant to encompass everyone. However, thereís a significant enough number of these bad apples, that itís worth mentioning and realizing that this is the source of our complications. Some might not understand what the primary issues with the 3 mentioned groups of animals. Iíll highlight those in future articles in the very near future for those who canít figure it out.

    The question is, what do we do from here? Whatís our next course of action and how do we implement it? The thing that we have to understand is that legislation in some aspect is headed your way. You might be a keeper that doesnít care to keep the above mentioned groups of animals, and keeping ball pythons and corn snakes might just be safe (for now). But, now, more than ever we have to work together. Hereís the kickerÖin order to work together, we have to find a solution. Itís within finding the solution that we begin to argue and bicker and all of the conflicts arise. So what do we do? Itís simpleÖ

    A group that is dedicated to keeping these animals and does so for the right reasons and sees the value in sensible regulations (or self-regulation!!) will probably work together to formulate a plan that would hopefully result in a similar situation such as the AZA exemption for the parties involved. A lot of people donít like the AZA. They donít like them because they feel they threw private keepers under the bus and only look out for themselves. Youíre damned right they do and they were smart to do it. Otherwise, they would be included with all of these roadside menageries and the like and would be swept up in regulations that would impact them as well. However, they canít sit around and try to fight for us, simply because we canít get our crap together. Thatís up to US to do. Thatís our job.

    For those who donít like ANY regulations at all, and prefer to go underground, thatís your choice. If you wish to take that risk and if youíre caught, get bit by your cobra, or whatever the case might be, youíre on your own. You dug your grave, now lie in it. But, as for the keepers that have established a rapport and a positive image, they will already have rules and guidelines to follow for safety of the general public, the welfare of the animals, and the education of those around them. Some will take a position stating something along the lines of, ďWell, if theyíre willing to do that, theyíre throwing us all under the bus to save themselves.Ē There would be nothing further from the truth. You were offered to get on the same bus, but you preferred to remain standing at the bus stop.

    For those willing to be proactive and make changes in our community for the better advancement of what we have to offer the world, conservation and education of our general public, rewards are there in the form of being able to keep and enjoy the animals that we love and admire. For those who wish to sit back, bicker and yell about how itís ďnot fairĒ, they will be left to wallow in their bitterness. However, I do say that the doors to the bus will remain forever open, so long as youíre willing to step up to the plate as a responsible and dedicated member of a community that has so much to offer the world.

    0.1 Wild type Bp (Eve)
    1.0 Pastel Bp (Aeries)
    0.1 Russian Ratsnake (Vasilisa)
    0.0.1 Bairds Ratsnake (Romeo)

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Virus's Avatar
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    Very good read, and I do agree for the most part. Honestly, I'd be fine with having to get a permit to own reptiles. Perhaps there would be less poorly taken care of herps in our community.
    1.0 Common Snapping Turtle
    1.0 Bearded Dragon
    1.2 Ball pythons
    1.4 Western Hognose
    1.0 Dumerils Boa
    0.3 Leopard Geckos

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