NO MORE HOBBY IN USA READ VERY IMPORTANT

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by lance, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. lance

    lance Wonderpus Registered

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    Did you know that it may soon be illegal to even have an aquarium in your home???



    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-669&tab=summary



    Insane, huh? Please read the following and contact your local representative about this.



    “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 ownership of most birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish (as well as all other aquatic organisms such as corals and other invertebrates, and non-native aquatic plants) as pets.”



    Please write to your representative and help put an end to this insane ban on our hobby!!!

    You can find your representative here http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml

    And please also read below for the full information about this.






    H.R. 669 - The end of Aquariums?!

    Good morning All,

    Forgive me if you've rec'd this information from other sources; I felt compelled to ensure that as many people as possible were made aware of what's going on, just in case.

    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 ownership of most birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish (as well as all other aquatic organisms such as corals and other invertebrates, and non-native aquatic plants) as pets. 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. What this means to the aquatics industry is that, in essence, all trade of ornamental non-native fishes and other aquatic organisms would be banned in the not-too-distant future. The attached document (particularly pages 3 and 4) lays everything out and includes contact information for the gov't officials that are involved with the committee. Obviously, everyone needs to make contact with these people, because complacency on our parts could very well lead to their passing this into law.

    Should HR669 be adopted as written only the following nonnative animals would be allowed:

    any cat (Felis catus)
    cattle or oxen (Bos taurus)
    chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus)
    dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
    donkey or *** (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)

    Again, I apologize if this information has already crossed your desk. In the event that you were unaware of this situation, please pass the information along to your industry and personal contacts, including manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, their employees (who would all find themselves out of a job), and aquarium enthusiasts.

    Kindest regards,

    Ralph C Cabage III





    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 [harmful] to the 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, nor could they be moved in interstate commerce. Trade in all such unlisted species would come to a halt - possession would be limited and all breeding would have to cease.

    To reiterate: Unless 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
    Nonnative species in the pet trade encompass virtually every bird, reptile, amphibian, 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.
    · Numerous species are raised in the United States for many purposes: pets, recreational fishing and hunting, food, etc.
    · 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.

    HR669 - April 2, 2009 Revised 2
    · The HR 669 listing criteria mandates proving a negative - that no harm has or is likely to occur within whole of the United States.
    · The "risk assessment" process is too limited in scope and application and should instead be 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 and necessitate that the Service 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 listing and regulation process within 24 months of passage. It is not clear how the Service will be able to conduct the required risk assessment outlined in HR 669 within these time frames given the fact that 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.







    RECOMMENDATIONS - TIME IS NOW!
    According to the Defenders of Wildlife "For far too long the pet, aquarium and other industries have imported live animals to the United States without regard to their harm..." Defenders, the Humane Society of the United States
    (HSUS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are part of a coalition pushing hard for passage of this bill without amendments.

    A HEARING has been scheduled for April 23 and the pet industry needs to be heard loud and clear prior to the hearing! The anti-trade elements are hard at work to stop activities involving non-native species. A copy of HR 669 can be found on PIJAC's website in the "Breaking News" and the "HR669 Forum" sections of the www.pijac.org. Read the bill carefully since it could shut down major segments of the pet industry virtually overnight.

    PIJAC POSITION -- PIJAC supports the underlying intent of HR 669 to establish a risk-based process in order to prevent the introduction of potentially invasive species. It has been clear for quite some time that steps are needed to enhance and improve the current listing process for species shown to be injurious under the Lacey Act. In addition to much needed appropriations to fund staff and other ancillary support aids, the Lacey Act needs to be modernized to make the process more timely, efficient, and transparent. However, HR 669 falls far short of accomplishing this objective.

    CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE (click on the link below to find contact information for you district) by
    · emailing or faxing your opposition to HR 669 to their offices in Washington DC urging them to amend the bill
    · ALSO contact their district offices: voice your opposition and request a meeting with the representative when they are back in the District
    It is also important to organize like-minded people in your district so several of you can visit with your representative at the same time.

    Click on the link below to find the List of US House Committee on Natural Resources so you can contact a representative.

    Voice Your Opinion - click here for contact info
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Sounds like a knee jerk reaction to the current problem with lion fish even though they do not know how the lion fish came to be in the Atlantic waters along the US East Coast.

    If I am reading this correctly, the proposal does not suggest that you will not be able to keep an aquarium or reptiles, just not the ones (albeit, a goodly number) that are not found here natively. Bad for the ornamental fish industries in poor countries but perhaps not so bad for the fish. Profits in a pet shop that caters to the marine hobby are slim and most stores fail if their business depends upon the saltwater hobbiest. Without imported fish, the saltwater LFS is likely to go extinct.

    Randomly thinking about the proposal, I would expect hard corals to be heavily impacted since most are illegal to havest in the US (and likely should be world wide with the current situation with reef die off). What is not quite clear is what constitues native since most aquatic creatures show some kind of difference relative to where they live.

    Fish are likely to be the most impacted marine life. It would mean no more clown fish, mandarins, lion fish and a host of others commonly kept in a saltwater aquarium.

    As for cephs, it would mean no more cuttles of any kind since there are none native and the cost of a risk study would exceed any profits (I am not sure how I feel about the proposal but the banning of captive bred is excessive in my immediate thinking). It would mean no more aculeatus (I wonder why they have disappeared from the market this year without legal efforts) but would not ban our most common residence mercatoris, bimacs, hummelincki, briareus or vulgaris.
     
  3. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    They had an aculeatus at my LFS last week- on the smaller side. Maybe a seasonal thing. This couldn't possibly cover all the TR fish and fragged corals? By this law, only my 2 cat are legal!
     
  4. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Every few years this sort of thing pops up, the whacky lobbyists from PETA or whatever get a bill written. The pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, to ban all exotics is ludicrous. Even the game and fish people are laughing at this one. What would they do, house to house searches???

    Yes, it is still a good idea to shoot off an email to whoever you have in power in your state. But, this is just another one of those stupid attempts by animal rights activists to get themselves in the news.
     
  5. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Thanks for that much needed bucket of H2O in the face of hysteria (o.k., no one's that upset, yet). In my area, outside of Metro Detroit, some of the businesses still doing well are the specialty pet stores. If nothing else, they sell the food for all the pets we bought when the economy was good. I'd hate to see that small measure of success in our struggling economy destroyed by "well meaning do- gooders!"
     
  6. Architeuthoceras

    Architeuthoceras Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    Watch out, they may sneak something in on the back of another bill like they did THIS one (select "text of legislation" down in one of the boxes, then version 2 "S.22.ES" then scroll down to "Title VI Sub-Title D"). Signed by the pres on March 30, 2009. Definitions defined by undefined terms, complete ramifications unknown, but if worse comes to worse, I am Shit out of luck. :sad:
     
  7. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Kevin, for the life of me, I can't understand "legal-ise", can you spell it out in simpler terms?

    RE: 669. It would be absolutely impossible for this bill to pass as is. It would put Petco, Petsmart, pet stores, supply stores, etc. all out of business. As well as demand a whole new department of fish and wildlife to somehow maintain the absence of pets. So, in a state of economic uncertainty, let's just close a lot of businesses?

    Personally, I agree with the heart of the matter. I do not think we should import any wild animals at all. There are enough captive bred to solve the needs of the general public. If you were that interested in dealing with some unknown creature, get a degree, and work at the university.

    Of course, the broad sweeping statements of the bill are silly, to say the least. The city of Chicago tried to pass a similar law about five years ago, and it was laughed out of session.
     
  8. Architeuthoceras

    Architeuthoceras Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    My comments in red

    Subtitle D--Paleontological Resources Preservation


    SEC. 6301. DEFINITIONS.


    • In this subtitle:

      • (1) CASUAL COLLECTING- The term `casual collecting' means the collecting of a reasonable amount of common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources for non-commercial personal use, either by surface collection or the use of non-powered hand tools resulting in only negligible disturbance to the Earth's surface and other resources. As used in this paragraph, the terms `reasonable amount', `common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources' and `negligible disturbance' shall be determined by the Secretary.
    Do I have 1 more than a reasonable amount? Are the fossils I collect common? If I donate a fossil to a university does that mean I collected it for non-personal use? If I pick up a rock with a fossil in it, it leaves a hole, is the hole negligible disturbance? I have to wait until these terms are defined before I know if I am breaking the law.

      • (2) FEDERAL LAND- The term `Federal land' means--

        • (A) land controlled or administered by the Secretary of the Interior, except Indian land; or

        • (B) National Forest System land controlled or administered by the Secretary of Agriculture.

      • (3) INDIAN LAND- The term `Indian Land' means land of Indian tribes, or Indian individuals, which are either held in trust by the United States or subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States.

      • (4) PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCE- The term `paleontological resource' means any fossilized remains, traces, or imprints of organisms, preserved in or on the earth's crust, that are of paleontological interest and that provide information about the history of life on earth, except that the term does not include--

        • (A) any materials associated with an archaeological resource (as defined in section 3(1) of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (16 U.S.C. 470bb(1)); or

        • (B) any cultural item (as defined in section 2 of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (25 U.S.C. 3001)).

      • (5) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior with respect to land controlled or administered by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to National Forest System land controlled or administered by the Secretary of Agriculture.

      • (6) STATE- The term `State' means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any other territory or possession of the United States.
    SEC. 6302. MANAGEMENT.


    • (a) In General- The Secretary shall manage and protect paleontological resources on Federal land using scientific principles and expertise. The Secretary shall develop appropriate plans for inventory, monitoring, and the scientific and educational use of paleontological resources, in accordance with applicable agency laws, regulations, and policies. These plans shall emphasize interagency coordination and collaborative efforts where possible with non-Federal partners, the scientific community, and the general public.

    • (b) Coordination- To the extent possible, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture shall coordinate in the implementation of this subtitle.
    SEC. 6303. PUBLIC AWARENESS AND EDUCATION PROGRAM.


    • The Secretary shall establish a program to increase public awareness about the significance of paleontological resources.
    SEC. 6304. COLLECTION OF PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES.


    • (a) Permit Requirement-

      • (1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this subtitle, a paleontological resource may not be collected from Federal land without a permit issued under this subtitle by the Secretary.

      • (2) CASUAL COLLECTING EXCEPTION- The Secretary may allow casual collecting without a permit on Federal land controlled or administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Forest Service, where such collection is consistent with the laws governing the management of those Federal land and this subtitle.
    I think the "may allow" has been replaced with "shall allow"

      • (3) PREVIOUS PERMIT EXCEPTION- Nothing in this section shall affect a valid permit issued prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

    • (b) Criteria for Issuance of a Permit- The Secretary may issue a permit for the collection of a paleontological resource pursuant to an application if the Secretary determines that--

      • (1) the applicant is qualified to carry out the permitted activity;
    In the past only those with a degree have been issued permits and it was only needed for vertebrate fossils, now it includes invertebrates, plants and even trace fossils, this only leaves me to casually collect unless I go with someone with a permit which up to now has been two or three times a year.

      • (2) the permitted activity is undertaken for the purpose of furthering paleontological knowledge or for public education;

      • (3) the permitted activity is consistent with any management plan applicable to the Federal land concerned; and

      • (4) the proposed methods of collecting will not threaten significant natural or cultural resources.

    • (c) Permit Specifications- A permit for the collection of a paleontological resource issued under this section shall contain such terms and conditions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this subtitle. Every permit shall include requirements that--

      • (1) the paleontological resource that is collected from Federal land under the permit will remain the property of the United States;

      • (2) the paleontological resource and copies of associated records will be preserved for the public in an approved repository, to be made available for scientific research and public education; and

      • (3) specific locality data will not be released by the permittee or repository without the written permission of the Secretary.

    • (d) Modification, Suspension, and Revocation of Permits-

      • (1) The Secretary may modify, suspend, or revoke a permit issued under this section--

        • (A) for resource, safety, or other management considerations; or

        • (B) when there is a violation of term or condition of a permit issued pursuant to this section.

      • (2) The permit shall be revoked if any person working under the authority of the permit is convicted under section 6306 or is assessed a civil penalty under section 6307.

    • (e) Area Closures- In order to protect paleontological or other resources or to provide for public safety, the Secretary may restrict access to or close areas under the Secretary's jurisdiction to the collection of paleontological resources.
    SEC. 6305. CURATION OF RESOURCES.


    • Any paleontological resource, and any data and records associated with the resource, collected under a permit, shall be deposited in an approved repository. The Secretary may enter into agreements with non-Federal repositories regarding the curation of these resources, data, and records.

    Don't get me wrong, the law has a lot of good points in it, I'm just afraid that a lot of amateur paleontologists, who find some of the most interesting fossils and localities will stop looking (or stop reporting) if they are turned into bandits.
     
  9. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Gotcha !

    Yeah, that language needs to be changed, this is a ridiculous amount of legislation that has no bearing on anything even remotely to do with the federal lands.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Kevin,
    Trying to wade through that is not working. Does the law apply to Federal land only? I know that is a lot of property and the best spots to collect since the rest is available for human disruption but I could not tell from the gobbley-gook.
     
  11. lance

    lance Wonderpus Registered

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  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I sent a note to a collector I do web work for in the Keys and asked if he thought the concerns over the lionfish invasion sparked this and he felt that the group working on this problem had nothing to do with the bill directly (he works closely with one of the primary researchers). He did feel that the problem added fuel to the fire.
     
  13. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    I do believe the bill was written by a representative from Guam, and was mostly concerned about the Brown Tree Snake (Boiga irregularis).

    The ridiculous part is that these snakes were imported in the 70's, and are now firmly established, and yes, wiping out the native bird population.

    Talk about closing the barn door after the horse has run out of it!
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Greg, do you know if they were imported for the pet trade or for some other reason?
     
  15. blue_ringed57

    blue_ringed57 Cuttlefish Registered

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    This, to me, sounds like this bill has come around because too many irresponsible exotic pet owners of vertebrates and/or invertebrates have caused some invasive species to be released into the wild because they cannot sell them or feel that these animals should be free. Little do they know that urban areas and other climate zones are not the best for the animals. I have found salt water fish that have been dumped in a fresh water pond on my university campus; what idiot puts a salt water fish in a fresh water pond with a salmon bearing stream less than 20 meters away? This just makes me shake my head at the stupidity of people.
     
  16. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Freedom. *sigh*
     
  17. :)GlassDragon

    :)GlassDragon Blue Ring Supporter

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    Well, I'm jumping in on the tail end of this but couldn't stop myself from commenting. :banghead:
    Being the (annoyingly) detailed person that I am, I just read through H.R. 669 in it's entirety. I also read up on the Extensions of Remarks.

    IMHO, it's going to be hard to get this through. Their big focus (if you read between the lines) is the impact on nonnative species such as the brown tree snake, coqui tree frog and the coconut rhinoceros beetle. All problems for Guam - the district the rep sponsoring this bill is from. Which, BTW, she admits were all accidentally introduced but feels that we need to have laws in place to stop the intentional introduction of nonnative wildlife before it happens. She only sites four specific (without detail of three of the four) areas that have had problems; Florida Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes and Guam.
    Rep. Bardallo also stated the following:

    Nonnative plants and animals are known by scientists to have been introduced into ecosystems in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the territories. Invasive, nonnative species can harm the economy, environment, other animal species' health and human health. Such harm ranges, for example, from depreciating farmland property values and loss of irrigation water to increasing spread of disease. Additionally, collapse of buildings, competition with native animals, sport, game, and endangered species losses, habitat alteration, and other ecosystem disturbances, have all resulted from the introduction of certain invasive species.

    This is a silly argument - this has occurred over many decades. Some due to natural phenomenon, some by people over time, some by landscapers, "What beautiful species! Lets see if we can grow it back home..." and some even due to animal migration - consider their droppings :oops:
    This is an area of study that part of my dad's PhD is in. Uh, not the 'droppings' specifically...

    Also, there is already an Act in place that addresses this issue. Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to designate wildlife species considered "injurious'' to humans and prohibits importation of such species into the country. Her argument re: this not being sufficient though is also a little silly because she claims, "that to designate a species as injurious can take up to four years, at which point harm has already been done." However, you can read the deadlines http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h669/text?version=ih&nid=t0:ih:33 which all in all, fall pretty darned close to that four years Rep. Bardallo is concerned about.

    In any case, given the wide breadth of what this covers (many, many, exotics - birds, lizards, frogs, snakes, various rodents, maybe even some dogs and cats?) and the uproar it has caused, it might be hard for them to pass this thing. If you google H.R. 669 you'll see all the various types of pet owners discussing this and it's possible impact. There are a number of co-sponsor but I still think that unless they make so major revisions it will be hard to pass. Keep in mind there are also several bills linked to this so, thiese this need to be watched and someone needs to give a good counter argument. Just because theirs is seriously flawed doesn't mean they lose. You gotta have someone point out those flaws directly, concisely, and knock out it each point that way. We can't just say, "because I love my pets and we've always been allowed in the past..." etc. On 2/4/09 it was referred to the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife.

    HappyGlassDragon
    Jeez, heck of a first post. :bugout: Eh, time to go play 'peek-a-boo' with my little Olliegoo.
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the history, review and opinions on the bill. I have been thinking that the individual pet keeper and collectors have not been responsible for most of the foreign population problems (the introduction of iguana to the FL keys is one know exception) and scratch my head at why this is the target of the bill. Accidental imports might be just too hard to target unless we all stop trading. Boat bilges "cross pollenate" are waters daily so do we stop using boats?
     
  19. esquid

    esquid Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    Ship ballast tanks can even spread disease such as Cholera from country to country. Would seem like a bigger issue than reef fish or corals in an inland tank.
     
  20. spinycheek

    spinycheek GPO Registered

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    All the most damaging ivasives were not from pets with the exception of feral house cats and dogs (which are excluded for some reason. Cattle, brown tree snakes, pine beetles, mosquitos, fire ants, tumble weed, mongoose, hogs, etc., etc. are all from agricultural or accidental introductions as hitchhikers from ships and have cause irreversible and substantial environmental destruction. The pet industry is one of the smallest players in this, they need to focus on shipping and agricultural regulations first if their real intent is to protect the environment.

    In Hawaii, cats, dogs, rabbits and pigs have all caused significant native bird declines. The cats kill and eat forest birds, the dogs kill nesting sea birds and the rabbits on Ni'ihua eat sea bird eggs (the only population of carnivorous rabbits). The hogs promote mosquito populations which carry avian malaria. Yet all these animals are excluded. The only pet-based introduction in Hawaii is the Jackson's chameleon which has not caused any noticeable harm. Whoever wrote that legislation was wearing rose colored glasses. Why allow the most destructive animals and ban the least destructive???
     

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