Congress Considers Banning Pythons
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Representative Kendrick Meek (D-FL) has introduced H.R. 2811 (the House version of Senator Nelson’s Senate Bill S.373). As drafted, it would amend the Lacey Act to add “the constrictor snake of the species Python genera” as an injurious species that would be “prohibited from being shipped or imported into the United States.”
H.R. 2811 Markup Session is set for 1:00pm tomorrow, July 28.
The Full Hearing will be July 29 or 30.
PIJAC is calling on members of the pet industry to act now, as adding “Python genera” to the injurious wildlife list under the Lacey Act has far broader consequences than indicated by the bill’s language, prohibiting specimens of “the constrictor snake” (presumably a reference to Burmese Pythons) being “shipped to or imported into the United States.”
A Lacey Act listing, in addition to banning importation into the United States, prohibits export and interstate movement. To further compound the proposed listing, it lumps numerous species of Pythons into inaccurate taxonomic nomenclature by referring to “Python genera” rather than referencing a specific species.
In short, it is not clear if only “pythons” of the genus Python would be listed or every snake commonly referred to as a python would fall under the umbrella of taxonomic confusion.
Once H.R. 2811 passes Markup it will go to the floor of the House of Representatives for consideration. The Meeks ban, like Senator Nelson’s Senate Bill 373, would circumvent the statutory listing process called for by the Lacey Act. To list a species under the Lacey Act, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is required to conduct a risk analysis and seek public comment prior to making a final determination that a species should be listed as “injurious.” The USFWS process is currently underway.
As drafted, H.R. 2811 will likely ban all pythons, including ball pythons – the most popular and widely possessed Python species.
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