Archive for the ‘Principles’ Category

FORBIDDEN: US Bans Giant Python Trade

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Well, it finally happened. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has finally banned the importation and interstate transfer of giant pythons. This is a battle that has been fought for the past several years between leaders in the python and boa constrictor breeding and keeping world and government regulators.   The official issue at stake is the invasiveness of these animals and their environmental impact, but big snakes are so loaded politically and emotionally the battle has always been about about more than that.  It has been about whether average Americans should have giant constrictors in their homes.

As I’ve said from the beginning, it is greed pure and simple that prevented the reptile industry from regulating itself with regard to these giant snakes.  Any idiot can see that giant pythons are inappropriate to most buyers, esp. teenagers, but sell to them the industry did.   That same greed led a number of the biggest breeders to import from Anson Wong even though they knew he was a major illegal wildlife trafficker.   As a person who believes in responsible keeping it is a shame these reptile industry leaders could not really lead.

The new rule does not include Reticulated Pythons, the largest python on earth, and among its most aggressive.  That is strange. And no doubt will come up again.

The new rule also excludes boa constrictors from the ban.  That IMHO is a good thing.  Boas are not for everyone but they are manageable at most sizes.  What boa constrictors and other larger snakes need is not a ban but reasonable standards of welfare. That, too, is no doubt in the future of the reptile industry.  Its leaders should get in front of that.  But history says they won’t.

“No More ‘Lizard King’ Cases, says Minister”

Monday, June 20th, 2011

That is the headline of this recent article in the Malay Mail.  The Minister is  the head of Malaysia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and The Lizard King he refers to is Anson Wong. 

The steps taken in the wake of The Lizard King case–legislative reform, administrative reform, the punishment of Anson Wong–are exactly what was needed to begin to clean up Malaysia as a trafficking hub.

What is still missing, however, is action.  Especially by Malaysia’s law enforcement body, Perhilitan.  What the Minister wants the public to believe is that Perhilitan will prevent more Anson Wongs from rising to power.  Alas, a number of major operators are trafficking endangered wildlife in and through Malaysia right now.   Where are those Lizard King Cases, Minister?

Minister Douglas Uggah Embas should have said, We will have many more Lizard King cases–all it takes–until Malaysia has purged itself of illegal wildlife traffickers.

Big Snake Puppy Mills

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Here’s an example of the puppy mill conditions snakes in America get from many breeders today, and this video is by one of the country’s best breeders (and a pal of mine).  The Burmese python dubbed Satan in this vid is in a reprehensibly small container for its size.  If hobbyists lose the ability to keep reptiles in America it will be because of a combination of inappropriate species sold to amateurs (most often “huge pythons”) and inhumane caging for the sake of volume collecting or commercial-scale breeding…  Sorry, Brian. As one of the country’s leading thinkers on reptile husbandry, “Big Responsibility” is yours, too.