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Re: [AGA-Member] HR669 information

> More than likely, every importer, exporter, large pet shop, and collector 
> in the country will obtain a permit and the approved list will be so broad 
> we won't notice any change.

You are a super optimist! A broad approved list? As I recall, the bill 
requires "scientific and commercial" proof that the species won't be 
harmful. That sounds like studies are required. Then there is the review 
process, the determination process, and the dispute process for those who 
disagree with the final decision. Expense, studies, and paperwork add up to 
disincentives to do the work to get _a_ species on the list. Then you have 
to do it again for another, and another.

Also, this bill doesn't at all call for the "permit" you suggested. This is 
a white list bill. You must prove an animal is safe before anyone can sell 
it. Guilty until _proven_ innocent. We don't need this. Black list laws are 
already in place to ban only the harmful species with a lot less work and 

Here's the letter I sent to my congressman:

Please do what you can to stop HR 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion
Prevention Act.

This proposed legislation is poorly written, ominously expensive to
implement, and could shut down most or all of the pet trade. There are
10,000 pet stores in the U.S. Do we need to put an extra crimp in the
economy and prevent people from having companion animals? And that doesn't
include the damage it would do to vendors, suppliers, and people like me who
make their livings writing books, magazine columns, and articles about
pets-- in my case, about ornamental fish and the aquarium hobby.

HR 669 proposes a white list for approved species. There are millions of
species known, and more discovered every day. It would literally take
forever to review every species. Is it really possible for the government
to study the "scientific and commercial" possibility that so many species
_may_ harm the environment or economy? There are already black list
procedures in place to ban importation of known problematic species. Do we
really need more laws and regulatory expense in these economic, or any
other, times?

While the bill does allow for persons to submit species for addition to the
approval list, it requires extensive, expensive documentation and user fees
to do so. Yet, I note that there is no fee for those who want to submit
items for addition to the disapproved list. This bill is backed by radical
groups like PETA, and is written to help achieve their fanatical goals of
ending pet ownership and the eating of meat. They made sure in this
bill that they can harangue legislators with expensive requests to delist
animals without any expense to themselves.

HR 669 also includes clauses that, while grandfathering ownership of
currently-possessed animals, would not include their offspring. If a
blacklisted animal has babies, the owner cannot sell, barter, or give them
away, according to the bill. People don't euthanize the animals that they
love. So this will encourage them to release the animals into the wild,
rather than possess illegal material. That is the OPPOSITE intention of this
so-called "Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act." Remember, the very
PETA people that back this bill are the ones who break into research and
breeding facilities and release the animals to the outdoors. If you want to
shut down illegal introduction of nonnative species, I suggest starting by
shutting down PETA, ALF, and similar groups.

This bill even wants to ban shipping of _approved_ species! (Sec. 9)
the goal is move toward an end to the trading of animals. The bill bans the
export of approved species, too. If they don't want a species _in_ this
country, what would be wrong with sending it _out_ of the country?

In Section 14 (1), the description of "Import" would even prevent
international flights that contained animals bound for other countries to
land in the U.S. on stopover.

Section 14 (5) D lists exceptions, but only the goldfish in the category of
fish. There are thousands of species of tropical fish bred on commercial
fish farms throughout the world. These species have been safely traded for
over a century. Do we need to provide "scientific and commercial" research
to justify continued trade?

This bill makes no mention of public aquariums or zoos. It would put them in
a bad position, or possibly result in their closing. It could put them in
the position of destroying offspring of disapproved species, even if

Finally, I would add that banning animal ownership has unexpected negative
effects. It's a common news item that coral reefs are dying worldwide.
(Latest studies suggest that there is some cyclical nature to this.) Yet,
aquarium hobbyists in the last two decades have been the ones who have
learned how to propagate corals in captivity. Many corals, invertebrate, and
fish species are being commercially raised on farms. In the aquarium
industry, several popular species now exist in captivity only-- and in great
numbers-- having lost habitat in the wild. Thank goodness for aquarists and
other animal keepers who have an interest in keeping, breeding, and
preserving species.

In summary, HR 669 is a dumb bill. It proposes to protect against a threat
that barely exists-- and at GREAT expense. The current black list rules that
allow the USDA, FWS, and other government entities to ban species that are 
to be problematic is more than sufficient. In these economic times, the
government should find ways to cut expenses, not add on exhorbitant ones--
as would be initiated by passage of this bill.

Stop HR 669!

Mike Wickham

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