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HR2811 – Cutting off your face to spite your nose?

HR2811 takes aim at banning all pythons. Is it worth the risk?
In the United States we’re facing a critical time in regards to pythons. You see, there is a move to ban all pythons. It’s not new but it has really picked up steam since
that 2 year old girl was killed in Florida by the Burmese python at the beginning of July (2009). Our legislature is on the verge of considering HR2811, a bill to ban all pythons in the United States that if passed as written would effectively end the keeping of pythons by private individuals. Not just certain sized pythons, or certain species of pythons, but all pythons. From the Burmese and the Reticulated python to the Ball and the Children’s python. Every single on of them.

There are a lot of people advocating contacting your representatives and the representatives of the committee that will be considering the bill. I totally agree. What I’m having trouble with is the all or nothing approach some people are wanting to take. A growing number of people have the opinion that our main advocacy group, USARK, has sold them out because they are asking for a change in the language of the bill that is going to be considered. In short they (USARK) are encouraging everyone to demand that only the import of Burmese pythons be regulated. Which to me makes perfect sense. For a few reasons.

There is no shortage of captive bred Burmese pythons
I’ve not had the time to do the research in regards to the exact numbers but I’m 100 percent confident that the pet industry isn’t going to run out of Burmese pythons. If that were the case, if there were so few of them out there in the United States, they wouldn’t be trying to cull them in Florida. Those snakes didn’t swim across the ocean to get to southern Florida. No one had to import them just to turn them lose. They were, as The Boss would sing, “Born in the USA”

Someone is going to have to bite the bullet
When a 2 year old kid was killed it became a foregone conclusion that someone was going to take a hit. It’s all about politics and unfortunately her death came at a really bad time for the Burmese python (Anytime is a bad time for someone to get killed, but my point is to do with legislation in case you’re thinking I’m implying something I’m not). See on June 10th, approximately 20 days before she was killed, Kendrick Meeks introduced HR2811 to the House of Representatives. Similar bills have been introduced (such as HR669) but gained no traction because the politicians didn’t have a face to pin a statistic on to support a ban. Now they have the face of 2 year old Shaiunna Hare to put along side this new bill. And less than a month after it happened this is still a “fresh wound” for them to exploit for political gain. The American people who prior to this happening wouldn’t have cared on way or another are all to aware of what happened. We can thank the media for that fact. Had this been an adult, or even a teen it would have made the sidebar for one print/broadcast and that’s all you would have heard about it.

If the bill passes as it is written it’s all over
Don’t think there’s any reason to explain this aside from saying that if they ban all pythons there’s no turning back. There’s no fighting another day. If all they can ban is the import of these animals they’ve gained nothing. They’ve been able to flex a little political muscle but in reality they’ve been kept in check.

On a final note I don’t believe this is a federal issue. It’s a state issue. Some might have heard or seen me say that before and personally I believe that the state level is where this should be handled. If pythons could potentially spread throughout the US like some other invasive species then I could see our Congress getting involved but as it is they can’t. Because they can’t I’m of the opinion that the few states they can survive in should handle it within their own legal system and not burden everyone else with this mess.

I’d be interested to hear what others think about this issue. Am I wrong to believe that it’s better to let them ban the import of a single species than to risk wiping the entire trade out? Am I wrong to think that this is a state issue and not a federal issue?

  • kiddoe

    I don’t think they should ban any python this is AMERICA and we should have the right to choose any pet we want just like we have freedom of religoin and speech we should have the freedom to choose our pets. Yes you are wrong for thinking only one species of pythons should be banned. none should be banned! Pit bulls have attacked and killed more people in the U.S than pythons and they are still not banned there is lots of regulations but they are’nt banned and they shouldn’t so the same thing that they are doing to pit bulls they should do with burmeses for example if you own a pit bull your home insurance goes up they are not sold in pet stores but they are raised by breeders and sold online and in the streets. So if you buy a burmese be responsible for your pet always check your cages and always watch your kids t/k!

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  • PetSnakes

    We’re not fans of any kind of BSL be it for dogs or snakes. We’re fans of stupid people losing the privilege of owning them, but not everyone should have to suffer for another person’s idiocy.

  • Colton

    Even though I’m compleatly against this bill, you can’t compare it to pit bulls. pit bulls don’t have 30+ babies at a time and can’t eat too much of americas wildlife.

  • jessica

    i think that if it was the family’s pet that killed the girl, then it should be they parent’s fault, not the snake. they should be watching their kid better. i mean, how many people are really killed by a PET snake, and they were caring for the snake properly? there was that little girl that drowned in a hot tub, because the parents weren’t watching her. so should Americans not be able to own a hot tub? i think that it should be up to the individual as to whether it is a good idea to have a large snake around their children.

  • Kate

    OF course you can compare it to pit bulls Colton. While pits can have 4-8 puppies every 10 weeks.. pythons on avg can have about 30 eggs every 7.8 weeks. While you can expect almost all the pit puppies to make it.. not all of the snakes will. All dogs are carnivores.. therefore, they could eat the wildlife just as easily if left on their own. Pit Bulls are one of the top dogs that are left for stray, and can become more aggressive than a snake if it gets hungry enough.

  • joe samples

    After watching the program on TV last week re: all the lg. snakes that are loose in Florida, including poisonious ones, if it were up to me to get rid of them, I would take a gun and kill everyone I could find. I think the people who brought them into the U.S. should be shipped in crates back to where their so called pets came from. I think it is diguesting to see that our government has allowed this to go as far as it has. Maybe that’s their way of eliminating people. When is enough, enough?

  • PetSnakes

    @Joe Samples – Fact is that the media and the politicians have over sensationalized the issue. Please continue to research it.

  • LaFonda Elder

    Why are there not any (free) snake removal services in the state of south carolina. We carolians are also afraid of them.

  • Jess_Messter

    First of all: there has yet to be a “poisonous” snake. Their flesh itself is entirely harmless. They create “venom,” making them “venomous.” Side note – much of which is being used in cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and stroke research.

    Second: Pythons are incredible pets in the RIGHT hands. The sale/possession of pythons shouldn’t be outlawed, but it should instead be more difficult to obtain them. Many states have laws requiring permits to own various exotic pets. Why not employ the same regulations to own pythons? A ball python, averaging 4 feet in captivity, is relatively harmless and has absolutely no need to be outlawed. If anything, they could consider outlawing the international IMPORTING of python species. Captive breds are much healthier than captive hatched or wild caught specimens anyways.

    A snake is a beautiful creature that requires a lot of care and specific housing requirements. Just as a dog can be a killer in abusive or negligent hands, a snake can become the same. If the parents of the the girl who was killed by a Burm had placed secure locks on the cage, their daughter would still be alive and politicians wouldn’t be foaming at the mouth trying to outlaw these amazing pets.

    The snakes are doing what they were born to do: eat and breed. The negligent owners who abandoned them in the Everglades are to blame, not the snake itself. Giant pythons aren’t a pet for everyone.. Breeders should take greater care when selling hatchlings Burms/Retics/Rock Pythons… Because a hungry 20 foot snake is quite a handful. Trust me. I’ve got teeth marks on my arms to prove it.

  • rick

    Even though burms have alot of babies few survive . The truth is the have so many is natures way of keeping the species alive. Until  they get size on them they themselves are prey to most animals and few will make it to adulthood.

  • Very true.

  • Bradwolfe51

    people wake up pet snakes kill less people than any other form of pet with size secondly if your worried that they are doing damage to the echo system ban them in areas they can survive thirdly if you are worried about the ones in the wild such as florida eating endangered species ask yourself why are they endangered to begin with humans  should we kill all sharks they kill more people per year than pet snakes should we kill all alligators cause they kill more people per year than pet snakes should we kill all  bears they kill more people than pet snakes per year hell if you want to do away with the right of those of us who like snakes to them then we should do away with your right to own dogs who maim  and or kill more kids per year than most any other pet and further more we should put a ban on people who cause more death and destruction than any other species on this planet if you open the door for one you open the door for all keep that in mind you want the government to do everything you do not deserve freedom as thomas jefferson said ( a founding father) if you prefer safety over freedom you deserve neither he also said if 10000 people make a law and it keeps one person from doing what he likes it is unconstitutional try supporting individual rights you don’t have to like what someone dose so don’t do it  its your right to chose and not your right to take someone  else’s  choice because you do not like it if we keep this up we won’t be a free nation of free peoples we will be a federal state keep this in mind because tomorrow it could be your right to do something that you enjoy that will be taken away from you wake up and reed between the lines before all is lost the only reason so many people do not like snakes is they where taught  not to like them we are all children of this planet and we did not choose to be here but we are and we all have the right to partake in all of it splendor  what ever that may be to you you say tomato I say tamoto

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