Perhaps Randy is right and HR 669 will die before it gets out of sub-committee. But I can't be sure and I felt the need to act, to speak up. So I wrote an email to Mr. Flake, Representative for Arizona's 6th District and one of the committee members for this House Resolution. I thought I'd go ahead and post it here as well...
I am a citizen of Mesa, Arizona (85213) and I'd like for you to consider shutting down HR 669 as it is currently written. I'll try to be brief in why I feel you should do this.
First, I believe strongly in the power of the States. Hawaii works to keep her borders safe from animals, parasites and plants from "the Mainland" by having strict laws on what may enter the state. Why can't the remaining 49 states do the same thing? Here in Arizona, I'm aware of a couple breeds of plants which are causing problems and are no longer permitted to be used. Instead non-proliferating varieties are being used and the problematic plant is being phased out. Why not do the same with the animals Arizona feels are a problem?
Second, the Federal government is in major financial trouble already. The "War on Terror" has drained the country of money...and fixed none of our problems here in the States. HR 669 proposes to spend *more* money to determine which (if any) animals may continue to be imported, moved across state lines, bought, sold, traded, raised, etc. The weak and poorly spelled out plan of "fees" will not cover costs. Instead, this will end up being one more government "boondoggle", with average Americans paying the price.
That leads me to my final reason: small businesses. I have a single 120 gallon aquarium. On a whim, I purchased a couple "mystery snails" --- those strange creatures found in most aquarium stores, named Pomacea bridgesii. Apparently, I managed to get a mixed pair or an already mated female. Now, I have a *lot* of snails. I'd *like* to be able to sell them to people who want them. With regulations already in place, I'm required to go through the USDA (believe it or not) to secure separate permissions for each state I want to ship to.
Imagine all the already-established small mom-and-pop businesses across America watching a few strangers in Washington, D.C. contemplate wiping out their livelihood with the stroke of a pen. I personally know ferret breeders, fish breeders, and now snake breeders, who would be hit by this legislation. If it is allowed to go forward, HR 669 has the potential to shut down not just breeders and importers, but all the ancillary businesses which are connected to the animals being threatened. Pet stores, online specialty shops, feeder businesses, veterinarians, pet sitters...and when these shut down for lack of sales or need, who will *they* put out of a job?
I'd like to know that you have considered the far-reaching effects this House Resolution may have. Please, shut HR 669 down. If you *do* support this House Resolution, I'd like to hear back from you why you feel it's important for the Federal government to handle this. And why now, when so many families are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
I have been a little more long-winded than I'd hoped to be. I do hope you'll give some thought to my concerns. Thank you for your time.
I probably could have been more brief. I could have pasted text from a variety of sites I'm part of where HR 669 is getting a lot of attention. But, I wanted to my message to stand out from the mass of emails, letters and phone calls. I wanted to spend the time on it I'd like Mr. Flake (and the rest of the committee) to spend, thinking about the effects of this potential bill.
As a "mom" to ten ferrets, I'm very aware my babies would be "grandfathered" in---any animal legally owned at the time the proposed bill becomes law would be protected. But, I know one day, my crew will have diminshed in size (and it's not as far off as I like to hope it will be!) and I'll be ready to adopt again. I have my eye on a particular breeder and a particular pairing, depending on timing. If HR 669 becomes law, I am concerned RavensNest will not be offering any further kits for sale, since ferrets are not protected automatically (like dogs and cats will be).
Despite the problems with feral cat populations in Tempe, Arizona, cats are being given a pass....while no one has ever documented a feral ferret population. Note: there is a difference between the domesticated ferret (see my banner above for samples) and the Black Footed Ferret, which is a wild animal native to North America.
Just last Saturday, I was introduced to my first corn snake, a sweet girl named Scooter. I am entranced by how sweet she is and enthralled by the way she wrapped herself around my hands, trusting me so easily. Yes, I am now in "investigative mode", trying to learn all I can about snakes and their care and if it's possible to have both ferrets and a snake and do them both justice.
As I do this research, I'm meeting even more people who will be affected by HR 669. So far, I've read about HR 669 in ferret forums, in fish-keeping forums and now in snake forums. Who else out there will be affected? Please feel free to leave a comment sharing how HR 669 will affect you, if it's allowed to move forward and become law.
Or leave me a comment about snakes! What snakes do you love? Which ones stay small? Apparently a corn snake can get as large as 6ft! I rather liked Scooter's size as she was---I could have coiled her into the palm of my hand! I wouldn't mind a little larger, but I don't think I want a super-large snake...do I?