Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Action Alert: HR 669 Fact Sheet

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Feel free to download, email, print and distribute or post this fact sheet among your friends, colleagues, and the pet stores that you patronize.


The text of this poster states:

HR 669 prohibits what YOU can do with your pet bird (or other exotic animals).

  • You may NOT take your pet bird (or other exotic animals) if you move to another state [Section 6(a)(2)] or country [Section 6(a)(1)]
  • You may NOT travel across state lines on vacation with your pet bird (or other exotic animals) [Section 6(a)(2)] NOTE: crossing national boundaries are addressed in Section 14(2)
  • You may NOT travel to another country with your pet bird (or other exotic animals) [Section 6(a)(1)]
  • You may NOT transfer your pet bird (or other exotic animals) to another person or family member [Section 6(a)(4)]
  • You may NOT give your pet bird (or other exotic animals) to a sanctuary [Section 6(a)(4)]
  • You may NOT breed your pet birds (or other exotic animals) [Section 6(a)(6)]
  • You may NOT freely fly your birds [Section 6(a)(5)]
  • You may NOT offer for sale, sell, trade or barter your pet bird (or other exotic animals) [Section 6(a)(4)]
  • You may NOT buy a pet bird (or other exotic animals) [Section 6(a)(4)]
  • You may NOT replace your pet bird (or other exotic animals) in the sad event that it dies [Section 6(a)(4)]

If you are caught violating one of these restrictions, you will lose your bird.
What does “lose” your exotic animal mean? Euthanasia! There are no provisions for any other options in this bill.

Take Action Now.

HR 669 Links:

Will HR 669 Transform Your Exotic Animals into Illegal Aliens?

My detailed analysis of HR 669 and its impacts.

Video discussing some of the impacts HR 669 will have on exotic animal breeders, pet store owners and scientists.

Are you a scientist, conservation biologist, biomedical researcher or exotic animal breeder who will be impacted by HR 669?

The New England Aquarium Speaks Out Against HR 669.

PetSmart Speaks out Against HR 669.

Comments

  1. #1 MattK
    April 17, 2009

    After seeing the everglades I’m not sure I’m totally against this law. If you take a look in the water the dominant fish are Oscars, walking catfish, Callicthys, Tilapia, Plecos, mollies (I know there are native mollies but the ones that I have seen are calicoes) etc etc. Burmese pythons are also a problem now, as are Green Iguanas and Nile monitors. Red-eared sliders are another.

    Pets can also be sources of disease. Herpesviruses and Mycoplasma have been devastating tortoise populations in the southwest and I understand that this probably originated from Testudo species in the pet trade. Chytrid fungal infections are another example of a disease that has been spread from captive to wild populations (although in this case the captives were likely laboratory Xenopus frogs)

    I understand that a few of my examples don’t relate to the pet-trade per se, but most of them do. Collecting for the pet-trade often devastates wild populations. Most of the individuals die in transit or at the hands of dealers. The rest die with clueless owners who have grown tired of their pets. While I have kept exotic animals in the past, and I know lots of people who currently do, I still find the pet trade difficult to justify. It seems that its main activities are a) non-sustainable exploitation of wild populations b) slow death of most of the animals due to negligence, c) introduction of exotic species, d) spreading wildlife diseases. For each of us that do care for our pets there are many more that don’t.

    I haven’t made up my mind about the level of regulation that I would like to see but I’m not happy with the status quo.

  2. #2 Elf Eye
    April 17, 2009

    I have just finished reading H.R. 669, which is available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h669ih.txt.pdf

    The text of the bill does not state or imply that any of the prohibitions listed on the poster are under consideration, with one possible exception.

    The title of the bill is as follows: “To prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species that negatively impact the economy, environment, or other animal species that negatively impact the economy, environment, or other animal species’ or human health, and for other purposes.”

    Basically, the bill calls for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to establish criteria for determining which species may and which species may not be imported into the United States. Animals that are already in the hands of people in the U.S. are unaffected by this bill. The bill specifically states the following: “Animals owned lawfully prior to prohibition of importation.—This Act and regulations issued under this Act shall not interfere with the ability of any person to possess an individual animal of any species if such individual animal was legally owned by the person before the risk assessment is begun pursuant to subsection (e)(3), even if such species is later prohibited from being imported under the regulations issued under this Act.”

    I imagine that the only possible impact that the bill may have on people’s birds (or any pets) would arise if a person left the country with the bird and then tried to return. As far as what happens within the borders of the U.S., however, the bill is silent, since it addresses only importation. Is it possible that another bill has been introduced or that there is another law in existence that specifies the restrictions listed on the poster?

  3. #3 "GrrlScientist"
    April 17, 2009

    you have not read the resolution very carefully, then. i wrote a detailed analysis of HR 669 and its impacts upon those who keep non-exempt exotic animals as pets, for captive breeding/conservation purposes and for research and HR 669, as written will negatively impact these animals.

    further, many pet owners whose pets will be euthanized will release them into the environment instead of having to kill them (adn also pay the costs of doing so), so HR 669 will actually exacerbate the problem it is attempting to solve.

  4. #4 Miriam Gordon
    April 17, 2009

    Thank you for your careful analysis of H.R. 669, and for providing the link to the NAIA website. Like you, I am a bird owner/lover, and after looking over the bill and reading your analysis, I sent this email to my House Representative, Congressman Elliot Engel:

    To the Honorable Eliot L. Engel:

    This concerns my concern over H.R. 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act. In principle, it is necessary for any government to control improper introduction of nonnative wildlife species. However, as written, I do not believe the bill relies sufficiently on the opinions of wildlife conservation biologists and inflicts unnecessary punitive measures on owners of exotic pets like myself. I own 2 cockatiels, they are as beloved to me as any other family member, and would find it completely unacceptable to have to euthanize them in the event that I move to another state. This is horrible! This bill needs to be changed to be scientifically balanced, to avoid cruelty to animals, and to honor the civil rights of pet owners. It needs an awful lot of work, in my opinion, before it can be passed into law.

    One more issue this bill brings to mind: Will all international shipping be banned so that nonnative species carried in bilge water in the holds of tankers not cause any additional problems? This sounds ridiculous. There must be ways to filter this water rather than ban all international shipping. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Thank you.

  5. #5 Elf Eye
    April 17, 2009

    You wrote an analysis of the bill in which you argue that it is flawed in several respects, but does that analysis support all (or even most) of the very specific assertions included on the poster? In particular, I cannot find the language in the bill that would support statements such as the following: that a person moving to another state may not take his/her bird; that people on vacation may not take their birds; that people may not transfer their birds to other people, including family members; that a bird may not be given to a sanctuary; that a person may not breed his or her birds; that a person may not freely fly his or her birds. In short, I am not here taking issue with the analysis of the bill that you published on the previous post; I am, however, taking issue with the specific claims on the poster reproduced above. Are there specific passages of the bill that I am overlooking or misinterpreting that support those claims? If so, I will very willingly stand corrected.

  6. #6 "GrrlScientist"
    April 17, 2009

    Elf Eye — i went back through the above text and added the specific section from HR 669 where the proposal addresses the issue listed on the poster.

  7. #7 Gindy
    April 18, 2009

    House sparrows and starlings. Enough said.

  8. #8 Carrie Burrows
    April 18, 2009

    This is insane. I have 6 “exotic” birds, all captive bred. My sulcata tortoise was also captive bred. They are healthy, loved, and other than the parroty noises coming from my house, they are not a public nuisance.