PetSmart Speaks out Against HR 669

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As expected, PetSmart has officially spoken out against HR 669. As a large corporation, you KNOW PetSmart has a flock of lawyers who are studying legislation such as this to make sure that laws are not enacted that would damage them or their clients. While PetSmart supports the primary aim of this bill -- to prevent the introduction of potentially invasive nonnative animal species into this country -- they point out that HR 669, as written, will damage the pet industry and harm pet owners ("pet parents") as well.

Several points that PetSmart raises are worth repeating here;

  1. We support a process that more fully takes into account the risks associated with various species based on sound scientific data.
  2. We believe the current drafting of the bill does not take into account existing protective measures, the impact to pet parents and the economic impact on the pet specialty industry. It also requires funds and staffing not currently available to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which would be tasked with administrating and enforcing the regulation. Moreover, it could lead to the mass release and/or euthanasia of pets.
  3. We believe a more practical and meaningful regulatory process could be developed and implemented in a timely manner. Along with our industry partners we've offered our expertise to help craft legislation that is more reasonable and still achieves the desired intent.
  4. We believe the small pets, reptiles, fish, birds and amphibians we sell currently meet the intent of the bill and do not create any of the risks outlined in the proposed legislation, yet virtually all of them would be in jeopardy under the bill as currently drafted.

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?

Brief Factsheet (printable) regarding HR 669 and its impacts.

The New England Aquarium Speaks Out Against HR 669.


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I'm torn about what to think about this piece of legislation.

First I realize the problem of invasives. Second I worked in the petshop industry for many years, and I saw how wasteful of animals, particularly aquatic animals, it was. If the bill was passed and reduced the amount of animals in the industry I would not be too upset. However this act is a one-size-fits-all approach and needs to be written better.

One of the environmental groups, National Wildlife Federation, is sending out an email urging people to write their Congress Representatives in support of the act.

I am not my cat's mother.

Maybe not, but I bet your cat spends most of its time hanging round the house, sleeping or just looking bored. And the only time it notices you is when it wants something, like feeding. The only real difference from a teenager is that most cats haven't learned how to play music at top volume.

The simple solution is to amend the bill to protect obvious household pets that aren't already enumerated within section 14(5)(D), since this is what seems to be generating most of the negative response. This is what the American Ferret Association is advocating be done with _mustela putorius furo_. The Humane Society of the United States, a leading supporter of HR 669 which has long acknowledged the suitability of ferrets as domestic companion animals, has agreed to ask that MPF be added to the exemption list along with dogs, cats, rabbits, and goldfish. Doing so will eliminate the necessity for the AFA to oppose the bill, as explained in our HR 669 position statement.

David Gaines
Director, Legal and Legislative Affairs
American Ferret Association

Would a import ban on all wild caught animals have much the same desired effect of invasive species risks and still give the pet industry the ability to professionalise?

I am a saltwater hobbyist. This bill would kill my hobby overnight. All the local fish stores would close up shop, as well as the suppliers. I am no fan of Petsmart, but they are correct when they say the fish and corals we have are in no way invasive, but will be banned by this bill. I probably have close to a hundred different species living in my living room, and not all of them are can be identified - many are not even described. This bill is well intention but ll have unforeseen consequences, It is badly written, as bad a piece of legislation as I have ever seen.

This legislation must be stopped at all costs.Being vague is the single most important reason that this bill must be killed dead. No other reason is necessary. Unless things are spelled out with exactness, BEFOREHAND, people's rights, desires and livelihoods are in danger. The bill is open to too much interpretation and assumptions that may not work or be good for those involved once it is enacted.

It is my belief that this bill is a front for animal rights activists who are trying to destroy the pet trade. If there was a real problem with invasive hamsters, or invasive angelfish or some other species that has been in this country for decades then there would be no problem naming such in the bill beforehand, in order to prevent pet owners and the pet industry from being upset. Why create such a secretive and vague bill if it is possible to do it differently? Because "powers that be" wish to take rights and privileges away from people without people realizing it-- until it is too late to do anything about it.
"Just trust us", is the refrain. Where have I heard that before?
I trust nothing that is not specific, and in writing, and neither should anyone that wants to continue to own, keep, and breed animals.

Banning is never the solution to anything. Regulation, microchipping, and licensing would all go a LONG way to preventing invasive species. Most people want to be responsible if given the tools to do so. Why not try those things FIRST, and see if they work before taking a broad brush and punishing the innocent responsible breeders and keepers with the guilty ones?

Grrl, I don't know about you, but I happen to love the escaped parrots that have established themselves in NYC. No one thought they could survive and yet here they are, meaning there is a lot that science doesn't know about establishment of non-natives in the environment. That also means that the "science" the bill is looking to use for regulation is also suspect, and therefore its usage may create problems where there are none, and likewise not prevent problems either.

By Responsible Keeper (not verified) on 21 Apr 2009 #permalink

For people who claim invasive species don't cause problems, look up lionfish in the Carribean, nutria, and mongeese in Hawaii. It's a preventative bill to stop the endangerment of environments' natural animals and states.
The escaped parrots in New York may not be a problem, but if the same parrots got loose in a more environmentally fragile area they may cause other bird species to go extinct. The bill may need some tweaking, but its intentions are good.

a careful reading of this blog will show that you're preaching to the choir here. no one has ever claimed (on this blog) that invasive species don't cause problems.