The US Herpetoculture Alliance has learned that in August, the American Bar Association (ABA) Animal Law Committee took a stand against “Dangerous Wild Animals” in a report that can be read in its entirety here: ABA Animal Law Committee August 2014 Report on Dangerous Wild Animals. The Report, which recommends a ban on the private ownership of ALL large constrictors, venomous snakes and crocodilians, concluded that:
“Dangerous wild animals do not make good pets. Only through private prohibition can there exist a uniform U.S. legal regime that safeguards the public, protects animals, allocates legal liability and insurance risk properly, furthers a policy of respect for nature, and considers the interests of present and future generations in accordance with the goals of the American Bar Association.”
ABA’s list is broad and over-inclusive, and it has defined “Dangerous Wild Animals” to include, among multiple species of mammals, the following reptiles:
- All species of alligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials.
- Family Atractaspidae: all species, such as mole vipers.
- Anacondas (Genus Eunectes), boa constrictors (Boa constrictor), Burmese pythons (Python molurus), reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus), amethystine pythons (Morelia amethistinus), scrub pythons (Morelia kinghorni), Northern African pythons (Python sebae), Southern African pythons (Python natalensis).
- Family Colubridae: boomslangs (Dispholidus typus), twig snakes (Genus Thelotornis).
- Family Elapidae: all species, such as cobras, mambas, and coral snakes.
- Family Hydrophiidae: all species, such as sea snakes.
- Family Viperidae: all species, such as rattlesnakes, pit vipers, and puff adders.
The Report presents new problems for all exotic animal owners and keepers, including reptile owners. The Report states that,
“the American Bar Association urges all federal, state, territorial, and local legislative bodies and/or governmental agencies to enact comprehensive laws that prohibit the private possession, sale, breeding, import, or transfer of dangerous wild animals, such as big cats, bears, wolves, primates, and dangerous reptiles, in order to protect public safety and health, and to ensure the humane treatment and welfare of such animals.”
Without question, this Report will make its way into legislatures across the country as anti-reptile bills are introduced, and an edict from the ABA will be a persuasive argument to politicians.
The Reptile Nation needs, now more than ever, effective advocacy, or the Lacey Act’s Injurious Wildlife List will be a moot point because large constrictors will be illegal at the state and local levels.