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SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

This is a discussion on SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month within the Laws/Legality and Ethics forums, part of the Herpetological Science & Politics category; Originally Posted by FrogEyes ...the ban seems to cover..um...199 species? Tylototriton himalayanus isn't listed, but is included at genus level. ...

Laws/Legality and Ethics Discussion of the laws affecting herpetology around the world. Species legalities in different jurisdictions, import/export of animals, the legalities of species collection and the ethical considerations of all of the above.

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Old 15th January 2016   #101 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

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Originally Posted by FrogEyes View Post
...the ban seems to cover..um...199 species? Tylototriton himalayanus isn't listed, but is included at genus level. Tylototriton daweishanensis doesn't count, as it's a synonym of T.yangi. ...
I wouldn't bother getting too far into that when you write a letter. Realistically, when it comes to enforcement, they'll have untrained laypeople labeling them all "salamanders... you can't have salamanders..." and fining or holding or doing whatever they'll do to people who break the law if/when it is passed.

I agree with you. I just wouldn't waste space in the letter for it. Keep those letters short. They're really only going to scan a page and a half at most. (Or, rather, some unpaid intern will scan for a quick read of what comes in if we're lucky.)



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Old 15th January 2016   #102 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

We need to stay hopeful despite the bad news. While it's true comments, peititions, etc will not fix this overnight, sitting back and doing nothing will fix it *NEVER*. We are surely in for a long and constant fight for the right to keep pets but people around the world fight back against government overreach everyday and often with far more dire consequences. Let's keep doing what we can do, keep debating the best points we can make, keep trying to get more people aware of the truth, maybe we will win on some level, but we will loose everything for 100% sure if we do nothing.



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Old 15th January 2016   #103 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I'm writing my own letter and I'll post the whole draft here once I've gone over it a few times, but this is something that stood out to me. Any thoughts?

Provided Bsal is not already present in the environment, the worst case scenario is that it remains in captivity undetected until it escapes. Stopping the interstate trade will not prevent its introduction into the wild - if there exists a means for the pathogen to escape into the wild from captivity, then it will happen whether or not the animal crosses state lines and from there it can spread. Bsal is poorly understood, so it is critically important that we learn more about it and whether or not it is present in the United States before it potentially escapes captivity. By enacting the interstate trade ban, the FWS is losing any good-will from the salamander hobby that would encourage cooperation so that collections might be tested for the disease. By not understanding its presence or absence in collections at this time, we have a potentially fatal blind-spot in our efforts to prevent the spread of Bsal. This is why it is critically important not to ban the interstate transportation of salamanders already present in the country - instead, we should be testing collections so we can better plan prevention efforts, and this can only happen with the participation of hobbyists affected by this ban.



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Old 15th January 2016   #104 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

On Dendroboard, a sernior member named Ed posted some really useful links. Apparently, a similar all-out ban was proposed on tortoises when heartwater disease posed a risk. After enough complaints, revised versions were passed that allowed interstate movement.

These are the links Ed posted-
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-200...ml/00-7014.htm

https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...land-tortoises


Might be something to think about that can help us shape our letters to congress etc.


And here's Ed's original thread - somewhere in those posts - New federal salamander regulations - Dendroboard



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Old 15th January 2016   #105 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I posted some informational videos about this subject on both my channels! Spreading them might get the word out!



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Old 15th January 2016   #106 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I would love to help, I've hand newts and salamanders off and on for most of my life. But even reading through this thread it's way over my head. I will still try to come up with a productive comment. I like the petition idea because just for that reason.



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Old 15th January 2016   #107 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

UPDATE 1/15: The Amphibian Survival Alliance has been kind enough to renew their free testing offer to us. This is your opportunity to give them real hard data on hobbyist collections being Bsal-free which we can present to USFWS to help change the inter state ban. Please act immediately because it won't be possible to send the test swabs over state lines when the ban comes into place on Jan 28th. Please read the thread at this link to get your free testing kit and mailing instructions: Free Chytrid Testing for Salamanders



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Old 15th January 2016   #108 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Just in case you're wondering, we aren't passing on names or locations so don't be afraid to test.



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Old 15th January 2016   #109 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

It seems absolutely counterproductive to me that allowing owners to test their animals for Bsal will also essentially be banned under the new law (unless you have your own lab or one nearby). I understand the logic - that sending swabs could potentially transmit the disease - but this might be another point that should be made in our responses.



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Old 16th January 2016   #110 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Are the swabs illegal? That would be funny if it were true. From what I can tell, about 50% of salamander keepers support the ban. With that being the case, I wonder if the hobby is worth saving or should we just let it die and move on to lizards and snakes? From what I can tell, reptile owners are much more willing to defend their rights than salamander keepers.



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Old 16th January 2016   #111 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I've been away from this site for some years, only to find myself back now at such a sad and scary moment. I kept several newt species over the years, mostly Europeans, but also some North Americans and Asians. I foolishly sold off my colonies over the years, intending to get them all again one day, and now I find myself out of time.

I will sign and comment and add my vote to any document of protest that may come up, but I don't realistically hold out a lot of hope. Under the guise of stopping the spread of disease (a worthy cause, to be sure), they are going to condemn many of these species to extinction. Some have a minuscule natural range, and many are under threat from environmental degradation, and when there's not a healthy captive population, the species dwindles. Newts and salamanders are not "charismatic megafauna" that are popular with zoos, so we private hobbyists have in many cases been the last stand for some of these species. Sadly, caudates are a relatively small subset of the rest of the herp hobby, so they think they can squelch us without notice. In truth this is a pretext for adding countless other species to a list of bans without justifying it logically or scientifically. I watched them do it with large constrictor snakes, under a completely absurd premise, and this caudate ban is just about as absurd. Seriously, do we release non-native species into the wild to potentially spread disease? I don't know any herpetoculturist who would do this to their precious animals.

Don't mind me, I'm just ranting. Trying in these last available days to at least pick up small breeding groups of a few of the species that I had and cherished in the past. It's vitally important now that as many states as possible have healthy captive-bred populations. My personal wish-list, even if I can never again sell across state lines:Edited by John: Stay on point please. We have a wanted section, please use it.




Last edited by John; 16th January 2016 at 09:27. Reason: Stay on point please. We have a wanted section, please use it.
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Old 16th January 2016   #112 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

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Originally Posted by manderkeeper View Post
We need to stay hopeful despite the bad news.

I absolutely agree, and I am sorry if my last post sounded too pessimistic. I was just thinking practically along the lines of "knowing one's audience." I didn't mean to suggest that we shouldn't write letters, so much as to be aware of the real world constraints that people face. Short and sweet might have the best impact.




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Old 16th January 2016   #113 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

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Originally Posted by manderkeeper View Post
From what I can tell, about 50% of salamander keepers support the ban. With that being the case, I wonder if the hobby is worth saving or should we just let it die and move on to lizards and snakes?
Please don't make baseless conclusions. Virtually every hobbyist I have spoken to favors the import ban. Virtually every hobbyist is again the Inter State Trade ban.



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Old 16th January 2016   #114 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Please refrain from launching into a discussion of political views/opinions. It's not constructive and not relevant to the matter at hand. Focus your attention on writing a comment for the USFWS. Comments on big government or the constitution, etc, will be deleted - there are other forums for that. Thank you for your understanding.



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Old 16th January 2016   #115 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I am not sure if you have this one yet. If you do I apologize.

To view this email as a web page, go here.
NewIssueUpdateHeader
YOUR ADVOCATE IN THE PET INDUSTRY FOR MORE THAN 35 YEARS



Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

Visit PIJAC.org for news & updates
Issue Update - Federal
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Adds 201 Species of Salamanders to List of Injurious Amphibians

Citing a necessity to protect the interests of wildlife and wildlife resources from the introduction, establishment and spread of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, the Fish & Wildlife Service announced an interim rule on January 13th which adds all species of salamanders from 20 genera (of which there are 201 species) to the list of injurious amphibians. The interim rule is effective as of January 28, 2016.

The interim rule prohibits both importation into the United States AND interstate transportation of any live or dead specimen (including parts) of these 20 genera of salamanders.
An exception is made for permitted zoological, educational, medical or scientific purposes (in accordance with permit conditions) and for Federal agencies without a permit solely for their own use.

PIJAC Position:

While we have supported establishing a moratorium and have even put one into place voluntarily within the trade, the rule as written does not allow for sunsetting if an effective testing and treatment regimen is established. We find this frustrating since we have been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for over a year to encourage them to establish such a rule.

PIJAC, along with other concerned organizations, have been in discussions with the United States Government for over a year concerning the Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans , or Bsal, fungus. This fungus, which is native to Asia, has impacted fire salamander populations in Belgium and the Netherlands. We have become extremely concerned that Bsal or other pathogens could make their way to the United States prior to any government action to stop it.

This is a disease that exists in other parts of the world and the pet industry is as concerned as anyone that it not be introduced here. As there is no evidence that Bsal has made its way to the United States, however, a ban on interstate transport is completely unjustified. The movement within the country of salamanders that are indigenous or have been domestically raised will harm commerce and will have no effect on our efforts to keep infected animals from entering the country.

Government, industry, NGOs and academia are working to develop effective testing and treatment regimens. PIJAC felt that until such time as these can be developed and distributed, the threat to the U.S. salamander population dictates that the responsible course of action was to temporarily suspend imports of Firebelly and Paddletail newts. Unfortunately, the proposed rule fails to establish a mechanism to lift the ban once effective testing and treatment are possible.

Further, while the pet trade voluntarily suspended the importation of those newts that have shown through testing to have the potential to carry the disease, the fact is that not all the species being banned have been tested. USFWS is using conjecture based upon Genus level results. We believe strongly that public policy should be based on the application of sound science and we are concerned that it is not being used I this case.

Finally, as is always critical, we must remind everyone that pets should never be released into the wild.

The Service is accepting comments on this rule until March 14, 2016. Comments may be submitted:

Online:

Federal eRulemaking Portal
Docket No. FWS-HQ-FAC-2015-0005

Mail, Hand Delivery, or Courier:

Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-FAC-2015-0005
Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs
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Falls Church, VA 22041-3803


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Old 16th January 2016   #116 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

John, that's encouraging to hear. Hopefully with enough pressure we can get something more reasonable done.



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Old 16th January 2016   #117 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I thought it might be useful to share a quote from a paper by Kerry from SaveTheFrogs "
Unlike zoos and laboratories, whose conservation services render the translocation of amphibians an occasional necessity, the amphibian pet and bait trades are for the large part disposable, that is, they are unnecessary, serving
little benefit to society. Their nearly complete dismantling would benefit amphibian populations" http://www.savethefrogs.com/who-we-a...Panzootics.pdf



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Old 16th January 2016   #118 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Quote:
Originally Posted by manderkeeper View Post
I thought it might be useful to share a quote from a paper by Kerry from SaveTheFrogs "
Unlike zoos and laboratories, whose conservation services render the translocation of amphibians an occasional necessity, the amphibian pet and bait trades are for the large part disposable, that is, they are unnecessary, serving
little benefit to society. Their nearly complete dismantling would benefit amphibian populations" http://www.savethefrogs.com/who-we-a...Panzootics.pdf
Save the frogs and save the newts are Anti pet organizations something like PETA and HSUS. They are against keeping any kind of pets. They are not reliable sources of information.



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Old 16th January 2016   #119 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

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Save the frogs and save the newts are Anti pet organizations something like PETA and HSUS. They are against keeping any kind of pets. They are not reliable sources of information.
Indeed, and because Save the Frogs was one of the main petitioners behind the ban, it becomes all the more imperative for the government to get our side of the story, the benefits of the hobby. And to try to to keep a cool while explaining why our hobby is NOT "disposable"...



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Old 17th January 2016   #120 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I agree, it's more than just a group of animals. There are lots of studies showing health benefits from keeping pets, and though I don't know if reptiles have been the specific target of investigation, I believe my health has been positively enhanced by them. They keep me from being bored, I am always on the move cleaning cages, moving supplies around, checking on them, etc. I've learned lots about nutrition as a result of keeping herps. Most importantly, my social support system has greatly increased and there are numerous keepers I look forward to hearing from and have wonderful conversations with. The only thing that needs disposed of is his hate of pet keepers so he can move on with something more positive.



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