House Judiciary Committee advances python bill
By Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director of the AVMA GRD
On February 28th, the House Committee on the Judiciary gave voice vote approval to H.R. 511, a bill that would prohibit the importation of various species of constrictor snakes. During the mark-up, there were several amendments that were accepted, including one that would exempt state fish and wildlife agencies and certain exhibitors, such as circuses and zoos, from the prohibition.
The AVMA has taken a position of 'No action" on H.R. 511. While the AVMA is aware of the known and potential risks and impacts associated with release into the wild of non-native snakes, such as the constrictors mentioned in the legislation, the AVMA feels that prohibitions of these species should be set forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) after a normal procedural review and risk assessment.
There has been no indication of when and if this legislation will make it to the floor of the House for a vote.
In January, the USFWS finalized a rule listing three python species and one anaconda species as injurious reptiles (FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015). The AVMA provided comments on the proposed rule in May 2010.
For more information please contact Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division.