Is there anyone in the US here who can shed some light on the new rulings for pet keeping?
From what I am hearing (unless everyone writes to their senators and gets it stopped) it means that you will be banned from crossing state lines with virtually all small and exotic animals - even for the vets? Can that really be right?
I know some animals are already banned in some states of course so you can't cross the state line INTO them - but this is potentially in EVERY state. You can keep what you already have in that state - but can't get any more in from other states. International imports could be banned too - it sounds all very big and serious.
If anyone can discuss or shed some light on this new rule in relation to gerbils - that would be very helpful.
Post by Shooting Star on Feb 13, 2022 14:02:18 GMT -8
The Lacey Act amendments are buried deep within a completely unrelated bill. The Lacey Act impacts what can be imported into the US, and - if so amended - what can be transported between the states. The original wording regarding travel between the states was vague, so in 2017 a federal court ruled that the Lacey Act did NOT prohibit interstate travel. This amendment explicitly reverses that.
If it passes, we would move from a black-list system to a white-list system, on a federal level. So instead of a few problem species being declared illegal and put on a black-list, with everything not mentioned being legal, instead the most common (most lobbied-for) animals will be put on a legal white-list, and everything not mentioned will be assumed illegal. Any species not on the white-list will be unable to legally cross state lines or enter the country from abroad.
Post by mygerbilprince on Feb 14, 2022 13:27:05 GMT -8
Gerbils, hamsters, mice, and rats will all likely be on the whitelist but the people in charge of creating the list might not know the difference between a hamster or gerbil and might just not care. This means we might end up with only hamsters or gerbils, or not all types of hamsters and gerbils. The government shouldn't be able to decide which animals we can have and not have. We could be responsible owners one day, and the next a criminal. This worries me, and I feel very helpless. I really hope everyone's efforts will be enough.
Also I assume the government is not just going to take "suggestions" on animals that go on the list. It kinda seems like taking away part of democracy for pet owners.
Post by Shooting Star on Feb 14, 2022 17:28:32 GMT -8
Okay, so here's how common pets are getting on the whitelist. Importation (and travel) is illegal UNLESS: ‘‘(A) during the 1-year period preceding the date of enactment of the America COM- PETES Act of 2022, the species was, in more than minimal quantities— ‘‘(i) imported into the United States; or ‘‘(ii) transported between the States, any territory of the United States, the Dis- trict of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any possession of the United States; If a species was brought into the US or traveled between states in "more than minimal quantities", it's on the initial whitelist. Notably, "minimal quantities" is not defined-- they have up to a year to decide that. Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall promulgate regulations to define the term ‘‘minimal quantities’’ for purposes of sub- section (d)(1)(A) of section 42 of title 18, United States Code, as added by subsection (a)(2).
Now, for all species that don't meet the "minimal quantities" cutoff (which could be anything), importation/travel is prohibited UNLESS: ‘‘(B) the Secretary of the Interior deter- mines, after an opportunity for public comment, that the species does not pose a significant risk of invasiveness to the United States and pub- lishes a notice in the Federal Register of the determination. We would have to convince the Secretary of the Interior that each species does not pose a risk of invasiveness to the United States as a whole. That means if it's a significant invasive risk in the deserts of California (which Mongolian gerbils are already determined to be), it won't be allowed to travel between any states. So the jird breeders in Texas could no longer exchange bloodlines with the jird breeders in Florida, even though jirds would never become established in the Florida climate. Besides that, it's notoriously difficult to prove a negative. How do you prove something is not a risk for invasiveness? You can only provide reasoning as to why it's unlikely, you can't prove it. So getting species added to the whitelist is going to be very difficult.
Violations of the Lacey Act can be prosecuted as federal felonies. Unfortunately, if this passes, a lot of species will be unable to access quality veterinary care (which is often in the next state over), and eventually die out in the US due to restricted gene pools.
So that part about 'in any state' could really be a bummer as like you say - the California rules are already tight.
BUT - if it is known that there are already no gerbils in California - and with the new rule they still can't travel there anyway - so could that be their saving grace - or at least part of the logical argument for their addition to the white list?
...and you are right - that 'in more than minimal quantities' is ridiculously subjective and vague.
Post by Shooting Star on Feb 16, 2022 15:41:55 GMT -8
Exotic pet ownership is already regulated by the states. In Florida, it's perfectly legal to own a tiger-- with the right permit, which requires demonstrating care knowledge as well as documented experience working with the species at a licensed facility. Whereas in Maine, you can't own Pygmy Mice, even with a permit. (Maine moved to a whitelist system in 2016.)
Exotic pets are pets that aren't domesticated. That includes all gerbils and jirds except for Mongolians.