In reality I probably thought I’d see this day come, yet I was still in denial. Maybe it was the promise of “fight” that we were putting up, maybe it was me just being naive. Yet, when the announcement came and four species of the “big” snakes that I have kept and bred for most of my life are now on the Lacey act and will be banned from crossing state lines, I was till shocked. How did we come to this? Last I checked our country was in pretty bad shape financially. Unemployment at high rates, housing market in a mess, yet our government feels that one of the most pressing things to worry about are “big” snakes. Mind you the only problem with big snakes are in South Florida, not “all” of Florida, but south Florida. Their brilliant solution for this so called problem that takes up less then 1% of our country…. is to punish everyone and stop the interstate traffic of these four species.
Sure you can still keep your pet Burmese Python, but pray you never want to move out of state or get a job transfer to another state. Because that long term “pet” snake will not be making the trip with you… What about our military? People that are willing to risk their lives for our freedom, yet will not have the freedom to take their pet snake when they get transferred to another base. Have the politicians really thought this out? Do they have a clue what they are doing? The short answer is… NO. What they have are special interest groups like HSUS that have done an incredible job of “selling” their snake oil to the law makers. Of course if you read or listen to their argument, it’s ridiculous, but the law makers are eating it up like it’s written in the bible. Do they really believe what they are being sold, or do they just follow those special interest groups because of huge donations? I would think the latter. Should be we mad at HSUS? Not really, in a way I respect them. They are better then we are at selling their agenda. Of course they have deeper pockets, but I think it’s as much about “selling” what they think. Let me ask you… When was the last time “our” message was on a late night show? How about a national radio show? Have we tried to reach out to these news organizations to “sell” our message? Not that I’m aware of. Truth be told, I have tried personally, but I’m just a guy that breeds snakes. We need our organizations to do a better job of “selling” the public on what we believe and know to be the truth.. There is no victory here…. We lost four species of snakes from our hobby. We should not be chest pumping that we saved anything… I’m a supporter of USARK and PIJAC and I can not imagine how hard their job is, but we can not try to spin this as a victory. This is so far from a victory it’s not even funny.
For people that have been in this hobby for as long as I have, you might remember that this hobby was born from the explosion if the Burmese Python market. That’s right, if it wasn’t for the “investment” boom of albino, green, labrynth, and other Burmese Pythons in the 90’s this hobby would look completely different, yet we can sit here and say that it’s okay that we just “lost” them for the rest of eternity? Well, I’m not calling this anything but what it is. We got our asses kicked by the other side…. Now the question is, are we going to do something about it or are we going to continue business as usual? Because if the best we can do is send emails off to the president then we might as well give up now. Do you think our president cares one bit about your “big” snakes? Come on people…. wake up. We have to change peoples perspectives on snakes and what they mean to all of us. We have to educate the public on the income they bring into this country, the jobs they create. I’m not bashing the organizations for dropping the ball, they did the best with the hand they were dealt. I’m just saying if we as a community don’t start joining together and stop the bullshit that we have been doing for the past several years, then we are all doomed and we might as well give up now. If people in this hobby spent 10% of the time they spend posting bullshit on the BOI about stupid shit and spent 10% of the time that people use lying about competitors just to make themselves look better and instead used that time on helping save our hobby, then USARK and PIJAC could actually have the resources they need to “win” these battles.
I’m so frustrated with so many things that have happened in the hobby in the past several years. The way it’s turned into a grade school mentality. This is not what it once was, when we respected others, we appreciated the success of our rivals. If we don’t get our shit together people there will be no hobby to protect ten years from now. I’m willing to do way more then my share…. But we have to all be in this together. I pray that this is the turning point where we can look back and say we started to take our hobby back. But that means we all have to change, we all have to do more. We have to be on the same team. You can’t tell me we can’t fund raise more? We can recruit people in the limelight better. I know for a fact that tons of celebrities keep reptiles, yet I have yet to see a commercial with them saying they like or respect reptiles… If we do not change public perception we are doomed.
I’ll apologize for my rant, but today feels like a look into the dismantling of our hobby. Is this the first domino to fall or are we going to stop this shit now…….