Statement on Pet Reptile Ownership
PIJAC has for many years supported the right of responsible pet owners to keep animals of their choosing, so long as reasonable measures are taken to protect human health and safety and the environment. Accordingly, PIJAC strongly opposes pet bans of any type and favors a more responsible and rational outlook on pet ownership that takes into account the setting, geography, expertise and experience of the owner. Large constrictors and monitors, venomous species, crocodilians, scorpions, spiders and tarantulas may not be the right pet for everyone, but certainly are appropriate for sophisticated keepers that demonstrate the expertise and experience to properly house and care for the animals, and provide for the safety of others (including first responders).
PIJAC is well acquainted with the strong bond between humans and their reptiles, a relationship not fully appreciated by all. Because of a wide misunderstanding of some reptile species and the remote possibility of injury/sickness to humans, the reptile industry (which includes hobbyists) operates under unique scrutiny.The industry is only one major incident away from devastatingknee-jerk reactions by government that mayjeopardize the livelihood of breeders, importers and retailers, and could deprive the hobbyist of the opportunity to enjoy these fascinating and beautiful animals.
In order to prevent reactionary responses by government authorities to accidents or perceived threats to public safety or the environment, PIJAC supports responsible reptile ownership. This entails a cooperative effort among members of the reptile community to follow industry-driven best management practices that ensure the health of the animals and reduce the risk of harm to human health and safety, as well as to the environment. For larger snakes and venomous reptiles, PIJAC may support meaningful requirements, such as appropriate caging, notification of first responders and development of critical incident plans.PIJAC rejects the notion that novice keepers should be able to own any type of reptile without knowledge of its husbandry needs, respect for best management practices, proper biosecurity measures and appropriate surroundings. This will only lead to the type of accident that could greatly damage the industry and hobby for everyone. Those that endorse “no rules, under any circumstances” for reptile ownership are taking the shorter view, one that is likely to jeopardize the right to own and enjoy reptiles for everyone.
Having stated PIJAC’s general policy, specific requirements on keepers are supported or opposed case-by-case based on the environmental, geographic,and political realities of a given issue, as well as the opinions and make-up of our membership. PIJAC is a membership organization and we look to the views of our dues-paying members through our internal committee and board processes. The best way to make your views known is to join PIJAC.
In summary, PIJAC staff has participated in and benefitted from the strong bond between humans and reptiles and we want others to continue to be able to enjoy that bond that comes fromowning and caring for reptiles of a keeper’s choosing.