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Nonnative Species Bill Needs Changes, Sponsor Says

H.R. 669, a bill restricting nonnative species, needs to be changed before progressing.

SmallAnimalChannel News Division
Posted: May 1, 2009, 5:00 a.m. EDT

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Madeleine Bordallo of Guam, sponsor of H.R. 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act, and chairman of the Congressional subcommittee that heard the legislation in April, acknowledged the legislation needs to be changed before it progresses further.

Her acknowledgment came toward the end of the April 23 hearing and reflected the results of a grass-roots protest against the legislation from the pet industry and pet owners.

Subcommittee members said they received thousands of calls, e-mails and letters from pet owners and others urging defeat of the legislation, which could mandate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to approve or disapprove most nonnative animal species, including birds, fish, reptiles and small mammals, for importation and trade within the United States.  

“It is clear that committee members from both sides of the aisle heard from the pet-owning public about their concerns with this bill,” said Marshall Meyers, CEO and general counsel of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, who testified at the hearing. “We’re extremely grateful to the thousands of groups who galvanized their members … PIJAC will continue working with members of the subcommittee, the Executive Branch, and other stakeholders to ensure the process proceeds in a transparent, inclusive and strategic manner.”

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Reader Comments
I GREW UP on Guam. Bordallo is WELL KNOWN to be an overacting, Prima Donna....Her Bill ,though *IS* actually understandable in the context of *GUAM* but NOT the whole country...( The entire time I grew up,the weekly,then monthly ..then somewhat "Rare" Poweroutages were blamed on SNAKES(!?)...NEVER once the simple fact the local utility company employees were at fault and just like a LOT of "goverment" workers...(Incompetent and not held accountable)
Regardless, a small island (212 sq miles ) CAN be over run quickly by an invasive species...And her attempt to control it IS a good idea. BUT(!) She should not be so quick to speak for the whole country ( I myself think she only was Thinking about Guam in the first place..Just wasn't smart enough to specify that in the text of the Bill)
She may well have been considering *pets* outta the equation....but that is NOT how it is written...and all those who join in the backing of such a bill---and doing so WITHOUT insisting on rewording it so that petowner's are 'covered' or exempt or whatever---are just proving to everyone how little they pay attention to what they're signing. she is NOT the person who should be involved in this kind of bill at all...
william, southern, CA
Posted: 5/14/2009 5:06:05 PM
Chairwoman Bordallo also made it clear right at the beginning, during her opening remarks, that pet owners are not the focus of this bill, that the bill is just at the beginning of the legislative process, and that the bill will change. She was rather emphatic about this.

The other thing people who are not familiar with this bill and/or did not attend the hearing or watch the video webcast need to understand is that literally EVERYONE involved with this issue agrees that nonnative invasive wildlife needs to be regulated, and they have all taken pains to indicate said agreement. No one involved with this issue disputes this except for people on the fringes who do not have a proper understanding of either what nonnative wildlife have done to various ecosystems in the United States or of how bills are made into law at the federal level. The disagreements stem, as they often do, from how best to resolve the problem from a legislative perspective.

The AFA and other small mammal advocacy groups are very optimistic that all concerns regarding HR 669 will be reflected in amendments to the bill. The ad hominem-style attacks that are proliferating on the internet against anyone who supports even the general concept of managing nonnative invasive species are counterproductive and unhelpful. The AFA has a special concern for accuracy in terms of this issue because of the history of the domestic ferret being caught up in legislative debates over dangerous and/or invasive wild animals, a genuine concern but one that ferrets have nothing to do with.

You can read the current text of HR 669, any amendments that are created, a list of cosponsors (now numbering 29), and the bill's progress through Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov, a website run by the Library of Congress specifically for the purpose of providing official information for the public on all pieces of proposed federal legislation.

David Gaines
Director, Legal and Legislative Affairs
American Ferret Association
www.ferret.org
David Gaines, Rockville, MD
Posted: 5/1/2009 10:00:07 AM
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