Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. We’ve had a lot happening in our personal life. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, so forgive me if I jump around.
First, had a great weekend at Repticon Knoxville. Thanks to all who helped at the table. Also thank you to all of you who stopped to say hello. We met a lot of new people, picked up a few new members, and Greg did a bunch of networking and PR discussions all weekend. We were able to display a wide variety of animals. Felita and I brought beardies, boas and an Iguana. Jason and Jackie Estep showed off their Silkie and even some roaches. Greg and Angelia brought their boa. Gary, (Urich Hunt), displayed several Balls. Suzanne Minter brought her crestie complete with set-up.We had the table right beside Christopher Richards with Black Frog Exotics, so we actually had a majority of the admins in one location. Several other area members were there vending also. All together we had a good time.
Unfortunately, we did receive some bad news while we were there. Due to a multi-use venue and unaccepting public, Repticon in Knoxville as well as Nashville/Franklin are forced to find new venues if we are to continue having these shows. If any of you have suggestions of more herp friendly venues that might work with them, please let one of us know. As of Sunday, the next Knoxville show is still a go but that might change.
There have been some positive signs on the national level for our hobby. USARK has filed their amended complaint in the Lacey Lawsuit and are still sounding very confident that the bans will be overturned. Any of you familiar with the American legal system will know that the fight is far from over. The paper battle could continue for several more rounds before they ever make it into court. We can’t get discouraged because other entities within the reptile community seem to want to attack anything short of a knockout by the USARK legal team. There is a long back story to this other groups actions and I can say it is mostly sour grapes.
Illinois is on the verge of having what has been called one of the most herp friendly legislations in the nation. SB902 needs one more pass through the state senate before it hits the Governor’s desk to become official. This legislation was molded by the combined efforts of their wildlife agency, in-state herp societies and USARK working together. From what I’ve heard, the majority are pleased with the way it is working out.
And finally, what I feel is the brightest note, HSUS has reached a nearly $16 million settlement in their RICO lawsuit. This means they have essentially admitted to paying a witness to give false testimony against the circus. Hopefully this will open the door for the IRS to scrutinize their 501(c)(3) status and could also allow the state Attorney Generals to investigate their false advertising. It also exposes how they are REALLY spending all of their ill-gotten donations. With any luck, this will slow down the wildfire of anti-animal legislation we have been seeing the last few years.
We currently have several members actively rescuing and/or reaching the public in educational settings. I, personally, having begun contacting different individuals and agencies here locally in an attempt to establish ourselves in both these areas. At this point in time, this should be our main focus. Something as simple as discussing our animals with coworkers has the potential to reach farther than we realize. While making appearances at shows helps us get our name out there, it is a little like preaching to the choir. We should continue to take advantage of any opportunities we are given. If we learn of a chance but are unable to follow through, speak up and maybe another member can.
Hopefully, I will be able to keep this blog a little more active in the future. Until next time, Happy Herping!