Hello everyone. I’m pleased to announce some organizational changes that have occurred. As of today, Michael Jarrell (Chattanoogareptilegroup Hixsontn) has agreed to take on the role of Coordinator/Spokesperson for the Chattanooga/Southeast Tennessee region. Chris (Milsoft Signs) and Kathy Miller have agreed to fill the same role for the Memphis/West Tennessee region. These positions are key in helping CHET achieve a statewide presence. Most of you who follow our progress should be familiar with these individuals, as they are active members of the reptile community. As I am located in Northeast Tennessee and Greg is in East Tennessee also, having admins in other regions will help with organizing local events, coordinating CHET based happenings and staying current with local laws. We continue trying to locate the proper individual to assume these duties in the Central Tennessee area, this is a big step toward being where we want to be. Please join us in saying welcome to these people. Any suggestions or comments about local happenings can be directed to any of us, but it provides the option of working locally when that is best.
Now that the good news is out there, let me discuss some rather disturbing news. The Animal Law Committee, a division of the American Bar Association, has released a document suggesting stricter exotic animal laws. The document is extremely similar to the exotic bans seen in various states across our country. It would ban ownership of several classes of exotics, including many reptiles. While this, by no means, does not make these suggestions laws, it is disturbing that the governing body that our lawyers answer to could consider taking a stance like this. I would suggest contacting any lawyers you have dealings with to state your concerns.
This Committee is manned by, mainly, lawyers who have been historically linked to “animal rights” groups such as HSUS and the Animal Defense Fund. It is extremely important that we understand the difference between “animal rights” and “animal welfare” groups. Animal Welfare is the concern that no animal is mistreated or abused. These people do rescue work, education and other activities meant to enhance the lives of animals. Animal Rights concern themselves with eventually stopping all interaction between humans and animals. They feel that animals should not be pets, service animals, livestock, entertainers or any other purpose man might come up with. It is the Rights groups who are attacking our hobby by posing as the Welfare movement. Reptiles just happen to be the “easy” target due to the overwhelming fear of snakes and the sensational pieces the media favors. It is very important that we all understand the distinction so that we can educate those we interact with.
Another recent occurrence that bears watching is the naming of Ed Sayres to the position of CEO at PIJAC, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. Ed was formerly President and CEO of the ASPCA and appeared to be anti-reptile. Although he has expressed his concern with the well-being of the reptile industry, his past leaves PIJAC’s role going forward in question. While I am not going to immediately condemn Ed or PIJAC, it is surely something that needs our studied observation.
As always, thank you for reading this. Until next time, Happy Herping.