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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Charlotte, NC

    Default Please read! HR669

    Here is the letter sent out to AFC membership from AFC President Jim Ingram.

    __________________________________________________ ________

    Dear American Falconry Conservancy membership,

    The board composed the attached letter and it was faxed to all of the members on the committee below. I am sending this list so each of you may compose a letter to be sent or you may call their office to discuss with them how you feel about HR 669.

    Thanks, Jim


    To send to MS. Bordallo ASAP. Her e-mail address is:

    This is a list of the members of the Subcommittee on Insular affairs, specific e-mail addresses for each of these members can be obtained by googling the name in case members want to forward messages or copies of this letter to their Representatives.

    Majority Members (Democrats)
    Member Name
    DC Phone
    DC FAX

    Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) [Chair]

    Dale E. Kildee (D-MI)

    Eni F. H. Faleomavaega (D-AS)

    Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)

    Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)

    Gregorio Camacho (Kilili) Sablan (I-MP)

    Donna M. Christensen (D-VI)

    Diana DeGette (D-CO)

    Ron Kind (D-WI)

    Lois Capps (D-CA)

    Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)

    Frank Kratovil, Jr. (D-MD)

    Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR)

    Minority Members (Republicans)
    Member Name
    DC Phone
    DC FAX

    Henry E. Brown, Jr. (R-SC) [Ranking Republican Member]

    Don Young (R-AK)

    Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

    Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

    Robert J. Wittman (R-VA)

    John Fleming (R-LA)

    Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)

    Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

    __________________________________Letter below

    Honorable Madeleine Z. Bordallo April 22, 2009
    Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife
    House Committee on Natural Resources
    187 Ford House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    RE: H.R.669; The Non-Native Wildlife Prevention Act

    On behalf of the American Falconry Conservancy (AFC), a national organization representing American falconers, I would like to comment on H.R. 669. We oppose H.R. 669 as written and urge the Subcommittee to oppose the legislation.
    We also oppose HR 669 due to the damage it will do to the rights of pet keepers and animal lovers here in America, and to a large segment of our economy. It will affect millions of Americans who love non-native pets and wish to have continued access to these animals. This bill represents an unjustifiable means of protecting the safety and interests of this nation. If certain non-native species are demonstrably harmful to the North American environment, then create a list of those species that are harmful and prohibit those species from crossing our borders. To prohibit access to the thousands of types of tropical fish and other species that have been commonly kept as pets for a hundred or more years, with no ill-effects to the environment or other native species, is to deny Americans the pursuit of their happiness since many Americans derive considerable happiness through their interaction with animals of every sort.

    HR 669 proposes that a list of “approved” exotics will be required before “allowance” of importation of individuals from those “approved” species. This is a reversal of our system of government where all activities are allowed unless explicitly prohibited, and which are grounded in justifiable reasoning – at least this was the intent of the Framers. If an activity is or has the potential of being prejudicial to society, then that activity can be prohibited or regulated. Where exotic animals cause harm to society or the environment, government should and does have the authority to either prohibit or regulate it. Where no harm has been demonstrated, government has NO authority to prohibit or regulate an activity. The vast majority of exotic species commonly kept as pets in this country fall within this benign category – far too large a list for government officials to compile. Therefore, sound policy dictates that only those animals legitimately identified as harmful are legally within the scope of government regulatory authority.

    This bill takes the approach that all non-native species are guilty of harm to the environment and therefore must be proven innocent. This certainly is contradictory of our judicial principle of innocent until proven guilty. However, it does serve the animal prohibitionist/protectionist agenda since the federal government will never be able to “prove” the innocence of so many non-native species. Many non-native animal species are held in large numbers by millions of Americans. This bill would ban the keeping of goldfish and koi carp, hamsters and canaries to list just a few. The effect it would have on hundreds of small businesses would be devastating. HR 669 will certainly cause severe economic damage to significant segments of our economy. In addition, for those individuals who would want to see their favorite pets included on this list but lack the evidence or information for government to establish a ruling upon, how can that governmental agency determine if a species is not going to be harmful? And if they can’t determine if a given species will not be harmful, they won’t be at liberty to decide if that species can be added to the “approved list.” Arbitrariness will rule decisions.

    Since there are federal regulators who mistakenly take the position that Constitutional protections do not apply to regulations, but only to statutes, we need definitive listing criteria that will limit the ability of hostile or overzealous regulators from making draconian regulatory interpretations. Any amendment of current statutory provisions (we don’t need new statutes to deal with this problem) dealing with harmful exotics should incorporate wording that specifies guidelines and requirements that the regulatory agency must adhere to in order to demonstrate that a given species is harmful.

    An excellent example of a group of non-native species with a demonstrated history of never causing problems are the various species of birds of prey (raptors) trained by falconers. Falconers have imported and exported raptors all over the world for at least 1,500 years, and there has never been a single recorded instance of any non-native raptor ever becoming established as a resident exotic species or causing environmental problems anywhere.

    AFC recognizes that some exotic species have or reasonably may become, established as non-native species doing damage to native ecosystems. Should the Subcommittee determine that it is necessary to provide a legislative solution to this problem, AFC would like the opportunity to offer testimony and viable solutions before the Subcommittee. AFC believes that a reasonable list of the screening criteria used to make these determinations should be defined by Congress and included in the legislation as passed. In those cases where species have the potential to do harm to our environment is the proper place for government power to be applied. A statute such as HR 669, should it pass in it’s present form leaves such decisions totally to the discretion of the regulatory agency. We do not believe that USF&WS is adequately prepared to deal with the complexity of this issue, and will be unable to adequately craft the necessary regulations. As presented, H.R. 669 will cause virtually all citizens who keep pets other than a dog or a house cat to suffer under the sting of arbitrary government.

    The American Falconry Conservancy would like to re-state our opposition to H.R. 669, and ask that these comments be entered into the Subcommittee’s permanent record. Thank you for your consideration of our comments regarding this matter.


    Dr. James Ingram
    American Falconry Conservancy
    Last edited by jhausman; 04-29-2009 at 06:39 PM. Reason: Typo
    Jason Hausman - AFC Moderator
    Tundra Peregrine Falcon, Red-Tailed Hawk & German Shorthaired Pointer

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