Join Date: Apr-2002
Location: Calgary, AB
Jeez, Nett! Way to start something!!
Ok, I tried to read as much of the subsequent responses as I could, but as has already been stated, forgive me if I repeat a thing or two.
First off, I have to admit that I support the restriction of the rampant collection of WC herps for the retail market. While I agree with much of the initial statement presented, I believe that some sort of compromise can be reached that will satisfy both sides of the argument.
It might sound like an "I told you so", but anyone that knows me has read or heard me warning of this very development for some time. All the indicators have been in place and the atmosphere ripe for outside intervention for years. It should really come as no surprise that this sort of action has been proposed.
I fully believe that the majority of pet herps are kept in less than adequate conditions, I see it or hear about it almost every day. While I do as much as I can for mine, I'm no expert either and I'm sure there's room for improvement around here too. One only has to go as far as the nearest herp related forums to get a good idea of the general lack of knowledge and flawed husbandry practices prevalent in the community. I'm quite sure WSPA used our own communication networks to gather evidence in support of their cause.
Why here? That's pretty basic... We have no unity, no collective voice, no cooperation, and above all, no multimillion dollar herp related industry. WSPA could never launch this in the US or even Europe as the big dollar herp trade players would squash them like crickets with superior financed legal counters. Canada has maybe a handful of wholesale dealers and an equal number of distibutors of US and Euro made products. The market is simply too small to warrant defense from corporate interests.
As for the unity, etc. : If we could channel all the energy and dedication that we reserve for the verbal riots that regularly occur and focus it on a common goal, we would actually have strong representation. As some of you have already stated, the only truly effective means to countering this threat is with an equally organized and unified argument against it. I think this approach would have a far greater impact than any letter writing campaign undertaken by individuals. That's not meant to discount the significance of the letter writing, however. The flood of mail directed to the associated legislative body has always been a good way to make a point in a "democratic" society.
As far as the skin/meat arguments go, you're wasting your time trying point fingers. WSPA wouldn't have the proverbial snowball's chance by strolling into Indonesia or Madagascar and trying to impose their views on the populace. In all likelihood, they would wind up vanishing in the jungle never to be heard from again. The Cdn hobby has only existed for a very short time, maybe 30 years at best and less than half of that has been mainstream as opposed to existing on the fringe. The old world traditions have been around for thousands of years and are inextricably woven into the social and cultural fabrics of their respective regions. We are embryonic by comparison, and as such, we make a pretty good fish in a barrel.
Picking apart the credibilty or background of the lobbyist in question, I believe, is also a wasted effort. That's fine for discrediting a witness in court, but in this case it won't make any difference. If anything, it makes our argument appear weaker if we have to resort to that as opposed to offering valid, educated counterpoints. We're already have enough problems with the perceptions of the general public and the popular press, I don't think we need to tarnish that image any more than it already is.
Think this is just the beginning? I think you're right. As everyone is already aware, numerous provinces, states, and municipalities have been passing bylaws and ordinances in recent years banning exotics. These groups, including WSPA, are merely following the path of least resistance, a standard grassroots approach. Precedent has been established on a smaller scale, and now its time to take it to the federal level. If they succeed here, you can be sure that the next time the SPCA tries something similar in the US or Britain, they'll have a stronger case by citing WSPA's example.
Wanna do something about it? Well, many of you are already on the right path, just do it together and don't start bickering amongst yourselves or you'll wind up coming off like the Keystone Kops. Also, be prepared for some sacrifices. I've been informed that this is the fourth consecutive attempt on WSPA's part to shut the door. Every time they get turned back, they reword their proposal and submit it again, so I don't anticipate that they will get bored and go away. Some changes will take place, for better or worse.
Ultimately, we've had this coming. We've chosen to disregard or ignore events and situations that reflect directly on us for too long. Instead of taking some action or voicing opposition to unethical, immoral, or flat out illegal activities, we've left ourselves wide open for attack. While we've allowed ourselves to get bogged down in childish battles over trivial issues, someone's been quietly gathering support and momentum to stop the slaughter, (and it is slaughter) that we've opted to overlook.
I do believe its time to put up or shut up!
Lowell M. Shaw aka WM
Revenge is a dish best served cold...
With a side plate of steaming entrails,
And a nice Bordeaux!