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Old 01-22-03, 05:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jan-2003
Location: Boston, MA
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Protecting the hobby from within.

I'm not certain how things stand on this situation in Canada but here in the United States there is a pressing need to temper that desire to see bad dealers put out of business with a bit of caution as to how one goes about it. There are too many third party organizations here that are more than happy to see the reptile industry halted and destroyed, it makes it almost unsafe to make public comments about the bad guys in the industry because these organizations will jump all over any excuse to shut the pet trade down as a whole.

An easy and recent example can be found in California- the city of San Francisco took the Petco corporation to court over the conditions the local stores were keeping the reptiles in. Seems like a good situation, right? A retailer that was displaying inappropriate care conditions (this can be said of the stores in San Francisco, I'm not willing to categorize the entire chain in that light) is being shut down, made to take responsibility for their actions, tremendous victory... except... That court case strongly influenced public opinion. By public opinion I do not mean the opinion of those within the herp industry, I mean Joe Shmoe off the street corner who thinks black racers will roll into a hoop and chase you... This opened the door for those radical organizations to propose and introduce legislation that damages the industry as a whole, rather than just targeting that group of bad guys.

I fully agree that bad dealers/breeders/brokers and even bad hobbyists should be removed from their practices but I feel it should be a predominantly internal matter. With better public education from people who actually want to see the herp industry flourish as a whole in a positive manner, those bad guys will eventually be found out, outed as INDIVIDUALS rather than as falsely representative individuals of the industry as a whole and they will eventually go away as it becomes impossible for them to make money. Sure new bad guys are always going to drop up, some fool who thinks that he's had an original thought to rip people off, but as education becomes better and internal regulation becomes stronger (I do not mean regulation in the sense of formulated codes of behavior or action, I simply mean the industry looking out for itself) those people will have a harder and harder time getting away with it. The fact remains that the herp industry (in the united states anyway) is still MOSTLY a lot of people who already have reptiles buying or selling more reptiles, there is an increasing number of keepers who do not fit the traditional mold of a "reptile guy" or "snake lady" but it remains the responsibility of the educated and experienced individuals to guide the industry as a whole.

Basically what I meant by all of that was... education from those directly involved with the industry is far better than regulation from any outside source. Education covers not just basic care but ethics, morals, responsibility and the sharing of positive or negative experiences with individuals within the hobby.

Just as a bit of a side note; I personally don't see anything wrong with the legal collection of wild specimens for resale. The captive populations do need an influx of "new blood" to maintain genetic diversity (look at bearded dragons) and proper health, the collection is approved and legal in certain numbers that have been determined by multiple sources to be safe to collect without damaging the wild populations and the individuals who take the time to get wild caught animals dewormed, feeding and into sellable condition deserve whatever minimal markup they choose to add.

The above statements constitute my opinions, opinions I am willing to debate for what they are, but not something I am stating everyone should unthinkingly agree with, I am merely presenting my thoughts on the matters.
-Seamus Haley
"Genes, Like Leibnitz's monads, have no windows; the higher properties of life are emergent... And once assembled, organisms have no windows." - Edward Wilson, Sociobiology
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