What is our world coming to? We have government agencies on local, state and federal levels telling us (or trying to) what we can and can't do with our animals. Their efforts to save the animals "for future generations" need help. Aren't we part of that government? It seems like I remember something from school about "government f the people, by the people, and for the people." What happened to that philosophy? Does this mean that if most people don't like snakes then they should be against the law? With all the emphasis on minority rights these days I don't see how that can possibly be. So what can we do?
Don't you just love it when someone receiving salaries from tax dollars (your money) advises other "officials" who receive their salaries from tax dollars or fishing and hunting license fees (your money), that the "private person" (you, who pays their salaries) should not be allowed to sell "native reptiles" for a profit, even if they are captive produced? Are we going to be so stupid as to wait until animals we want are almost extinct or unavailable from the wild before we bring the last few into captivity to save them? The California Condor is a good example. Look at the public (you and me) money being spent to bring the last few into captivity and breed them in captivity (their only chance) to keep this great bird from going into extinction. If, 50 years ago, these birds had been allowed to be kept and bred we would still have enough to supplement the wild populations from captive-bred stock and the emergency, last-ditch-chance mentality wouldn't exist now. It's the same story with some of the hoofed mammals being captive-bred and released into the wild. We should be allowed to take wild stock (in limited numbers that wild populations could lose and still be viable), breed them, and sell the babies. We would pay our taxes on the profit. Those taxes wouldn't have to be spent later to finance "conservation through propagation" projects initiated by "officials" at great cost to us. There would be a genetic pool of many species in captivity available to supplement wild populations.
How do we accomplish this? Organize!! We have to convince the majority that although they may not like what we do, we are harmless to them, and we have a right to exist and to do what we are doing. How can we organize? By joining the AFH and other national organizations who have a grasp of the "big picture" and by joining and supporting your local herpetological society for regional affairs.
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