Bill Brant speaks on the Snake Bans and USARK

Dec 11, 2013
The Reptile Report
by Bill Brant

The Reptile Report - Hello All,

You may be aware of some of the online conversations in recent days regarding the potential listing of additional constrictor species as Injurious Wildlife by the USFWS. There is the potential to list an additional three species of Anacondas, and most damaging to the entire reptile community, the Reticulated Python and the Boa Constrictor. There may be a tendency on the part of a gecko keeper or colubrid snake keeper to say ” this is not my fight, I don’t keep large constrictors”. I think that is flawed thinking. This is everyone’s fight. As you know, when the Burmese python was listed, it basically killed that portion of the hobby and business. The same will be true if the additional five species are listed. If that happens, it will embolden certain special interest groups to influence regulators and legislators to eliminate additional species from our hobby. In essence, the nine constricting species will just become the first dominoes to fall in long list of species that could include your favorite reptile pet that you are passionate about.

I have felt for quite some time that we as a hobby/industry would need to take a stand and challenge the listing of the Burmese python and other constrictors as Injurious Wildlife. We all know that ultimately the way to deal with a bully is to stand up to them and challenge them. This is the time to do just that. The USFWS needs to be challenged NOW. Leading up to the Burmese python listing, USARK laid an excellent foundation to do just that. They had the foresight to get the legal “ducks in a row” to challenge the listing. When I refer to dealing with a bully, I don’t mean that we solve it in typical schoolyard manner of name calling or a punch in the face. I am referring to a proper legal challenge. In addition to laying the proper paperwork foundation during the challenge process, USARK has employed the legal and lobbying firm of Kelley Drye. They are a well respected Washington firm that understands the steps necessary to challenge the flawed ruling that USFWS announced in January, 2012.

So now to answer a few questions.

Why now? Because this is the time to give USFWS the message that our industry is prepared to fight a decision that was based on flawed science and was championed by organizations with an agenda of no private possession of reptiles.

What are Bill and Marcia Brant doing personally? Yesterday I contacted Phil Goss, the President of USARK and committed $5,000 to the USARK Reptile Defense Fund. This is a fund that has just been set up to pay for the legal work necessary to properly challenge the the existing rule on constrictors, and any future ruling that may come about. I also contacted Ben Siegel, who runs a Facebook reptile auction. We offered to donate a male Highway Ball Python if he would direct 100% of the auction amount for the Highway Ball to the USARK Reptile Defense Fund. Ben graciously agreed to do that. I am hopeful that someone will purchase the animal for $10,000 and it will further benefit this very worthy cause. Even if it auctions for less, someone will get a valuable animal and a worthy cause will be served.

What can you do? Please consider contributing to the USARK Reptile Defense Fund. You can do it online at the USARK website: , or mail a check to: USARK Reptile a Defense Fund,3650 Sacramento Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401. Please bear in mind that any amount will help. $10, $20 or more. I have been told by some that they plan on contributing much more. I know that this is not a convenient time of year to come up with more money, but this is the time to act. Another thing you can do is forward this email to your friends in the reptile community. We all need to help. Thank you for your consideration on this very important appeal.


Bill Brant

The Gourmet Rodent

The Animal Company

And remember; “The world is run by people who just show up”. In this case, showing up may mean contributing to the fund or forwarding this email to someone who will.

Happy Holidays!