New Venomous Reptile Regulations in Florida
Please take the very short 6 question survey!
Deadline July 27! Open to in-state and out-of-state residents.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is currently rewriting Florida's venomous reptile keeping regulations. A group of professionals and stakeholders has been chosen to assist in this task. This group is the Venomous Reptile Technical Assistance Group (VRTAG). USARK holds a seat at this table.
At this point, it is unclear if FWC will follow the suggestions of the VRTAG. While the VRTAG should be wholly utilized by FWC staff to help grasp venomous reptile biology and husbandry, the animals are still very misunderstood. Lifetimes of experience (some VRTAG members holding decades of knowledge) cannot be properly absorbed in a couple meetings, especially if VRTAG voices are not met with open minds.
Now, without sharing their plan to do so with the VRTAG or asking for their input, FWC has released a public opinion survey of only 6 questions with no background information. The survey does not mention that private keepers of venomous reptiles must meet the same standards as accredited zoological institutions, venom production laboratories, and professional research facilities. The requirements needed to keep venomous snakes in Florida are beyond stringent. And now, following the escape of two snakes by irresponsible keepers who did not have appropriate caging or secondary containment (as presented by the VRTAG), the entirety of the venomous keeping community is being punished.
Please take the survey (can be taken in 2 minutes or less) and realize that it is no easy feat to meet the requirements for the venomous reptile license in Florida. The survey does not mention 20 pages of regulations, proof of experience, FWC inspections and all the other criteria before anyone can obtain a license to legally have these species of venomous snakes and lizards. Even "personal use" keepers with one snake must follow the same regulations, get the same inspections, and surpass the same barriers as zoos and large venom labs.
Florida already has the most exhaustive venomous regulation in the U.S. Now, additional regulation and even a ban are in talks. While we do hope FWC will listen to the science-based, common-sense recommendations of the VRTAG which will properly address all issues, we're quite unsure why they are requesting large amounts of skewed data from an uneducated general public.
If keepers prove their professionalism, responsibility, and adeptness to maintain these animals in a completely safe environment with secondary containment, should they not be allowed the freedom to do so? We are not intending to coach or persuade you in any manner. We are simply providing some basic background information which should have been included as a preface to the survey.
Survey LINK: http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VR-Rule
The FWC has also created a link for recommendations from the public on this subject at http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/capti ... endations/.
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