Re: NANFA-- Re: Snakeheads in SC

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Sun, 15 Sep 2002 14:06:17 -0400

> From: "Bruce Stallsmith"
> Subject: Re: NANFA-- Re: Snakeheads in SC
> Well, OK. We could get all worked up about the nanny state and other
> Libertarian feel-good issues. But there is a long-term problem in the pet
> hobby, that people buy small, cute animals that turn into large,
> hard-to-keep animals and letting them loose can seem a good idea. Everyone
> on this list has a pretty good idea that that's a bad idea, and in truth
> most animal hobbyists know that too. But it only takes a very few instances
> of ignoramuses releasing snakeheads or some other fishes and we all have a
> problem that's not easily fixed. How do you weigh my interest in not having
> any of the Channidae released into North American waters versus the interest
> of someone who wants to keep these fishes?

You are definitely right about there being no easy solutions to the
problem of people releasing potentially injurious exotics. Which means
prohibition is no panacea either. Especially considering the way so many
people would defy the ban with the tennacity of Moonman!

There was a good article in the last issue of Herp Digest I was tempted
to forward to the list a week or so ago. It was from a herpetologist in
Austrailia who compared the restrictive laws of one part of Australia
with states that granted keepers more leeway in keeping native species.
His findings suggested that where the hobbyists had the freedom to
operate openly there were less problems while in states with stricter
laws and harsher penalties the hobby just goes underground. The author
also suggested that laws resticting access to native Austrailian fauna
would reduce demand for exotic species which are often smuggled into the

Maybe we should consider such an approach for this country. Many states
have strict posession limits or have decommercialized native wildlife
which has commercial value and could be propagated sustainably by
private breeders. So instead of Box Turtles or Bowfins alot of people
have chosen to keep Green Iguanas or Snakeheads.

I don't keep snakeheads, but I feel for those like members of one of the
organizations I followed a link to when the Crofton MD story was front
page news. These are hobbyists who have built a dedication around
Channidae the way that people have dedicated themselves to native
fishes, or turtles, or snakes, or birds or orchids. I won't go into a
great excergisis about it but I'll paraphrase a Russian proverb - we
should be careful about digging a hole for someone else least we fall in
it ourselves.

As for "Libertarian feel-good issues" there is a common misconception
that laissez faire Libertarianism is a blank check for environmental
abuse. Far from it. If you were to ask Mary Ruwart (Healing our World)
about the snakehead incident in Maryland I gurantee she will tell you
that pollution- even biological pollution is an assult on the rights of
others and that person who realeased those fish should be held
responsible for the financial cost of containing and cleaning up the
infestation and restoring the pond to it's original state!

Bruce- A monitor lizard is probably good for rodent control in a
greenhouse but I can imagine he'd be hell on the plants - esp as he gets


lFrom the academic standpoint, of course, the most grevious sin of these
amatures was simply that of any amature with regard to any established
profession. They were self-appointed, self-educated, uninitiated by the
guild, uncircumcised by the preisthood...n

Mr Thoggosh : L. Neil Smithms lForge of the Eldersn.
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