Marshall Meyers, CEO and general counsel of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, will be the sole private sector spokesperson at Thursday’s hearing (April 23, 2009) on H.R. 669, PIJAC reported.
Moreover, the trade group reports that Congressional staff members “have contacted special interest groups outside the pet industry to advise them they are not the intended target of this bill.”
Dubbed the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act, the legislation would mandate that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service create lists of “approved” and “non-approved” species for import into and trade within the United States.
Meyers will be testifying against the bill in its current form.
Among PIJAC’s reasons for opposing the bill is that the prescribed risk assessment process does not consider the socio-economic impact of the bill. In addition, the legislation requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to automatically consider a species “disapproved” until proven to be of no potential risk to native wildlife, economic interests or human or animal health. Moreover, the legislation does not provide adequate resources to conduct such risk assessments.
The legislation could effectively stop trade in many species currently kept as pets, including most ornamental fish (such as koi), most reptiles, most birds and many small mammals, such as hamsters and ferrets.
PIJAC reminded interested parties to continue voicing their opposition to the legislation as the hearing approaches.