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Posted by Kenny Wray on September 10, 2002 at 12:27:31:
Being fairly new to the DFW area (~5 years) I had heard all kinds of squabbling between people that I had casually met in the herp community over the formation of a new society in the area (DFW). I had previously been to the NTHS and found it typical of most societies, a nice society, but one that seemed driven by herpetoculturists, which wasn't for me. Then I had the oppurtunity to go to the DFW meetings and though small (which is often so much better), I found it very pleasant and unexpectantly to my liking. This was a club that I wanted to be involved in. In fact, one of the most impressive things about this club was the two founding members Michael Smith and Steve Campbell and the way they handled themselves during the formation of the new club. I never once heard anything but good things about the NTHS come from their mouths. It just seemed to me that their was a conflict of interests, one (NTHS) was rooted in herpetoculture, the other (DFW) wanted to plant itself in conservation and field herpetology. This made a deep, lasting impression on me.
But I have started to become very soured on the whole deal since this "competition" among herp shows. I have privately warned friends and others that this is exactly what would happen. The fact is both shows deal in wild caught animals and any claim otherwise is fraudulent. People are purposely being pitted against each other and manipulated into taking sides. This is ridiculous. I don't feel it is a good move for any herp society to be affiliated with a herp show in anyway. I have seen one of the largest herp societies in the states (Central Florida) fall apart, because of THE original herp show (the now Daytona Herp Show) all because of big business. The Gainesville Herp Society, once one of the greatest of herp societies, has now fell into ruins because of the agreement to allow venders (other than supplies and books) into the All Florida Herpetology Conference. I use to yearn to attend this 3 day event, once a year, to watch technical and nontechnical talks on herpetofauna, and conservation, and other educational events that were set up. It is now nothing more than a business that has chased away all remnants of what Walter Auffenberg and others once envisioned it to be.
Carl's better...Bonnie's better...Carl's better...Bonnie's better...It has no place here or (in my opinion as a former member) in the DFW herp society. As I understand it, DFW is a non-profit organization. Herp shows are big business. Of course Bonnie and James are angry (by the way, I don't know either of them) a large sum of money is at stake for them. Of course Carl is going to promote "The greatest show on earth", there's a large chunk of change at stake there too. But take it some place else, I want to see and here about things that matter. Okay, you say it does matter, because wild-caught versus captive-bred animals affects conservation. Well to a slight degree you are right. But there are captive animals at both shows and there are wild-caught animals at both shows. It happens, get over it. I mean, come on, c.b. Coleonyx brevis...yes it is possible, but unlikely for the same reasons that green iguanas will always be imported and sold...the profit margin on importing them is at least ten times greater than on captive bred animals. In fact, I have acquired wild-caught animals and know of other wild-caught animals sold at both shows. So if you like one show versus the other, like it for the right reasons. It is very unfortunate though, what is happening to the DFW herp society.