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Posted by Ivory Tortoise on February 27, 2003 at 20:52:48:
In Reply to: FDA forced look at 4-inch turtle regulation immediately! posted by Ivory Tortoise on February 25, 2003 at 20:18:52:
Why I brought Up This Issue
(In more detail)
The 108th Congress is essentially asking the FDA why they have a ban on turtles that are less than 4-inches (due to Salmonella) when all reptiles can carry Salmonella. Why have baby turtles been specifically picked on?
The wording “The occurrence of Salmonella is frequent in all reptiles sold as pets” is not mine but the wording chosen by Congress. There are two issues at stake:
1. The question of lifting the ban on the sale of baby turtles or a least amending the regulation.
2. The question of reptiles and Salmonella (asked by the 108th Congress).
There has been a dialogue with the FDA for many years concerning Salmonella and baby turtles. The FDA is aware that Salmonella free turtles can be produced and that there is a product that can be added to a turtle’s water to help keep them free of Salmonella. My “Citizen’s Petition” is only one part of the equation. The “House Joint Resolution No. 2” forces the FDA to look at the question of Salmonella and Reptiles by directing the FDA to respond to my “Citizen’s Petition”.
I understand that many people are completely opposed to the sale of baby turtles (and all animals) for humanitarian reasons. That is not the issue here. The issue is, does the distribution of baby turtles pose a risk of spreading Salmonella. Many people would like to see the regulation stay in place as a means of addressing their personal (and valid) but unrelated concern of unqualified people purchasing them. It is as if to say we don’t want people to shop at Wal-Mart so we will ban cars because they are unsafe, thus preventing people a way of getting to Wal-Mart. Not too many years ago it was suggested that the red-ear slider be added to the “Endangered Species List” for the same reason of restricting their distributing around the world. This type of thinking will eventually take our freedom away.
It is simple to just ban the sale of all animals to assure that none are mistreated. It is very simple to remove the choice from everyone (qualified or not). Technically speaking this is almost the case for all captive-bred turtles. It is the loose interpretation of the regulation and its lenient enforcement that allows us to captiv-breed turtles and tortoises, and distribute them in the US.
Whether we like it or not the 108th Congress has tied the issue of Salmonella and turtles to all reptiles. The FDA will address this issue. We need to let our voice be heard. If we don’t speak up I can assure you that those that are opposed to keeping reptiles as pets will and have voiced their opinion.