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Zac...First of all... (This will be long...)


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Posted by Lisa on February 19, 2002 at 04:46:14:

How dare you! Heck! (not the word I WANT to use!) You didn't even say hi - I thought I might have seen you from across the room, but lost you in the crowd. I wasn't even sure you were there!

If you didn't want to be a member (which was free for you, since you gave a talk last year) all you had to do was say so.

A Heads up - members don't have to pay the entrance fee - and Monroeville raised their prices - so don't make comments like that unless you have the facts. And don't criticize if you aren't willing to back it up by helping out - with the show OR other areas of the society. Put your money where your mouth is.

Second of all - to people who don't know any better - we are ALL crazy for keeping *ANY* herps - and many people are trying to pass laws to prevent us from keeping ANY. That includes gartersnakes and cornsnakes as well. For example - how many people say that your watersnakes are all "copperheads" and should all be chopped up with a hoe? If it disturbs you so much that people consider herpers "crazy", maybe you should have confronted them and straightened them out, or just not keep them. If I hear people make those kinds of comments, I *always* confront and correct them, by trying to educate them. The way I see it if you have the knowledge that they don't have, and you don't try to share it with them, you must agree with them.

The LAW is you must be 18 years of age to buy hots. Period. Like Todd said - dead is dead - no matter cobra, viper, or whatever. For the "lesser" hots that aren't deadly, digit or limb loss is possible. If someone is such an idiot that they buy a hot for the machismo, don't respect the animal's capabilities, and pay for their impudence - then, well, one less idiot in the gene pool. And believe me I have agonized over my position on this issue.

I have a friend who is very into guns. Only for target shooting, but semi-autos (like SKS's) are his favorites. I used to be very anti-gun. (But since the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, I would fight for other's rights to keep them. I only hoped that sensible laws would be in place to regulate the hows and whys of gun ownership.) Then I came to realize that the gun issue and hot herp issue are very similar, except that the right to keep venomous animals is not a Constitutional right. It is up to the individual state, county, or municipality to make up its own laws on the matter. Which means that our right to keep venomous animals is up to the whim of politicians and people who don't know any better. (And this also applies to nonvenomous also - keep a heads up to what is going on around the country...) My opinion on hot herps is that people are going to keep hots irregardless, and if KEPT PROPERLY, there is no reason why people shouldn't keep them. (Which is now also my opinion on gun ownership.)

BTW, I spent $60 on a female western hognosed, that was "spent" ie. tired out from her last clutch, and had lost her tailtip (which was and is healing nicely). She also prefers live mice over thawed. Even considering all of that, I felt I had gotten a good bargain. The vendor has excellent looking animals (both hots and non-) was completely upfront about the condition and needs of the individual animal, and has personally asked me about it since. Have you seen how much albino and red western hognoses are going for?

I saw no boids at the show that matched what you described, and even the lizards at the show, which generally speaking are more easily stressed, looked exceptionally good.

As far as "macho" attitudes go - well, look at some of the vendors. Some of them have very macho *attitudes* - but that doesn't change the fact that they are incredibly knowledgeable about the animals they keep, breed, and sell. They are even knowledgeable about those animals that they purchase elsewhere to resell. And it is possible for a very macho individual to do the proper homework on a species before purchasing it too.

Yes, it would perhaps be better for "us herpers" to draft a bill in PA that would set up certain regulations for hots (and maybe even giant herps) that would require a license and an apprenticeship with a qualified "hot herp keeper" - but as of yet we don't have that. That is what Todd is suggesting we do. Right now, except for municipality laws (usually bans of one sort or another), PA has an unofficial "laissez faire" ("Let the buyer beware") policy, (excepting the laws governing PA native herps, which cannot be sold at PA herp shows or in PA petstores.)

Yes some vendors are bad - I don't think we deal with *ANY* that are bad. I *have* seen some vendors at various *other* shows that have had some pretty pitiful looking lizards (usually, but not always wild-caught or obscure species.) But unfortunately, until some species get established in the hobby as healthy captive breds, you are going to have that situation arise.

First you say that we should more specifically mark the deadliness of the snakes, and then you go on to say that emphasizing the dangerous aspects of these animals is not the image we should be projecting... Well, which is it? I don't get what you are trying to say here - as far as I am concerned, we can never overemphasize the dangerous aspects of these animals - but people need to realize that they are not evil creatures bent on killing people either.

People will always call herpers wackos or crazy. Some herpers are. Those people just weren't educated enough to know the difference. Just like I know there are knowledgeable, responsible gun owners, and there are "gun nuts" too. Deal with it - people will always judge people based on the lowest common denominator. We just have to work to educate them.

As for vendors not showing, well a few were at other shows (not realizing there was a conflict) and yes, maybe a few didn't show because we are a new show struggling to keep things going with a skeleton crew.

You *CAME* to the show - why didn't you help out? I am so sick and tired of members either promising to do something and not following through, or just not getting involved at all. I am not mad at anyone in particular - I have been in the postion of not being able to help before too - even recently due to my job - but I try to stay in touch, and offer help where I can. This past fall and winter I got so burnt out, disgruntled and disappointed because when I couldn't help out, no one else was able to step in and help, so that the core group had to add more to their plates as a result. Now if the money generated by these shows goes into the society's account to be used to fund future shows and for society events - and yet the vast majority of the society does not participate in the generation of those funds - how is that fair? For example, if the society pays, wholly or in part, for admission fees and carpooling expenses to, say the National Zoo, how many society members will suddenly appear to participate in that event that never helped out at the shows which funded the admission fees in the first place? These are the dilemmas that we are having to deal with on top of trying to manage to put together decent herp shows.

I, for one, think that having more educational experiences at the show is imperative... but I can only give the gartersnake and/or anole talk so many times (especially if the show has neither species present). I am currently working on a poster session/brochure that will address issues common to being a newbie herper/casual visitor to the show... but this again, is something I am doing by myself, during my leisure time (which is in short supply), and is taking time away from writing the newsletter (which is an entirely different subject that I am not going to get started on yet *again*!)

I am trying so hard not to answer a rant with another rant, and I am not sure that I have been very successful. For that at least, I apologize, but my sentiments are the same nonetheless.

Again, don't question either expertise, professionalism, OR image, if you are not willing to help improve all of the above yourself. We are doing the best we can with what we have to work with. That is all I have to say - it should be enough.

Lisa


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