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Threads & opportunities for herpetoculture.....(long)..

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Posted by Nightflight99 on February 21, 2000 at 21:11:55:

As both herpetoculture and herpetology are growing fields, a number of threads have come up, which pose new or increased challenges to our hobby. With the rapidly growing popularity of keeping reptiles as pets, many people realize the potential for profit in the commercial herp industry. This has lead to too many inexperienced handlers and dealers importing large quantities of low-cost animals for the pet trade, especially in the US. Many of them are primarily in it for the money, and this often results in the acquisition of animals from a non- reputable source, delivering animals of poor health and quality. This has also dropped the retail prices of many of these animals way below their real value, considering the time & knowledge required to keep them appropriately. We all know about the problem of inexperienced impulse-buyers trying to get rid of their burmese python or Iguana. Too often these animals are dumbed because of their size or attitude, or whatever else the owners find themselves incapable of dealing with. Yet many pet stores and even breeders offer these animals at ridiculous prices, at times making these animals available for the average 12-year- old kid. When these animals are then dumbed or kept irresponsibly, escapes and accidents are the natural result, and all responsible herpers have to pay for these accidents through stricter laws or even the banning of constrictor snakes in some counties. I'm sure everyone agrees that this is posing an increasing thread to our hobby, and that it is time to take iniatives to do something about this. The main goal ought to be to make reptiles readily available for responsible keepers only. This can be achieved to a certain degree through education. Most animals that are dumbed because their owners were not able to keep them anymore, due to their size, temper, specific requirements or financial situation. I'm sure that many of these people would have reconsidered the purchase of the animals, would they have known all the responsibility and potential problems associated with this. I know there are some very decent and responsible pet stores out there, yet there are still far too many that have financial gain as their primary objective. Ideally, every potential shopper should be made very familiar with the requirements of the animals, and should be made very aware of the adult size and temper. Store clerks should be more like advisors, rather than sales people. Obviously everyone wants to make money, but in my opinion, if you own a pet store in order to make big bucks, you're in the wrong line of business. The pet trade is an industry in which the ethics often wall way too short, and there are not enough enforcing organizations available to deal with these problems effectively. In order to keep irresponsible people from acquiring certain animals, maybe a system of licenses (real licenses, not just for the purpose of a fee) could be useful. Personally, I'd be glad to pay a SMALL fee if it would help this hobby in the big picture. For example, if you were wanting to buy a giant snake, such as a burmese python, reticulated python, african rock python, or an anaconda, you'd have to attend a class that will teach you all about the requirements and about the potential dangers involved with owning such a large reptile. In the end, one would receive a license that will enable you to purchase your snake. This will not eliminate all impulse buyers, but it will certainly keep tons of them away. Now this is certainly not a perfect system, it is rather a rough idea that I had, but I think it is certainly worth discussing it, even if it is shot down on second thought. Any input?

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