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Posted by s_simpson on March 17, 2003 at 08:42:55:
Thought I'd chime in with one additional thought.
I know BGF is in Australia/Singapore and I'm not sure about WW, so I apologize for making assumptions.
There's a big detail you're overlooking in regards to how legislatures make their decisions. You're assuming they use logic and well-thought-out reasoning. This is NOT true in most (all?) of the United States. They use sensationalism, pandering, and half-truths that support their pre-conceived positions. How often have you heard a politician say (in any context, on any topic) "I was wrong on this issue before and now that I know more, I want to change things"?
We have a bunch of morons here who actually thought it was worthwhile to force the cafeteria of the U.S. Congress to call French Fries ("chips", I think, for you BGF) "Freedom Fries". Model rocketry is now essentially illegal in most of the United States because the solid-fuel engines can no longer be transported by mail or interstate rail/road/air -- even though you'd be hard-pressed to show how they can inflict harm (outside of holding one while lit...)
Moreover, ferrets (which really can't hurt anyone older than an infant/ very small child) are illegal in many areas, including the entire state of California. While supporters have tried many times to get the law repealed, legislators continually whip out an old piece of yellow journalism written by some vet over 30 years ago (something that's been discredited by just about everyone since then).
So, the argument of "dangerous venomous" versus "venomous, but not dangerous" is going to be lost on 99% of the people making decisions. What are they going to look at? Snakes are "evil, nasty, slimy creatures" and "they hurt people". Bottom line is there are far more people who don't like/fear snakes than like them and most legislators are not going to bother antagonizing the "soccer moms" just to keep a small subsection of hobbyists/pet-owners happy.
(after all, consider the fact that its legal to keep a rattlesnake in CA, but not a ferret -- figure out the logic there, if you can...).
So, as much as I enjoyed your prior postings, I think it misses the point for most of the U.S. -- any animal that can inflict harm (that isn't a dog, cat, horse, common livestock, etc.) is always going to be under the magnifying glass and its owners/afficiandos are always going to have to contend with the possibility that a bad press item will make its way into a ban.