The Lacey Act, COMPETES ACT, species, extinction, transport,

Urge Your U.S. Senators to VOTE NO on Lacey Act Amendments to H.R.4521/S.1260.

Detrimental language modifying The Lacey Act has been amended to the fast-moving Congressional legislation known as the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES Act)  H.R.4521/S.1260 in Section 71102.

On February 4, 2022, H.R. 4521 passed the House of Representatives 222 to 210. 

H.R.4521/S.1260 is now heading to the Senate for a vote with the Lacey Amendment still intact. 

We need your help to URGE the Senate to remove The Lacey Act Amendment before the Senate votes on the America COMPETES Act (HR4521/S.1260).

Background about The Lacey Act:

The Lacey Act of 1900, or simply the Lacey Act is a conservation law in the United States that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold. Introduced into Congress by Representative John F. Lacey, an Iowa Republican, the Act was signed into law by President William McKinley on May 25, 1900. It was originally intended to  protect both plants and wildlife by creating civil and criminal penalties for those who violate the rules and regulations. The law authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to aid in restoring game and birds in parts of the U.S. where they have become extinct or rare. It also regulates introduction of birds and other animals to places where they have never existed previously.  Congress broadened the law to prohibit the import, export, transport, purchase, or sale of species when that action would violate state, federal, tribal, or foreign law. A 2008 amendment added coverage for timber and timber products. Various provisions of the Act are enforced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

Points of Concern about The Lacey Act Amendments to the America COMPETES Act (H.R.4521/S.1260):

  • These proposed amendments to The Lacey Act (HR4521, in Section 71102) would give executive powers to the Secretary of USFWS to label any species at any time as "injurious" which moves it to the list of banned species to prevent interstate transport.
  • The proposed amendments to The Lacey Act affects pets of ALL species except dogs, cats and livestock.
  • According to U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers, "only species determined to be non-injurious or an invasive species "risk" can continue to be imported into the United States. This dramatically skirts the regulatory approach from previously allowing individual jurisdiction to evaluate environmental and health threats to their region, without impacting entire industries or private individuals." 
  • If these amendments were to pass, any species that are not on the "white list" will require legal challenges for importation which will impose potential legal fees, fines, and penalties and the possibility of prosecution as a federal felony if any violations are incurred. 
  • If these proposed amendments to The Lacey Act were to pass with H.R.4521, importing or transporting animals across state lines would become unlawful, should those species not have cleared the process of being determined "not injurious." 
  • At any time, a species could be banned, even on short notice bringing tremendous harm to the live animal economy while devastating manufacturers, distributors, and retailers impacted by these bans on the live animal industry. 

Facts to Consider:

The Amendment to The Lacey Act ( in HR4521 Section 71102) would be detrimental to the following:

  • Domestic breeding programs preserve individuals of endangered or threatened species to prevent complete extinction. These programs also maintain the populations of non-threatened species so that they do not later become threatened.
  • Breeding programs promote genetic diversity. The repopulation of species in areas where individuals are limited increases genetic diversity in those areas by introducing new genetic material to the local gene pool.
  • Private owners of animals, active in wildlife reserves, zoos, circuses, game parks, and breeding facilities, are key to the survival of endangered species. Private owners contribute to breeding programs, promoting genetic diversity. Like any professionals, they are committed to the best possible outcome. To that end, private owners participate in interactive programs and interconnected partnerships to record and track data such as: paternity, maternity, breeding pairs, genealogies, genetic matches, and possible viable pairs. Private owners essentially carry a database of compatible matches in the animal world.
  • This Amendment to The Lacey Act threatens pet ownership,  zoos, aquariums, and biomedical research.

What you can do:

H.R.4521 has already passed the full House of Representatives and is now moving to the U.S. Senate (S.1260).  Using the link and form below, please send your emails (and Tweets if you're on Twitter) to you U.S. Senators and urge them to REMOVE the Amendments to the Lacey Act from H.R.4521/S.1260, in Section 71102, the America COMPETES Act of 2022. 

Be sure to modify the boiler plate letter to make it your own. Law makers do not read boiler plate letters. 

Thank you for taking action on this important matter!

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