16 January 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Snake Owners See Furry Bias in Invasive Species Proposal” (news article, Jan. 9):

The Fish and Wildlife Service is right to propose a ban on the sale of nine large constricting snakes for the pet trade.

In addition to the effects of these invasive species on ecosystems, there are also compelling humane and public safety arguments for restricting trade. There is a list of human victims of captive snakes, including a 2-year-old girl who was strangled in her crib by a pet Burmese python who had escaped from its enclosure.

The trade is dangerous for people, but also for the snakes. Snakes may die during the capture and transport process, or they may be housed inhumanely in a small aquarium they can barely fit into. They may be set free once people realize they are in over their heads, ultimately facing premature death in the wild by starvation or extremes of climate.

And all of this trouble and suffering for what? You don’t take snakes for a walk or play with them in a field or let them sleep in your bed at night.

Wild animals belong in the wild, and in their native habitats.

Wayne Pacelle
President and Chief Executive
Humane Society of the United States
Washington, Jan. 10, 2011