If you read the scientific bloggysphere, you might have come across posts describing how ‘escaped’ snakes–often pet Burmese pythons–are devouring the Everglades’ native wildlife (they’re usually not snakes that got loose, but were let loose by morons who realized that having a large undomesticated ambush predator as a pet is a really stupid idea). Things have become so bad, dogs have been specially trained to find the pythons. By way of Charles Pierce, we learn that Democrats proposed legislation to ban the import of predators that are altering the ecology of a habitat we have spent billions to protect:
Snake breeder and herpetologist David Barker testified at a committee hearing Wednesday that the rule would hurt the livelihoods of people like him.
“It threatens as many as a million law-abiding American citizens and their families with the penalty of a felony conviction for pursuing their livelihoods, for pursuing their hobby, or for simply moving with their pet to a new state,” Barker told the panel.
Barker also warned about the impact of the rule on existing pets. “What’s going to happen to the million or so animals that suddenly are without value?” he said. “The implementation of the proposed action may precipitate the greatest slaughter of pet animals in American history.”
House Democrats scoffed at the idea that snake regulations would be major impediments to job growth.
“With all due respect to our witnesses from the Association of Reptile Keepers, repealing a so-called job-killing regulation to allow more pythons, boa constrictors and anacondas into the United States is not the kind of bold, bipartisan solution Americans are looking for to help the economy,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the oversight panel.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for Nelson (D-Fla.) said that “respectfully, the House Oversight Committee might just be wrong on this one.”
You’ll never guess what the House Republicans did (boldface mine):
But in a report released Wednesday, Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee denounced the proposed rule as part of the Obama administration’s “regulatory tsunami.” They said the snake ban could “devastate a small but thriving sector of the economy.”
…But Everglades National Park spokeswoman Linda Friar said in an interview that the python problem is real.
“We’re extremely concerned,” she said. “The real turning point was when we saw that they started to breed in this habitat.”
…Aside from the Burmese pythons, Friar said, some other large, aggressive snake species have been turning up outside the park, including anacondas and African rock pythons.
The African rock python has been known in rare cases to attack and even eat humans. Florida has yet to see any attacks on humans by pythons in the wild, although Nelson has pointed to one case in which a pet Burmese python that escaped from its cage strangled a 2-year-old girl elsewhere in the house.
There’s nothing these bozos won’t fuck up.
It’s like they want to be actual, real-life cartoon villains.