Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mass Hysteria; Stop the Bans...Virginia Follows Florida's Lead

As if the Python Ban in Florida isn't bad enough now Virginia has followed suit! HB 1242 Takes SB 477 even further and bans a whole laudry list of animals considered "exotics", and it strictly regulates even the temporary moving of animals through the state.

The forum lists the legislators who are introducing this bill and those on the committee it is slated to be heard in; Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources.

In addition to many types of snakes, this list includes, primates (except for humans, LOL), wolves, african wild dogs, elephants, bears, Aligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials, all cats except domestic and hybrid domestic.

If it weren't so crazy I'd think it was a joke! Now come on; how many people are really going to keep most of those animals in a state like Virginia!

I think this was probably done because the state doesn't think the Federal ban coming from the situation in Florida is going to get shot down eventually.

I watched President Obama's State of The Union Address tonight and from what I could glean it doesn't look like he supports such bans. In his speech tonight he clearly stated that there are some things government should not regulate (those issues citizens can handle themselves), and he made a point of saying that he did not support standing in the way of "American ingenuity". I certainly interpret that to mean that he would not go along with these kinds of blanket bans.

He clearly is in favor of businesses that provide jobs, income, and bring money into the US from other countries, and the reptile industry does bring in alot of revenue.

For the most part breeders in this industry aren't in it purely for profit. They do care about preventing these animals from escaping, and they do alot of education on how to take proper care of them.

Prohibition never works, and it is not a solution to the world's problems.

Even if you don't have pet reptiles this trend to ban more and more species should bother you if you own any pets because then where does it end? Where will they draw the line if legislators begin to see this as the way to handle animals they fear and don't identify with.

It seems a mass panic is sweeping the country. Please pass this information on and get involved by writing, calling, and speaking to elected officials.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Follow-up Letter To Legislators Opposing Python Ban

The other day I wrote my legislators about SOPA and PIPA, and tonight I sent a letter to President Obama and my Representative and Senators and signed a petition to oppose the Python ban. This is my letter;

January 21, 2012

Dear President Obama:

Dear Representative Johnson:

Dear Senator Chambliss:

Dear Senator Isakson:

I am an animal lover and it has long been a dream of mine since I was a child to have pet snakes. Finally after doing alot of reading up and talking to experts I am ready to realize that dream and now I find out that it may just be a matter of time before I lose that opportunity because several of the constrictors are being legislated against, and I hear that still others (including the one I want) are on the chopping block yet to come.

The reptile industry is a needed American Industry for which there is a huge market. It has developed and grown exponentially over the past two decades and most breeders promote responsible pet ownership through public education and one-on-one support. There are many working in that field who depend on it to feed their families. Restricting interstate stransport of their "product" will only result in putting these people out of business and placing them in debt as well as ultimately adding to the National debt.

The reptile industry creates jobs and employs and provides the necessary income to many people by serving people like me, and it contributes to our national economy, important functions which are about to be put in jeopardy. I want you to be aware of the potential impact this bad precedent will have because it strikes at the ability of Americans to maintain their jobs, family life, and this industry's contributions to our American education, enjoyment, and work ethic.

I suspect you have been approached by special interest groups that would like to end animal ownership and kill the industry that supports it by pushing enactment of the Constrictor Rule as proposed by US Fish & Wildlife Service. This rule making has failed at every turn to make the case that 9 constricting snakes should be added to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. The science is questionable and Fish & Wildlife has failed to do a cost benefit analysis. The rule has been pushed along by mid level bureaucrats with no regard for information quality or due process. If enacted this rule would put more than 1 million Americans in jeopardy of becoming Lacey Act felons.

The Constrictor Rule, if passed will be the beginning of the end of such industry. This rule will not solve the problem that is its purported purpose (protecting the Everglades from Invasive snakes). It will hurt American business and my family. The alleged science being used to justify the rule has been called out as biased and fatally flawed by scientists from around the country, including; University of Florida, Texas A&M and the National Geographic Society. The rule was so poorly constructed that it was recently the subject of a hearing conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee examining this rule as an extreme example of government overreach negatively impacting a $1.4 billion cottage industry.

It looks very suspicious that the rule says it prohibits importing but not exporting. That tells me what's really behind it is more about the fear of breeders outsourcing to obtain their breeding stock thus sending American money overseas to the snakes' countries of origin. The initiators of this rule clearly have a hidden agenda. Any such fear is an overreaction because enough of these snakes exist in the US for breeders to obtain them from other breeders here (if allowed to ship across state lines), but such a rule would make doing so difficult if not impossible. In addition, people wanting a pet snake may not be able to obtain them in our own state, so would be unable to get one. I live in Georgia and do not know of any local snake breeders, for instance.

You yourself own a pet and I'm sure you believe vehemently in your right to keep it, so I hope you will instantly identify with my position. In these uncertain times pets of many kinds bring many of us comfort when little else does. Please make certain that I and millions of Americans can get back to work free from fear of the consequences of the Constrictor Rule.

I know that you will want to do the right thing not wasting government time and money on unecessary new laws that only restrict Americans' persuit of happiness so that our government can attend to more pressing national and international matters.

President Obama please ask the Office of Management & Budget to reverse this rule due to the failure of Fish & Wildlife to adhere to mandated guidelines and procedures required for a rule making. Policy should be based on facts and science, not opinion or partiality. This rule is in violation of at least three of your own executive orders. It is inappropriate on many levels and if passed it will reflect badly on you and your administration. Hold the writers of the rule to their stated agenda of sound science and be the voice of fairness and reason. Please stand up and refuse to let such bad decision-making stand.

The Constrictor Rule is a prejudicial, economically damaging, and ineffective. It is very similar to the bans proposed by certain states and other municipalities targeting Pit Bulls "breed-specific legislation".

This is not the way to solve the problem in the Everglades. Thousands of innocent snakes and those who keep them should not be penalized for a few errant ones that are on the loose.

Instead of making this a Federal rule/law this should be treated as a Florida problem and remedies designed only for those particular problem animals such as spaying and neutering those feral snakes to prevent their reproduction/any risk of overpopulation. This should not involve restricting the whole country from breeding, shipping, or owning these species as pets.

In addition, all stakeholders should be included in designing the solution to the problem in the Everglades; not just those who drafted this legislation. Thank you for your consideration.


Pippit Carlington

If you are an animal lover please let your voice be heard, sign the petition, and send a letter of your own by clicking on the badge in the sidebar of this blog. That will take you directly to the site through which you can contact your political officials.

You can also sign this Whitehouse petition;

 25,000 signatures are needed by February 17th  in order to get the job done!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Extreme Legislation Threatens Individual Freedoms

This week has been one of great uncertainty with 3 new bills looming which would significantly limit some of the freedoms US citizens have enjoyed for a long time.

In the misguided knee-jerk attempt to prevent the perceived peril to human life and liberty these 3 bills actually cause or worsen that which they seek to prevent.

The first two are SOPA; the Stop Online Piracy Act (House Bill 326) introduced on October 26, 2011 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and PIPA; Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (Senate Bill 968) introduced on May 12, 2011 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), proposed to address internet piracy and intellectual property violations, the driving force coming from the film industry, led by 20th Century Fox's Rupert Murdoch, The Motion Picture Association of America and NBC Universal. Edward Sheperd, a guest writer for points out that the intended target of these was originally overseas sites making a profit from US copyrighted merchandise, but that the impications could even impact bloggers in that it could require them to adhere to impossible requirements.

Unfortunately the nebulous wording of the bill draws in alot more than just those committing true internet piracy and copyright infringement. It could block customer access to selling sites such as Etsy, Ebay, and others if the government even suspects anything of that sort is going on, and umbrella sites which house alot of small businesses could be unfairly targetted without due process or recourse. The effect on the small business/microbusiness owner such as an artist could be catastrophic if he or she relys on that income for a necessary part of their income with which to make ends meet.

Such websites should be doing everything they can on their end to get rid of those businesses from their website who are infringing on intellectual property, but on a large umbrella site it is virtually impossible to clean that up completely, and it wouldn't be fair to the rest of us honest proprietors creating original works for the government to come in and restrict customer traffic to us via a large umbrella site like Etsy because of the rogue actions of a few.

What is particulary concerning here aside from the obvious risk of lost future income is that although public protest may have slowed these bills down, it seems the proponants have not given up, that they come armed with bigger bazookas than all of the big internet players combined and that they are more united in their beliefs than are those on the side of internet commerce.

Microsoft for instance may have competing interests although it does tend to fall into the same category with Google and the rest of those who generally oppose these bills. It is just this lack of unified voice which is often the fatal flaw in any movement.

Says David Tere Schchuk of the Huffington Press "The digitally-based newcomers can no longer be seen as strangers to the lobbying game, especially not now with Facebook's most recent hires, Joel Kaplan and Myriah Jordan, both previously in George W. Bush's White House. And Facebook is joined by Google, Yahoo and Amazon in a representative grouping called NetCoalition, which has dug itself in well, now moving from North Capitol Street to the heart of lobbyville, K Street. Google itself is spending $6 million a year, now to be rocketing higher, we can be sure, on D.C. lobbying efforts in its own interests.

But all this pales compared with the amassed forces and sheer weight of dollar numbers brought into play when Hollywood, network television and the recoding industry all join forces, as they have over this issue.

Among the bills' industry supporters there's greater unity (and even richer lobbying clout) born out of having an overriding common interest -- i.e. profits -- to defend."

According to Adam Dachis of Lifehacker, President Obama has apparently tabled SOPA indefinitely, but January 24th is the date PIPA comes up for a Senate vote and so appears for at least the forseeable future to be the bigger imminent threat.

The internet blicking clauses were removed from both of the bills because a number of sites have workarounds to render such blocks useless, but "The other, still-active measure present in the SOPA and PIPA bills would allow rights holders to cut of the source of funding of any potentially infringing web site. This means any other companies doing business with this site would have to stop. Whether that means advertising, links in search engines, or any other listings would have to be removed."

According to Mercurious blog this funding clause would include restricting payment processing systems such as Paypal to any site the deem as being in violation (a vital service many artists rely on to recieve most online payments through as well as purchases made online).

That would in effect render any business (and and businesses it houses) defunct at least as far as their internet presences are concerned. Even though many artists also earn income from shows and brick and mortar stores, finding enough stores/galleries to replace the internet profitshare is not always feasible and shows' entry fees can be prohibitive for alot of artists.

One could theoretically start one's own website, but again, the cost of creating one and its ongoing maintenance is not always a realistic option for many artists.

It is anybody's guess how all this will turn out once details are reviewed and adjusted or thrown out, but it is not something to assume others will handle. Every voice counts. I contacted my Representative at the Federal level yesterday in opposition of these bills and hope every one of you will do the same. (I'll leave a link at the end of this post so that you can easily contact the powers that be).

As this these two assaults on our personal freedom aren't enough, now there is a snake ban; a re-make of (Senate Bill 373) originally sponsored by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). It has failed to be passed for the past 3 years but has now been re-worked and presented again, much to the dismay of many who love these species. If you would like to tell him how you feel on this issue here is where you can call.

Phone: 202-224-5274

Fax: 202-228-2183

(Source; Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society ) regarding the banning several types of Pythons from crossing state lines (those of you who have kept informed on all the breed specific legislations levied against Pit Bulls will be painfully familiar with this sort of thing already).

The current version is HR2811 is referred to as the Lacey Act, and the Committee on the Judiciary, The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security claim they have "research" proving that these 9 constrictors; pythons, boas, and anacondas pose a danger to humans and to the ecosystem.

Posted on the above herpetological forum is a letter written by several experts disputing the legitimacy of the research on which the act is based. Apparently the study was not peer reviewed and departs from a number of best practices required in good sound research. They make some very good points that should really make people think twice about whether this is such a good move!

I am primarily a dog person but have always had a special place in my heart for reptiles and have in recent months been gaining an increasing interest in snakes. I would like to get a pair of Ball Pythons and have been liesurely looking around planning to take my time and really do my homework in choosing just the right ones, but this bill is disturbing in that its introducers appear to be starting with just a few species as a means to gain a foothold in order to ban more and more species in the future. I may have to get my Ball Pythons alot sooner (while I still can), as I do not know of any breeders in the Atlanta area or even anywhere in Georgia.

I don't like the precedent this bill is setting because its stated purpose (to address the growing problem of non-native species loose in the everglades) is not the only affect it would have and there looks to be deeper hidden agendas inherent in its inception that will only hurt related industry jobs and the enjoyment of these beautiful animals. I can't help but think that some of these hidden agendas are connected to the panic about outsourcing and money leaving the US (because Pythons generally originate from other countries) because the wording prohibits interstate transfer, breeding, and "importing" but not "exporting". It could be that some in Congress feel that American snake breeders are draining American money by purchasing breeding stock from these originating countries. Even so, such worries are probably unfounded because these species have been here in captivity long enough that there are plenty of US sources now from which breeders can obtain their breeding stock.

Apparently Interior Secretary Ken Salizar achieved this ban in sort of a backdoor way bypassing the need for the usual due legislative process;

"By enacting a rule and declaring the snakes “injurious,” Salazar bypassed the need for congressional approval of a ban. It goes into effect in 60 days and does not affect current snake owners.

Read more:

CNN U.S Kim Segal reports that the species currently covered by the ban are the following species;

Burmese Python
Northern Python
Southern Python
Yellow Anaconda

While some Parks and Wildlife people are in favor of this ban, I think they fail to see that it misses the mark and is based on alot of faulty assumptions.

A much better approach to the problems in the Everglades would be for everyone to work together to solve those specific issues (in Florida). Breeders and snake enthusiasts should not be left out of the decision-making process. This is not a Federal problem and should not be treated as such, yet since those who have introduced this ban have now "gone there" it has pulled the rest of the country into it and made it our business.

The focus should be on capturing the loose snakes in the Everglades and/or possibly spaying/neutering them to prevent them from reproducing out of control. That would be a much better solution than resorting to this buckshot approach of an overall ban on those species, because the problem is not with the ones in captivity.

As a pet owner I see the far reaching ramifications of this type of extreme legislation. It is like using a sledgehammer when a scalpel would do and it causes way too much collateral damage.

Even if you don't like snakes or are disinterested in them people should have the right to keep them responsibly just as they would other animals. We cannot allow fear to dictate laws in this country. If we do then we run the risk that any of our favorite pets might one day be deemed illegal and that would be a tragic day in America.

To write your Representative in Congress about either or both of these issues go here;

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Look What My Customers Have Created with Items from GiftbearerSupply !

The New Year is the perfect time to feature some of the work created by some of those who have purchased from my Etsy supply shop! I hope these will inspire you and give you some examples of how these supplies can be incorporated, and for those of you who don't make your own, maybe you can find some finished items in these shops that you can use and wear!

Clear Sugar QuartzCluster Organic Copper Winter Fashion (6.5-7)
(SOLD on December 29th, 2011)

Samantha Pirok; PIROK
used one of my clear quartz crystals in a one of a kind ring she electroplated and patinaed. (As you will see it promptly sold). Her work has a very ancient feel to it, like buried treasure, full of texture and rich in color and shape. In her shop you will find many natural stones set in custom settings designed to mold around these unworked rough gems.

Tudy Smith created this medicine bag OOAK Anasazi Pottery Shard Medicine Bag or Cell Phone Case Neck Pouch Ancient Ones using one of the ancient Anasazi pottery shards that are sold in my shop to embellish the front. She opted to continue the pattern from the shard on the front of the bag below the flap on which it has been attached in a striking diagonal design. It is currently for sale in her Etsy shop for $32.00 and along with many other beautiful medicine/possibles bags, knife sheaths, and art pieces would make a wonderful gift for somebody special or for you to wear and/or keep meaningful items in. See more of her tribal inspired pieces here;
 Citrine & Black Onyx Crystal Necklace - "Lemon Fizz"From SunnyCrystals

Dalmatian Jasper & Black Onyx Crystal Necklace - "101 Magic Moments"
Susan Mayoux of SunnyCrystals created these two necklaces above using these silver-plated ball headpins from my shop. In addition to finished jewelry Sue also carries handcrafted greeting cards and tumbled gemstones.
Purchase supplies from me, send me a convo with a picture of your finished piece made with my supplies, and you might get a feature too!

Thanks all and have a very happy and prosperous New Year!