What do pythons and mussels have in common?

Burmese python. Photo: Allan Hack, CC some rights reserved

Well, Burmese pythons (here’s a recent NY Times article on Florida’s problem snake) and zebra mussels are among the most aggressive invasive species–one in the southern US, the other further north. I had a press release today from the Vermont Law School about a new study in support of legislation to control invasive animal species.

Zebra mussels

The study,  by Vermont Law School alumnus Jane Graham, proposes a model federal law that calls for:

  • A “clean” list of species that are allowed into the country instead of the current “dirty” list that prohibits specific species.
  • A process that explains exactly how risk assessment decisions will be determined.
  • Uniform restrictions on exotic—and potentially all—animal ownership.
  • Increased public awareness of invasive animal laws.
  • Higher and uniform fines and criminal penalties for violations.
  • Methods to fund restoration of ecosystems damaged by invasive species
  • Entrepreneurship and partnerships between government and private businesses.

Graham argues that “other laws—such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and the Animal Health Protection Act as well as state laws, public nuisance laws, free market solutions and exotic pet restrictions— are insufficient…and uncoordinated.”

What do you think? More regulation? Or, should we just accept invasive species as a by-product of the global economy?

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2 Comments on “What do pythons and mussels have in common?”

  1. Two Cents says:

    When, really has regulation ever solved these types of situations.
    We may have to accept that we have messed with the natural order of many things. from small changes, big things come.

  2. Pete Klein says:

    If a ban on all ownership of animals includes cats, dogs and farm animals, the idea is plain old stupid.
    And if you want to look at the history of the planet, one species invading new territory has been going on forever. Birds dropping seeds here, there and everywhere were probably the first to cause the spread of “invasives.

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