Python ban on its way to Senate vote

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Washington, D.C. -- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a bill Dec. 10 that would ban the shipping and importing of all varieties of python into the United States.

Washington, D.C.

-- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a bill Dec. 10 that would ban the shipping and importing of nine varieties of python into the United States.

The bill's author, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), has argued that pythons are a potentially invasive species, especially in the wetlands of Florida. The bill also received renewed attention after a young child in Florida was killed by a pet python that escaped its enclosure.

Senate Bill 337 now goes to the Senate for a vote.

A similar bill is under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians put out a call in April for members to ask their senators and representatives to oppose the bill. At the time, the bill called for a ban on importation and interstate trade of all species of python.

ARAV president Jeff Baier, DVM, said in the letter that the ban was "overreaching," banning snakes in the Python genus that are not invasive and couldn't live in the United States in the wild. The ban "should be more targeted to the species of interest in this matter," Baier says.

At press time, ARAV representatives could not be reached for comment.

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