The Lacey Act, enacted in 1900, prohibits the interstate transportation of wildlife or plants obtained in violation of federal, state or foreign laws. The statute received attention recently when Gibson Guitars was raided by federal agents for allegedly importing ebony and rosewood in violation of the laws of India and Madagascar. In 2001, several Alabama fishermen were sentenced to eight years in prison for importing lobster in violation of Honduran regulations, even though the Honduran Attorney General stated that the regulations were invalid. Last week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced S. 2062, the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures (“FOCUS”) Act of 2012, to address the Lacey Act’s “broad overcriminalization.” The FOCUS Act would replace the Lacey Act’s criminal penalties with a civil penalty system. It would also strike from the Act all references to “foreign law.”
What this idiotic senator fails to remember (or more likely doesn’t care about) is that this act has single handedly saved several species from extinction, prevents the marketing of wildlife and allows the federal goverment to assist states in protecting their wildlife.
Rarely will I post political stuff here, but this is extremely important. Write to your senators and demand that they not allow this bill to go through. Remind them that sound science and a history of success is extremely important. Remind them that other species have a fundamental right to exist without us killing them all.
If republicans are able to kill the Lacey Act they will without a doubt be that much closer to killing the ESA, and without the Lacey Act the ESA will lose a lot of its bite.