Advocacy is more important now than ever before in the reptile world. The reptile industry is constantly under pressure from special interest groups that work to remove our ability to work with these amazing animals. They use misinformation and sensationalism to effect legislative change across our country. We as a community must unite! It doesn't matter if you consider yourself a member of a sub-group of the reptile world, these laws affect us all. Ball python people, boa people, hognose people, retic people, leopard geckos, bearded dragons.....EVERYONE. As cliche as it may sound, we absolutely NEED to unite! There is no doubt that there is strength in numbers.
Royer Reptiles has dedicated this page to inform each and every visitor to our site about two groups that strive to keep our ability to work with these animals intact: USARK and TxARK. Take the time to learn about these groups, and if able, please donate to the cause. Your time is also valuable. There are occasions where volunteers are needed. You can make a difference!
Their mission, from their own web page: The United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) is a science, education and conservation based advocacy for the responsible private ownership of, and trade in reptiles. We endorse caging standards, sound husbandry, escape prevention protocols, and an integrated approach to vital conservation issues. Our goal is to facilitate cooperation between government agencies, the scientific community, and the private sector in order to produce policy proposals that will effectively address important husbandry and conservation issues. The health of these animals, public safety, and maintaining ecological integrity are our primary concerns.
USARK has been the reptile industry's voice on the national level for the past few years. While they've been able to make great strides in the fight for reptile keeper's rights, the fight is FAR from over. Make no mistake - there are those in our country that are fighting very hard to make it impossible for you and I, the reptile community, to continue working with these amazing animals. USARK works directly with a legal team in DC, as well as legislators, to keep our rights to own reptiles intact. You personally may not be a big fan of reticulated pythons or burmese pythons, but you MUST understand - if those snakes are successfully banned, the next steps are boa constrictors, then ball pythons, then bearded dragons, then leopard geckos. We don't mean to attempt to strike fear in everyone's minds, but that is the unfortunate reality. Groups like HSUS, the Humane Society of the United States, fight hard with tens of millions of dollars every year to lobby legislators to remove "exotics" from the pet industry. It's not just lions and tigers. Their goal is ALL exotics, which includes boa constrictors, ball pythons, leopard geckos and bearded dragons. They've had many successes over the years, unfortunately. If it weren't for USARK, the reptile industry would be in a much worse position. If you're not already a member, become one and donate! Every dollar helps the fight. The USARK graphic above is a link to their donation page.
TxARK's mission: to promote and protect reptile keeping in Texas. We will strive to educate the public about reptiles in a positive manner, to promote conservation of our native species and to champion good husbandry and the perpetual expansion of our collective knowledge base.
While USARK has done a great job of protecting our rights at the national level, there is a very serious need for this same type of voice at the state and local levels. This is the void that TxARK seeks to fill for the state of Texas. Texas has seen its fair share of reptile legislation over the years. Reptile-related ordinances can be found in the codes of almost every county and city across the state, with pet owners often unaware that they are in violation. Every time an attempt has been made to put new restrictions in place, our community has had to scramble to respond. We need a better solution for our state, and TxARK hopes to be the answer.
Lets face it: snakes, frogs, spiders and all the other “creepy-crawly” things don’t have a huge fan-base. On a state and local level- where democracy is much more of a reality than the federal level - the majority rules...and we are definitely the minority. We only have one choice when it comes to changing this, and it is EDUCATION. An integral part of TxARK will be Public Outreach and Education. The future will see TxARK volunteers engaging the public at schools, festivals and fairs across the state, curing those phobias one person at a time.
Who is TxARK? The simple answer is that TxARK is YOU! Texas reptile enthusiasts come from every walk of life and every background imaginable, but we all share a common passion for our beloved cold-blooded creatures. Captive reptile, amphibian and invertebrate keepers help to preserve many species, while fueling the spark of curiosity and caring in children young and old. Avid field herpers have provided the bulk of known natural history for native species. Indeed, herpetoculturists are responsible for most of what is known about these often-maligned creatures, and we continue to learn more with each year and each new species kept.
In order to become a success story, TxARK needs YOU! First and foremost, TxARK needs you to spread the word. Help to build our community by letting your reptile friends know about TxARK! Since TxARK is a purely volunteer organization, it needs people willing to put their skills to work for the good of the reptile-loving community. TxARK plans to provide interactive educational opportunities for keepers and the general public alike. In order to do this successfully, TxARK needs passionate individuals like you! Please contact TxARK @ TexasARK@yahoo.com if you would like to become a volunteer. Lastly, TxARK does need your donations. Though there are NO salaries being paid, there are still expenses! Donations now will help fund startup costs, educational materials, banners and the TxARK website. TxARK currently accept donations via PayPal. TxARK’s paypal account is: TexasARK@yahoo.com