The federal government asked a judge Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn a nationwide trade ban on four giant snake species—including snakes invading the Florida Everglades. The action comes amidst calls for the feds to ban five additional snake species.
The government’s filing says the lawsuit challenging the snake ban is based purely on economic motives. Humane Society of the United States spokesman Michael Markarian agrees. He says the same reptile traders who lobbied to get the ban watered down from nine to four species then brought the suit challenging it altogether.
“These are the people that have cost the federal government and state governments millions of dollars trying to clean up their mess, trying to eradicate the Burmese Pythons after they’d become established, and it’s going to cost millions and millions more," he says.
That is, if other species including boa constrictors continue to be allowed to be imported and are released into the wild. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) is among more than 20 lawmakers who signed recent letters asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ban the additional species. The government has left the question open since instating the original four-species ban.