Exotic pet bills moving forward but still stalled in Congress – The Voyager

Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels

Two bills are currently being processed by the United States Congress, one standing still and the other legalized.

In late 2021, the United States House of Representatives received the “Travelling Exotic Animals and Public Safety Act of 2021” (HR5999). Later, in early 2022, the House was also presented and forwarded to the Senate the “COMPETES Act of 2022” (HR4521).

HR5999 is a bill that would heavily regulate the transportation of non-domestic dogs, non-domestic felines, crocodiles, turtles, monitor lizards, and others that are transported for “performance purposes.” Due to the bill’s vague wording, this would mean that any animal program (including sanctuaries, educational animal outreach programs, and pet owners reaching out to schools) that wishes to transport animals for educational purposes entertaining children would be legally prohibited from doing so.

HR4521 is a bill that was placed at the last second in the COMPETES Act before being approved by the House. The bill would amend the existing Lacey Act and change the blacklist to a federal whitelist, actively stopping any movement of non-listed animals across state lines for any reason. Moving, buying/selling, temporary veterinary care and educational programs from individual owners and large organizations of common exotic pets and their eggs/offspring would be a federal felony with a penalty ranging from 10,000 $ to $20,000 plus five years in prison.

According to Congress.gov, HR5999, aka the Traveling Animal Act, has yet to move since it was introduced in the House on Nov. 17, 2021. It was immediately referred to the House Agriculture Committee, but there is no has had no updates since.

On the other hand, HR4521 has had a lot of activity since his time in the Chamber. On February 14, 2022, the bill was merged into the US Innovation and Competition Act (S1260). A month later, the bill was updated and replaced with the Senate version, which did not contain the Lacey Act changes, and returned to the House.

Between March and April 2022, the COMPETES Act was renamed the “Bipartisan Innovation Act”, and later as the “CHIPS-Plus” Bill. The goal of the new bill was to focus on technology research and chip manufacturing in the United States. Due to the irrelevant nature of the amendments to the Lacey Act, they were left out of the final wording of the bill.

The CHIPS-Plus bill has since passed the Senate as well as the House, with the old Lacey Act amendments remaining intact. From now on, it will remain a blacklist.

If you want to know more about HR5999, you can read more here. For more information on the original HR4521, click here.

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