NSW Wildlife Licensing Changes : Public Consultation.

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cagey

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On first reading my primary concern is the inference in section 4.3.1.5 (in bold). Who would think this to be a good idea, not counting the two and three snake options?

An enclosure housing two snakes should be at least 50% larger than the
minimum enclosure size (see 4.3.1.2, 4.3.1.3 and Table 2). The enclosure size
should be increased by at least 20% for each additional snake above two (e.g.
an enclosure housing three snakes must be at least 70% larger than the
minimum enclosure size). If different species are housed together, the
calculation should be based on the minimum enclosure size for the largest
species.
 

Yellowtail

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On first reading my primary concern is the inference in section 4.3.1.5 (in bold). Who would think this to be a good idea, not counting the two and three snake options?

An enclosure housing two snakes should be at least 50% larger than the
minimum enclosure size (see 4.3.1.2, 4.3.1.3 and Table 2). The enclosure size
should be increased by at least 20% for each additional snake above two (e.g.
an enclosure housing three snakes must be at least 70% larger than the
minimum enclosure size). If different species are housed together, the
calculation should be based on the minimum enclosure size for the largest
species.[/QUOT
Yes I saw that and wonder if they have had any consultation with anyone with even basic experience keeping snakes in captivity.
 

Buggster

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I would hope they would have finally implemented a better standard for enclosure size/population density per enclosure.

I mean for sure- some reptiles are known for being able to cohabit well if appropriate space provided (ie: some skinks, some geckos), but who in their right minds would think of putting two snakes, or any species known for not getting on in an enclosure suited to 1.5x the MINIMUM required space. Absolute madness. (Outside of breeding)

They talk about how some species don’t get along with other species, and yet seem unable to recognise that some animals live solitary lives and don’t benefit from a cagemage...

But still, I guess it’s a step in the right direction (and certainly better than what they were proposing before...)
Regardless, if it passes I think I’ll be making a nice long trip to KV Pets and documenting their improper care (and more specifically improper housing) of the animals...

Last time I was there I saw 3 adult Beardies in what looked like a 2 ft tank. Not to mention how overstocked their baby beardies are.

And of course have to put something out there about the way they house their hatchie snakes. Glass boxes barely the size of a tissue box with no opportunity for the various arboreal species (such as their Darwins and Jungles) to climb in- something that is covered in this new proposal
 

dragonlover1

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Obviously I haven't read all 51 pages and digested what that actually means,but to think they would actually suggest putting 2 or more different species of snake together just blows my mind ????? who gets eaten first ???
Obviously some of the simpler stuff sounds better than what currently is the case,for example why are different kinds of BTS in different classes? We have Eastern,Northern and Western blue tongues,they all live in pretty much the same conditions,eat the same food but I need 2 different licenses to keep them...WTF ??
BUT I do believe we need to keep some of the advanced licensing requirements. Can you imagine if some of the clowns who can't keep beardies appropriately got hold of FRILLIES OR MONITORS ? What is the chance of those reptile living well?
[doublepost=1531565665,1531565312][/doublepost]
I would hope they would have finally implemented a better standard for enclosure size/population density per enclosure.

I mean for sure- some reptiles are known for being able to cohabit well if appropriate space provided (ie: some skinks, some geckos), but who in their right minds would think of putting two snakes, or any species known for not getting on in an enclosure suited to 1.5x the MINIMUM required space. Absolute madness. (Outside of breeding)

They talk about how some species don’t get along with other species, and yet seem unable to recognise that some animals live solitary lives and don’t benefit from a cagemage...

But still, I guess it’s a step in the right direction (and certainly better than what they were proposing before...)
Regardless, if it passes I think I’ll be making a nice long trip to KV Pets and documenting their improper care (and more specifically improper housing) of the animals...

Last time I was there I saw 3 adult Beardies in what looked like a 2 ft tank. Not to mention how overstocked their baby beardies are.

And of course have to put something out there about the way they house their hatchie snakes. Glass boxes barely the size of a tissue box with no opportunity for the various arboreal species (such as their Darwins and Jungles) to climb in- something that is covered in this new proposal
I deliver to KVP and they have just done a massive expansion and have upgraded and improved their reptile section.I don't know how long since you were last there but it has changed heaps.
 

Jessie daley

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Cage-it reptile enclosures, who make some bloody amazing enclosures, have just upgraded all KvP enclosures, they are looking really nice. Check out their Facebook page.

This aside, I’m not looking forward to these new changes, as we have a demonstrator permit here in Vic in the works, and travel up the east coast. by the sounds of things, they are pretty much dissolving all demonstrator permits in NSW, but haven’t been able to comfirm this.

A friend here in Vic works with DPI, and heard even the zoos down here are getting a shake down, most being told breeding of any exotic animals is prohibited, melbourne zoo apparently has been told it’s elephant breeding program will be dissolved, and the smaller privately owned zoos, being denied permits to operate, as they want to phase them out. Seems like it’s becoming hard to even own an animal these days.

By the sounds of things too many greenies in parliament, but hey, let’s not talk about politics here hahahaha.
 

Sdaji

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Australia is getting increasingly restrictive in pretty every imaginable way. Herpers have generally been a pretty apathetic group on the whole, and sometimes even actively embrace the nanny state/restrictive approach which governments tend towards. This is especially true of NSW keepers (particularly in wanting to be restricted and overregulated) and QLD (particularly in being apathetic), but the problems are widespread among Australian keepers. In the rare cases where someone with any sanity steps up and offers leadership they get ripped down by the community, and when people do sort of get behind someone they're almost invariably idiots or bad people with agendas. You reap what you sow. The fish and bird communities have their own problems, but there's a lot the herpers could learn from them. I don't at all agree with the Australian laws regarding fish and birds, but those communities are so successful that you can keep a wide range of native and exotic species without any regulation at all. No one in the bird or fish world campaigns for restrictions or conditions or regulations to be put on themselves, and they are much better organised and united in depending what they have. Consequently, they enjoy greater freedoms. If you want to look at a more stupid group than the herpers (it's hard to find an example, but the mammal people do provide it), we can see that the group wanting to legalise the keeping of native mammals (something I 110% support) has a community with a large percentage actively promoting absurdities like mandatory husbandry courses and exams in order to get highly restrictive licenses! Some herpers even want this, along with ridiculous tiered systems such as NSW has, where one must keep irrelevant species for years in order to keep 'higher level' species. When a significant proportion of the community thinks this sort of thing is a good idea, obviously the legal situation for that community is going to get worse, not better. We've been seeing it for years, the patterns are obvious, but most people are immune to learning through observation or even being spoon fed a sane view of reality.

As for housing two species together, I'm not at all a fan of it, but it does happen. A good public example is the Brown Tree Snakes held long term (over 10 years) with the Coastal Taipans at the Melbourne Zoo. When I first saw it many years ago it blew my mind. It now doesn't seem surprising to me. Not that I'd ever be keen on doing it myself, but it can work.

The appropriate response to these proposals would be a unified scream from the entire community, with support from interstate keepers, saying they are absurd and the entire system is absurd, and a far better alternative could be suggested. Unfortunately, this is impossible, because a critical mass of keepers just can't see what's going on. The entire system is ridiculous, the way keepers approach it is ridiculous, and I'm glad to be watching it from a distance rather than stuck in it these days.

If you do want to try to fight the good fight, understand that more regulation of private keepers won't work, and should be opposed. Keepers know better than anyone what is needed to keep their animals happy, and the bad apples don't follow the regulations anyway. They are easy to evade for anyone who wants to, and at best they'll spend huge dollars trying to police it and once in a blue moon give someone a slap on the wrist for breaking a technicality of the code, and that person will then probably go off license or otherwise evade the code. Would be keepers who want to do the right thing will be put off by all the regulations, and go keep fish or birds or something instead, or alternatively, keep off license. These restrictions are expensive do more harm than good.

For the record, this doesn't even affect me personally any more, I am completely unbiased here and it isn't something I take more than a curious interest in.
 

GBWhite

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Hi Sdaji,

Mate from what I've just read it appears that you have a pretty piss poor opinion of herp keepers overall and especially those from NSW and Qld. I'm a little bit bewildered by your comments.

According to reptile keeping licenses issued in NSW as of February 2018; Over 2/3 of wildlife keepers licenses are for reptiles and the issue of licenses have doubled over the past 10 years. 21,274 are basic R1 licenses, a further 620 are R2 Advanced non-venomous licenses and a total of 207 for Classes R3 (vens cat 1 = 74), R4 (vens cat 2 = 73) + R5 (vens cat 3 = 60). Breakdown of overall wildlife keeping data indicates 47% only keep one native animal and 86% keep less than five.

I'd like to see people participate in offering suggestions to proposals as I intend to do however; as a hell of a lot of NSW private keepers are relatively new, holding between 1 and 5 captives and who probably have little or no experienced in dealing with government legislation, I doubt very much that other than those who are die hard herpetoculturists, have a direct involvement in herpetology or those who have some type of direct invested interest, would be affected by the proposals. I also doubt most would have the background or experience to be able to provide an opinion in relation to the proposals on board. It just maybe the minimum number of serious licensed keepers in NSW (and of those in particular, those that have had previous dealings with both NSW NPWS & OEH) might account for any apathetic (your words not mine) reaction in regards to offering opinions to the proposed changes to the licensing system. The main reason I put up the thread was as I stated "for anyone interested". Whether anyone wishes to read the proposals and/or respond or not...well that's up to them.

I don't think NSW keepers (and I'm referring to experienced die hard license holders) embrace (as you put it ) the nanny state / restrictive approach the government imposes. I also doubt if they want to be restricted or over regulated. In fact from the people I talk to it appears to be the exact opposite. They accept it because that's they way it is at present....but embrace it? I think not. I'm not aware of people campaigning for restrictions to be imposed, some may have proposed some but given the nature of the hobby which includes for some the want to initiate keeping highly venomous snakes and/or species of reptiles which require specialist knowledge that can only be gained through experience I don't see a real problem with it. I mean for both cases there is an argument for consideration for the welfare and well being of both the captive and the keeper.

From personal experience I know that very few (if any) proposals offered by individuals or herp societies were initiated by NSW NPWS at the time licensing to keep reptiles was introduced back in the 1990's and I might be wrong but considering that there is a total of only 827 licensed to keep reptiles above cat 1, I don't think that any suggestions submitted would be seriously considered let alone initiated this time around either, even if keepers were to group together in a unified scream of agreement (where incidentally a unified agreement may be difficult to find and given the numbers of serious keepers I doubt would be loud enough to get noticed). I believe the NSW OHE only offer public consultation regarding changes to Wildlife Licencing Proposals as a regulatory requirement. I also doubt very much that they would consider any suggestions offered toward the proposals from interstate reptile keepers or bodies no matter what their background may be. Surely you're aware that if there's one thing State and Territory governments don't appreciate, it's interference in decision making from such interstate entities.

It might also be worth considering that the pet bird and fish hobby industries have a bit more punch as a result of being around much longer and as such "the cat got out of the bag" long before any concise regulatory legislation regarding exotics and native species could be initiated let alone enforced.

Sure some of the proposals put forward are a bit absurd and I don't agree with, but others proposing things like increasing the exempt species list and new keepers gaining experience before being provided a license to keep dangerous vens for example seem reasonable.

I also agree with the proposals regarding the changes put forward in relation to approval of "snake rescuers and relocators" and hopefully if initiated will have an impact on the current load of cowboys engaged in the practice. I also don't see a problem with the proposal for those that breed reptiles in large numbers as a business (whether as a pseudo hobby or not) to be licensed to conduct such activity.

All the best,

George.
 
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Mick666

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Is there a link between QLD and NSW both wanting to change legislation at the same time? It seems a bit suss to me, like some lobbyists have been working overtime or something. Is there an attack on us nation wide. What's going on?
 

Sdaji

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Hi George,

I think it's funny that you say you are unaware of anyone in the hobby wants more restrictions, then go on to list several examples.

You say I have a 'piss poor' opinion of herpers. Not all individuals of course; there are plenty of absolutely brilliant individuals in Australia, but as a group, absolutely, and if you can't see why you are obviously failing to be objective. Open your eyes and look at the reality of the scene.

The fish and bird market may have been around longer, but they still operate without licenses, they can *still* *import* *exotic species* which can be kept with *no license or restriction*. They literally are allowed to *import* *pest species* and sell them *without any regulation at all*! I'm not saying I like that, but those are freedoms which exist because they oppose regulation and fight for their freedoms. There is nothing stopping the government from banning imports other than the power and will of those communities, which clearly the herpers lack.

If they behaved half as badly as the herpers, import and export would immediately cease, licenses would be mandatory for many species, and there would be absurd proposals for ridiculous regulations such as we are seeing with herps, and there would be people like you saying they're reasonable, and if anyone questioned it they'd say they were bewildered! Before long, with their supposed advocacy structure (or excuse for it) would allow exotic species to be banned (probably a good thing incidentally) after a long period of grandfathered specimens being phased out and 'no sale or breeding' permits being issued and eventually coming to deaths. The entire system would eventually become tightly regulated with a restrictive permit system, which people like you would say was reasonable. It would cost the taxpayer a fortune and provide no benefits to anyone other than a few bureaucrats and enforcement officers would would from time to time prosecute a few little guys to justify their existence while the big guys abused the system. Sound familiar? It should!

Reptile keeping started a long time ago, and the existing legal systems came in fairly late. The herp community could have given themselves a much better deal, and still certainly could. The situation is only getting more restrictive, and you are not seeing that as a problem, simultaneously saying it doesn't exist and is a good thing. The fish and bird people would go crazy opposing it. This is not because of anything which happened decades ago, it is because of what they are today. Reptile keepers are clearly already far too overregulated. A kid can buy a goldfish (exotic pest) or native fish, or an exotic finch or native budgerigar, all off license, no regulation at all. To buy a reptile they need a license and they are open to random inspections from government agencies who can fine them based on technical paperwork errors which are so easy to make that the government departments themselves often make them in the example paperwork they provide, or perhaps in the future also keeping guidelines which in many cases don't make sense and are counterproductive. When they tried to bring this into Victoria when I was keeping there, quite a lot of the guidelines would literally force people to keep their animals in inappropriate conditions.

I mentioned QLD and NSW. NSW is perhaps the most extremely regulated state, and I often come across New South Welshman keepers wanting mandatory exams in order to obtain a license. Apparently you have never heard of this (!!!) or any of the other ridiculous things they embrace. Perhaps you've heard of QLD's venomous snake cap, and the extremely underwhelming response from keepers. The main advocate in QLD trying to oppose this and some other proposed increases in regulation (good on her for wanting to oppose it!) has herself recently been so frustrated with the inaction and apathy of her fellow QLD herpers that she has been publicly berating them! These are just recent examples, but I've been watching this pattern for literally decades. But, apparently I'm 'bewildering' for saying these things and they don't actually exist?

I'm not exactly the only one saying these things. Many frustrated keepers across Australia talk about similar observations, and being frustrated by it rather than just curious and interested like myself, they can get pretty angry and disheartened by the whole situation, which is not surprising. NSW clearly does have the people most keen to embrace hyperregulation, and if QLD doesn't win the apathy award it certainly is a strong contender.

If you truly believe the bird and fish communities have better advocates and/or greater freedom because their communities are older, it is a reason for the herpers to step up their game, not a reason to bend over and take it.

Anyway, I'm just watching from the sidelines. We will see what eventuates.
 

pythoninfinite

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Is there a link between QLD and NSW both wanting to change legislation at the same time? It seems a bit suss to me, like some lobbyists have been working overtime or something. Is there an attack on us nation wide. What's going on?

Wildlife authorities in all states have been working together for a few years now on what they see as the "problems" caused by reptile keepers in this country. Although I'm not a morph or hybrid man, and would never choose to own any one of these animals, I can see the only real problem caused by this current obsession is the difficulty it creates for people like me when I want animals from a specific locality and can rarely ever be guaranteed of locality pure animals (particularly Carpets, but also Antaresias and a few of the vens such as Death Adders). I do know that there is some concern about the huge numbers of snakes of mixed heritage (again, especially Carpets) which are bred just because they can be, with little thought about disposal after the breeder has succeeded.

I have worked around the edges of wildlife departments for nearly 50 years, mostly in WA, but for the last 15 years, living in NSW. Although there is this current review going on in NSW, and we do seem to be being given a better hearing this time, I think the outcomes may end up being just a variation on what we have had in the past - with a few changes to lists and licences. I may be wrong, and I hope I am. From what I've seen in all that time, departments still seem to think that being highly prescriptive and inflexible serves some sort of purpose when it comes to conservation. I don't think it does at all - by far the most destructive species-threatening activity - land clearing - still continues apace in this country, and the current Minister always comes out and says "it is being done within the STRICTEST environmental guidelines..." This is just government bullsh!t to justify that farmers and miners have more influence than anyone actually concerned about real conservation.

NSW herp keepers have mobilised much more than Qld keepers with regard to the proposed changes because in NSW we were dudded by NPWS in 2013 when the consultative group of keepers (which comprised collectively over 600 years of combined experience) was simply shut out of the process when the Dept wanted to develop a Code of Practice and they didn't like what we were recommending. Qld has been a reasonably easy place to keep reptiles for many years, so they are still rather passive, maybe because they just don't believe the absurdities about to be dumped on them as L.A.W. law.

The arguments will go on forever, but reptile keepers are way over-regulated in this country, especially with regard to species. Over-regulation always leads to higher amounts of covert activity, which defeats the reasons for regulation in the first place. My belief is that a more pragmatic approach would lead to a more open relationship with regulators, which may actually lead to a more cooperative alliance between keepers and Departments, especially where problems may be encountered.

But getting consensus between keepers is like getting consensus between the states - in both cases it's like herding cats...

Jamie
 

longirostris

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Thanks for posting up the review documents George, it gives us more opportunity to discuss it and the likely impacts of the proposed changes in this forum. More importantly for me personally it gives us the opportunity to discuss some of the philosophical aspects of the issues associated with the licensing and regulation of reptile keeping in NSW and for that matter, other states of Australia as well.

Let me start by saying that there actually is a representative group acting for and in the best interests of the hobby and reptile keepers generally in NSW and preparing a submission on that basis for OEH to consider, (but please do your own submissions, because the more the better). The group is the collective of all the Herpetological Societies in NSW as well as other interested parties that can bring positive outcomes to the submission process. It is registered as the Herpetological Cooperative of NSW (HCN). I say acting for and in the best interests of, but I need to point out that with any collective process the likely outcomes that will be achieved or are even trying to be achieved are what I would call "grey or consensus outcomes". This is always going to be the case when you have a large group of individuals in a negotiating process trying to promote and elevate aspects of the proposals that impact on them. Sometimes you will even get views that may be conflicting and then the group needs to find some sort of middle ground that gives a best fit for the stated outcome of the representative group of trying to get the best result possible for the hobby and reptile keepers generally. If people have a specific pointg of view or area of concern they should most definitely do their own submission, don't rely on HCN to do it for you.

I need to say straight up here and now that if not for this group I hate to think of what we would end up with out of this review process. The group and certain individuals within it have worked tirelessly and selflessly to try and get the best possible outcomes for NSW reptile keepers. The message from me to everyone on this forum particularly the 800 or so category 2 plus keepers, is if you haven't done a submission than get cracking and let OEH NPWS know how you feel about their proposed changes. For all those keepers out there that are not a member of a Herpetological society, become one asap. Let the NSW government know that we have numbers and therefor a voice. Sitting on the fence with MORE THAN one python or whatever reptile is JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH, you are a hobbyist, make sure it is still there for you in the future by speaking up now. I have said this several times on this forum to the point of annoyance, if you don't speak up you will eventually one day loose your opportunity to keep reptiles. This is the outcome that the animal welfare lobby are pushing for and they have a very strong voice and authorities have no option but to listen.

Unfortunately for me and I guess a lot of us who perhaps could see this coming is the fact that everything we do from now is reactive and what we really needed to be was proactive. I remember several years back Gavin Bedford and Greg Miles tried to rally the hobby with a bit of a call to arms to try and get a single body established that could represent the interests of reptile keepers around the country generally. It was a monumental failure in that no one was really all that interested. There were a few people that said I'm in but that was as far as it got. No doubt there will be some that think the whole process was about self interest at the time and perhaps there may have even been a little bit of that, but at the end of the day the idea or the concept was right then and is even more right now. We are staring down over efficious bureaucrats in wildlife management authorities in every state of Australia who in many cases pander to the animal welfare lobby and politicians they report to who only concentrate on where the numbers are at. We need a strong representative voice if we are to maintain our involvement with the animals we work with.

This post is already miles to long so I will finish it here but I will come back in another post on the philosophical elements of the discussion that you guys have raised because I believe strongly that there are views expressed that need further discussion and even future direction. Give me a coupe of hours or so to go and look after my dragons and will come back to this.

Mark Hawker
 
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