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June 18, 2009

The HSUS Applauds Fla. Turtle Trade Ban

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States commends the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for unanimously passing a rule banning the commercial trapping and sale of freshwater turtles in Florida.

"The Commission took this important action to protect Florida's turtles after experts warned that turtle populations could not sustain commercial trade," said Jennifer Hobgood, The HSUS' Florida state director. "The new rule may save the day for Florida's turtles."

The regulation, passed Wednesday, will end the shipment of thousands of pounds of Florida turtles each week to overseas markets. While the rule is a big step forward to conserve Florida's resources, it leaves loopholes, such as allowing turtles to be removed from the wild for breeding stock. The HSUS hopes those loopholes will be addressed.

The HSUS also applauds the leadership of Gov. Charlie Crist, who in November 2008 called for the FWC to move toward a complete ban on harvesting Florida's wild freshwater turtles.

In addition, the Commission approved rules, supported by The HSUS, to prohibit keeping cougars and cheetahs as pets and to restrict private ownership of certain primate species. Now Florida will join a majority of states in prohibiting all big cats as pets. The HSUS urges the Commission to build on these measures by prohibiting all primates as pets. 

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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