Don't Blacklist Pets

Congress is considering legislation that will harm the human-animal bond, the conservation work of zoos and aquariums, and your ability to get a pet.
Stop the Animal Ban!

What’s Going On?

Imagine you couldn’t take your pets with you if you moved to another state, or stock your home aquarium.

Imagine rescuing tortoises and parrots made you a federal criminal.

Imagine zoos empty, unable to promote educational experiences for visitors to increase their appreciation for animals.

These are all possible consequences of bad legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the “Lacey Act Amendments of 2023.”

The bill would create a federal "whitelist" of animals allowed to be moved interstate or imported. But a "whitelist" is really a blacklist--any animal not on the "whitelist" would be blacklisted. Pets and other species could be federally blacklisted by this proposal, creating huge problems for animals and the people who care for them.

What Would Change?

Generally, state and federal law allows the importation of all animals. Governments can set restrictions to prevent the introduction of non-native species or regulate potentially dangerous animals. This system has worked well for decades.

The bill before Congress would flip this on its head.

Under the bill, animals would be blacklisted by default. Any individual species would have to be explicitly placed on a federal exemption list to be legally imported.

Consider the difficulty of this: There are over 8 million species on Earth!

Suddenly, animals that can be moved across state lines today would be considered contraband tomorrow. This includes pets like fish, amphibians, birds, small mammals, or reptiles.

Violators would be subject to federal prosecution.

Worse, unelected bureaucrats would have new powers to impose additional restrictions. And a species that is only a concern in one state would be banned from traveling across any state line, turning a state issue into a federal issue that affects all U.S. citizens.

Coming to Your Area?

Activists also want to pass blacklists in cities and states, if they can't pass one federally. Take action below and we'll keep you informed if we see a "blacklist" effort near you.


The legislation would create chaos. Imagine a few scenarios:

  • You own several species of fish that now become blacklisted. You have to give them up or euthanize them when you move out of state.
  • You work for an animal rescue that deploys to a neighboring state. Your work is limited because, if you were to transport the animals back to your facilities, it would be a federal crime.
  • You are a medical researcher with a major institution working on cures for HIV/AIDS. You are not able to import any new animals, and your work grinds to a halt.
  • You work for a major zoo. You are not able to transfer animals to other zoos around the country to support breeding programs that expand populations of endangered species.

This legislation is a major threat to animals and the human-animal bond. That’s why the American Veterinary Medical Association, which represents our nation’s veterinarians, is opposed to it.

“We are concerned about the proposal because it may limit access to treatment for wildlife and exotic species, as well as create bureaucratic barriers to care by requiring research institutes to obtain additional permits,” the organization says.

Sen. Rubio Needs to Hear From YOU!

Tired of bad bills in Washington, D.C. that can have dramatic effects on the entire country? Sign the petition below to tell Sen. Marco Rubio to Stop the Animal Ban!