The U.S. government has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn a nationwide ban on four giant snake species.
Attorneys for Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say the United States Association of Reptile Keepers has not sufficiently explained why importing the snakes into the U.S. or transporting them across state lines was vital to research and conservation activities among its members.
The lawsuit filed in December in federal court in Washington, D.C., says the ban has cost reptile breeders, handlers, hobbyists and vendors tens of millions of dollars. An attorney for the North Carolina-based association says the defendants remain confident about their claims.
The ban on Burmese pythons, yellow anacondas and northern and southern African rock pythons was announced in 2012.