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Lacey Act

Lacey Act

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The Lacey Act of 1900, or more commonly The Lacey Act is a conservation law
Conservation movement
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

 introduced by Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

 Rep. John F. Lacey
John F. Lacey
John Fletcher Lacey was an eight-term Republican United States congressman from Iowa's 6th congressional district. He was also the author of the Lacey Act of 1900, which made it a crime to ship illegal game across state lines, and the Lacey Act of 1907, which further regulated the handling of...

. Protecting both plants and wildlife by creating civil and criminal penalties for a wide array of violations, the Act most notably prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, transported or sold. The law was signed into law by President William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

 on May 25, 1900, and is still in effect, although it has been amended several times.

Background


In 1900, illegal commercial hunting threatened many game species in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The original Act was therefore directed at the preservation of game and wild birds, making it a federal crime to poach game in one state with the purpose of selling the bounty in another. The law prohibited the transportation of illegally captured
Poaching
Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.It may be illegal and in...

 or prohibited animals across state lines, and addressed potential problems of the introduction of non-native species of birds and animals into native ecosystems.

It was the first federal law protecting wildlife, although today it is primarily used to prevent the importation or spread of potentially dangerous non-native species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

. The Lacey Act also makes it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant in violation of the laws of the United States, a State, an Indian tribe
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, or any foreign law that protects plants.

The Lacey Act was most recently amended as of May 22, 2008, when the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008
Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 was a $288 billion, five-year agricultural policy bill that was passed into law by the United States Congress on June 18, 2008. The bill was a continuation of the 2002 Farm Bill. It continues the United States' long history of agricultural subsidy as...

 expanded its protection to a broader range of plants and plant products (Section 8204. Prevention of Illegal Logging
Illegal logging
Illegal logging is the harvest, transportation, purchase or sale of timber in violation of laws. The harvesting procedure itself may be illegal, including using corrupt means to gain access to forests; extraction without permission or from a protected area; the cutting of protected species; or the...

Practices).

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