Some thoughts on USARK and MM

I was gonna post this over a week ago then got busy and forgot about it…

Two things are always true:

  1. If an industry doesn’t do a good job of regulating itself, the State is more than happy to come in and do it for them.
  2. Activists will do their very best to suck the joy out of everyone who doesn’t behave precisely the way they want them to behave.

I don’t think that the reptile community does a terrible job of self-regulating, but I think it could be better. I also think that the reptile community does a pretty good job of supporting USARK - but that could be much better too.

USARK membership is absolutely essential, the number of members is critically important when they are out there lobbying for us. Each member represents a constituent - numbers of constituents is a language that state representatives understand. Find a way that works for you to bring up the importance of USARK membership to every single person who contacts you about an animal. Maybe there’s just a blurb in your email signature about USARK, maybe you give members a small discount on animals, or maybe you offer free shipping to members. Anything that encourages the number of individuals who USARK represents can make a difference.

The other really important piece of the future of the industry is MorphMarket . The addition of the Code of Ethics is amazing, but it needs to be expanded, even if slightly. The best way to expand it is participation, and the best way to participate in the continuation of building MorphMarket as a resource is to get on the forums there. It should be the most reliable place for people to go to get information about care and husbandry, advice about getting into breeding, and really any pertinent information that helps keep the hobby out of the news (like what states require permits for certain things.) We would still have Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube - but information obtained from MorphMarket should be the gold standard. It’s well moderated yet allows for reasonable debate and differences of opinion (It also has 2 geneticists posting frequently which is pretty awesome, and valuable.) The site itself and that Code of Ethics needs to be made important enough that buyers expect breeders to be members there too.

I say all of this as a person who spent years involved in purebred dogs. The politics out there is insane, the looming legislation we deal with in the reptile world is a tithe of what the AKC deals with and fights all the time. A lot can be learned from how they run their organization, both good and bad. They generate revenue like crazy, and they register 1million dogs a year on average - each of those dogs belong to constituents. This is the key to their success. It’s not that they never lose, they do, but they fight everything; they know that the slippery slope is real.

I think that USARK and MorphMarket working together can do for the reptile industry what the AKC does for purebred dogs but much better. USARK is there finding and fighting the state and the activists while MorphMarket helps to make sure that USARK’s job in doing that is far easier by building a fully transparent, publicly accessible community of ethical, credible constituents.


I didnt have the time to read this fully yet, i skimmed but agree with everything i saw. Honestly im not so sure on the reptile hobbies current ability to self regulate, and in that sense i agree with you more it needs to improve before others use it against us. MM is the only platform of herpers getting together where personal attacks and slander over disagreements is the exception and not the rule. Honestly, i would far prefer to buy from breeders on this forum than randoms, and i think small breeders and startups cant afford not to join the forum. Im getting ready to hopefully get my first clutch of eggs soon, and am very thankful for joining the forum when i did. Buyers when they see no reviews will be able to see how active ive been on the forum and for how long. And with all the friends ive made here, i would be dumb to do anything that would ruin the trust ive built here. This has the makings of a absolutely great community! I prefer it over any of the facebook groups ive joined!