United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Dec 10, 2023
Importation or shipment of injurious mammals, birds, fish (including mollusks and crustacea), amphibia, and reptiles; permits, specimens for museums; regulations
The importation into the United States, any territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any possession of the United States, or any shipment between the continental United States, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any possession of the United States, of the mongoose of the species Herpestes auropunctatus; of the species of so-called “flying foxes” or fruit bats of the genus Pteropus; of the zebra mussel of the species Dreissena polymorpha; of the quagga mussel of the species Dreissena rostriformis or Dreissena bugensis; of the bighead carp of the species Hypophthalmichthys nobilis; and such other species of wild mammals, wild birds, fish (including mollusks and crustacea), amphibians, reptiles, brown tree snakes, or the offspring or eggs of any of the foregoing which the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe by regulation to be injurious to human beings, to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or to wildlife or the wildlife resources of the United States, is hereby prohibited. All such prohibited mammals, birds, fish (including mollusks and crustacea), amphibians, and reptiles, and the eggs or offspring therefrom, shall be promptly exported or destroyed at the expense of the importer or consignee. Nothing in this section shall be construed to repeal or modify any provision of the Public Health Service Act or Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Also, this section shall not authorize any action with respect to the importation of any plant pest as defined in the Federal Plant Pest Act,1
insofar as such importation is subject to regulation under that Act.
1See References in Text note below.
As used in this subsection, the term “wild” relates to any creatures that, whether or not raised in captivity, normally are found in a wild state; and the terms “wildlife” and “wildlife resources” include those resources that comprise wild mammals, wild birds, fish (including mollusks and crustacea), and all other classes of wild creatures whatsoever, and all types of aquatic and land vegetation upon which such wildlife resources are dependent.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Secretary of the Interior, when he finds that there has been a proper showing of responsibility and continued protection of the public interest and health, shall permit the importation for zoological, educational, medical, and scientific purposes of any mammals, birds, fish (including mollusks and crustacea), amphibia, and reptiles, or the offspring or eggs thereof, where such importation would be prohibited otherwise by or pursuant to this Act, and this Act shall not restrict importations by Federal agencies for their own use.
Nothing in this subsection shall restrict the importation of dead natural-history specimens for museums or for scientific collections, or the importation of domesticated canaries, parrots (including all other species of psittacine birds), or such other cage birds as the Secretary of the Interior may designate.
The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of the Interior shall enforce the provisions of this subsection, including any regulations issued hereunder, and, if requested by the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of the Treasury may require the furnishing of an appropriate bond when desirable to insure compliance with such provisions.
Whoever violates this section, or any regulation issued pursuant thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
The Secretary of the Interior within one hundred and eighty days of the enactment of the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 shall prescribe such requirements and issue such permits as he may deem necessary for the transportation of wild animals and birds under humane and healthful conditions, and it shall be unlawful for any person, including any importer, knowingly to cause or permit any wild animal or bird to be transported to the United States, or any Territory or district thereof, under inhumane or unhealthful conditions or in violation of such requirements. In any criminal prosecution for violation of this subsection and in any administrative proceeding for the suspension of the issuance of further permits—
the condition of any vessel or conveyance, or the enclosures in which wild animals or birds are confined therein, upon its arrival in the United States, or any Territory or district thereof, shall constitute relevant evidence in determining whether the provisions of this subsection have been violated; and
the presence in such vessel or conveyance at such time of a substantial ratio of dead, crippled, diseased, or starving wild animals or birds shall be deemed prima facie evidence of the violation of the provisions of this subsection.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 687; May 24, 1949, ch. 139, § 2, 63 Stat. 89; Pub. L. 86–702, § 1,
Sept. 2, 1960, 74 Stat. 753; Pub. L. 97–79, § 9(d), Nov. 16, 1981, 95 Stat. 1079; Pub. L. 101–646, title I, § 1208, Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4772; Pub. L. 102–237, title X, § 1013(e), Dec. 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 1901; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(G), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147; Pub. L. 104–332, § 2(h)(1), Oct. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 4091; Pub. L. 111–307, § 2, Dec. 14, 2010, 124 Stat. 3282; Pub. L. 115–282, title IX, § 903(e), Dec. 4, 2018, 132 Stat. 4357.)
cite as: 18 USC 42