The Lacey Act of 1900, or simply the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3371–3378) is a conservation law in the United States that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold.
Introduced into Congress by Rep. John F. Lacey, an Iowa Republican, the act was signed into law by President William McKinley on May 25, 1900. It protects both plants and wildlife by creating civil and criminal penalties for those who violate the rules and regulations. It authorizes the Secretary of Interior to aid in restoring game and birds in parts of the U.S. where they have become extinct or rare. It also regulates introduction of birds and other animals to places where they have never existed before.
The law is still in effect, although it has been amended several times.
In 1900, illegal commercial hunting threatened many game species in the United States. The original Act was 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 or prohibited animals across state lines, and addressed potential problems caused by the introduction of non-native species of birds and animals into native ecosystems.
Today it is primarily used to prevent the importation or spread of potentially dangerous non-native species. 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, or any foreign law that protects plants.
The Lacey Act was amended on May 22, 2008, when the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 expanded its protection to a broader range of plants and plant products (Section 8204. Prevention of Illegal Logging Practices), largely championed by Senator Ron Wyden(D)Oregon, with some arguing that some the motivation for the act was to protect US lumber jobs and the supply-chain reporting provisions encountered opposition from the wood industry regarding the , such as objections to the burden of reporting.
This issue attained media prominence in September 2011, including Speaker John Boehner citing Gibson in his response to President Obama’s jobs speech.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced a ban under the Act effective March 23, 2012, on the importation and interstate transportation of four species of constrictor snakes, due to the snakes' impact upon the Florida Everglades.
Gibson Guitar Corporation was raided twice by federal authorities between 2009 and 2011. In the raids, rosewood and ebony worth thousands of US dollars were seized. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claimed that the wood had procured a fingerboard that was not sufficiently finished to meet Madagascar allowance for export of fingerboards or violated Indian export law. Gibson initially denied wrongdoing and insisted that the federal government was bullying them.