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The Lacey Act of 1900, or more commonly The Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. § 33713378, is a conservation law introduced by Iowa Rep. John F. Lacey. It was signed into law by President William McKinley on May 25th, 1900. The Lacey Act has been amended several times. The most significant times were in 1969, 1981, and in 1989.

At the turn of the century, illegal commercial hunting threatened many game species in the United States. The law prohibited the transportation of illegally captured or prohibited animals across state lines. It was the first federal law protecting wildlife, and is still in effect, though it has been revised several times. Today the law is primarily used to prevent the importation or spread of potentially dangerous non-native species.

The Lacey Act was amended as of May 22, 2008, when the The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, effective May 22, 2008, expanded its protection to a broader range of plants and plant products (Section 8204. Prevention of Illegal Logging Practices). The Lacey Act 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.


  • Nation marks Lacey Act centennial, 100 years of federal wildlife law enforcement. US Fish and Wildlife Service press release. May 30, 2000. [1]
  • Rebecca F. Wisch. 2003. "Overview of the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. SS 3371-3378)". Michigan State University College of Law Animal Legal & Historical Web Center [2].
  • The National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. Background Information: The Lacey Act Amendments in the Farm Bill [3].
  • Elizabeth A. Baldwin. Shelter Magazine. June, 2008. Complying with the Lacey Act [4]
  • Raffi Khatchadourian. The New Yorker. October, 2008. The Stolen Forests: Inside the covert war on illegal logging [5].

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