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Proposed Policy Change on Endangered Animals

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Story I somehow missed from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on October 11...

Policy change on endangered animals proposed
Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post

Published October 11, 2003 ENDA11

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Bush administration is proposing far-reaching changes to conservation policies that would allow hunters, circuses and the pet industry to kill, capture and import animals on the brink of extinction in other countries.

Giving Americans access to endangered animals, officials said, would both feed the gigantic U.S. demand for live animals, skins, parts and trophies, and generate profits that would allow poor nations to pay for conservation of the remaining animals and their habitats.

This and other proposals that pursue conservation through trade would, for example, open the door for U.S. trophy hunters to kill the endangered straight-horned markhor in Pakistan; license the pet industry to import the blue fronted Amazon parrot from Argentina; permit the capture of endangered Asian elephants for U.S. circuses and zoos, and partially resume the international trade in African ivory. No U.S. endangered species would be affected.

Conservation groups counter that killing or capturing even a few animals is hardly the best way to protect endangered species, and say the policies cater to individuals and businesses that profit from animal exploitation.

"It's a very dangerous precedent to decide that wildlife exploitation is in the best interest of wildlife," said Adam Roberts, a senior research associate at the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute, an advocacy group for endangered species.

The latest proposal involves an interpretation of the Endangered Species Act that deviates radically from the course followed by Republican and Democratic administrations since President Nixon signed the act in 1973. The law established broad protection for endangered species, most of which are not native to the United States, and effectively prohibited trade in them.

Kenneth Stansell, assistant director for international affairs at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said there has been a growing realization that the Endangered Species Act provides poor countries no incentive to protect dying species. Allowing U.S. hunters, circuses and the pet industry to pay countries to take fixed numbers of animals from the wild would pay for conservation programs for remaining animals, he said.

U.S. officials note that such trade is already open to hunters, pet importers and zoos in other Western nations. They say the idea is supported by poor countries that are home to the endangered species and would benefit from the revenue.

Officials at the Department of Interior and Fish and Wildlife, who are spearheading many of the new policies, said the proposals merely implement rarely used provisions in the law.

Animal welfare advocates question the logic of the new approach, saying that foreign countries and groups that stand to profit will be in charge of determining how many animals can be killed or captured. Advocates also warn that opening the door to legal trade will allow poaching to flourish.

This just makes me sick. I can't believe this man got elected. If the price is right, you can help to kill off an endangered species. I don't even think I can comment coherently right now I am so angry over this!!!
post #2 of 7
I knew that Bush was stupid, I didn't realize just HOW stupid he is. UGH. I doubt this will get passed and Bush just lost himself a few more votes.

I can't believe this man.
post #3 of 7
I can't believe that is a serious article. Has he lost his bloody mind?? That's our Bush!
post #4 of 7
We gotta get that man out of office is all I can say!! Just another example of his absolute cluelessness about being a leader!!

Yes, I'm a firm supporter of environmental groups.....
post #5 of 7
Oh dear lord.

I thought the article was a piece of internet urban legend or maybe even a prank. I thought it was frightening when he was elected, but things are just terrifying. And I don't even live in USA.
post #6 of 7
Oh my God! What are the chances of such a proposal being approved? That makes me mad!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine has a theory that this is just a red herring that the Bush administration is using to get the environmental groups focused on something other than drilling for oil in Alaska.
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