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October 11, 2003 3:17 PM   Subscribe

U.S. May Expand Access To Endangered Species. With this year being the 30th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, the Bush Administration is considering proposals that "would allow hunters, circuses and the pet industry to kill, capture and import animals on the brink of extinction in other countries."
posted by Stynxno (50 comments total)

 
Legalize poaching and thereby limit it to sustainable level. Makes sense to me. The alternatives are Bush hates elephants or is on the take of the circus industry.
posted by rschram at 3:24 PM on October 11, 2003


Legalize poaching and thereby limit it to sustainable level.

Considering they can't stop a lot of poachers now, what incentive do the poachers have to slow down. This just seems like it will give them less resistance to do what they are already doing.

How would you limit poaching it to a sustainable level, rschram? Consider also that this is a bad area to start experimental research. Once a species is gone, it's forever.
posted by velacroix at 3:32 PM on October 11, 2003


The US Government is a weapon of mass destruction.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:33 PM on October 11, 2003


"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.

Isn't that why the administration wanted to bomb and attack Iraq — in that country's own best interest? At least they're consistent. (The only thing the article leaves out is how Halliburton is going to profit from all this killing and destruction of the rare animals.)
posted by LeLiLo at 3:39 PM on October 11, 2003


Each day I wake up and think "oh well, at least they can't do anything even more stupid than what went on yesterday". Each day I go to bed surprised at their sheer ingenuity.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:54 PM on October 11, 2003


The Bush Adminstration: "To save it, we have to kill it." (SM)
posted by AstroGuy at 3:56 PM on October 11, 2003


Lick Bush in '04.

/bush
posted by LouReedsSon at 3:58 PM on October 11, 2003


How would you limit poaching it to a sustainable level...

Give incentives for poor countries to protect endangered species. In some countries, park rangers have to eat bushmeat because they aren't paid. Poachers themselves will still try to illegally hunt game, but if there's a reason to stop them, resources will be made available.

The Bush Adminstration: "To save it, we have to kill it." (SM)

Yeah, Bush hates elephants. That makes so much sense.
posted by rschram at 4:07 PM on October 11, 2003


The free market is not a solution to every single problem in the world. The US government's single minded devotion to the free market is slowly destroying the free market.

I get the theory behind this, but I fail to see how this could be implemented effectively. How do we insure that profits from exploiting nearly extinct animals actually go to fund parks and other resources? Many of these countries are embroiled in military conflicts, economic depressions and social health crises. Saving the animals has never been a very high priority in many parts of the world. So what stops, say, Uganda government officials from using this "program" as badly needed revenue to fund other priorities?

This is not a situation that free markets philosophy (or sophistry) can fix. If the US government wants to save elephants, why not work through (gasp) the UN or some NGOs to fund programs that directly preserve rare and exotic animals?
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:17 PM on October 11, 2003


Oh yeah, more access to endangered species is a great idea. Just ask Roy Horn.
posted by ilsa at 4:20 PM on October 11, 2003


Yeah, Bush hates elephants. That makes so much sense.

it would be more accurate to say that bush hates anything he cannot exploit and control for profit. controlling and exploiting is what unfettered capitalism engenders. controlling and exploiting has become the american religion. i doubt very much whether dubyah gives a flying fuck about elephants one way or the other, but he very much cares about enabling those who would exploit and control elephants for profit.
posted by quonsar at 4:20 PM on October 11, 2003


Protecting wildlife by allowing people to exploit more of it is highly reminiscent of protecting forests by allowing people to burn down more of it. I can't wait to find out what's next!
posted by inksyndicate at 4:25 PM on October 11, 2003


The alternatives are Bush hates elephants or is on the take of the circus industry.

Or that anti-environmentalism is an idoelogy in it's own right.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:38 PM on October 11, 2003


An "idoelogy" is a set of dogmatic beliefs held by deer. Most of Greenland's wars can be traced back to idoelogy.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:39 PM on October 11, 2003


I notice what I suspect is a weasel word: "Exploitation."

Can we "bottom line" this situation for a minute? For example, if putting animals in zoos or private hands in the US results in more of that type of endangered animal, or greater genetic diversity; as opposed to letting them "run wild, run free" in nations where they will die out, what is the problem? Is it that animals should be left in "nature"?
Or that only environmentalists should be allowed to enjoy "nature"?

Seriously, if a nation is so totally screwed up, at civil war, with tens or hundreds of thousands of people starving, warring tribal clans slaughtering each other, why SHOULDN'T the US swoop down and take away ALL of their endangered animals for safekeeping?

Humans outnumber rats. To hell with them if they want to have a war that destroys irreplaceable animals. When they grow up, then maybe they will thank the US for having saved something that was worth more than their petty spats.

I'm sure PETA agrees that animals are more important than people, anyway.

Remember Ducks Unlimited? It was set up by duck hunters.
There are now so DAMN many ducks they are dying of natural plagues.
posted by kablam at 4:39 PM on October 11, 2003


Chop down forests to prevent wildfires... kill endangered species to stop them from being endangered... decimate the Bill of Rights to assure terrorists don't deprive us of our Constitutional rights...

Irony has a new standard.
posted by moonbird at 5:01 PM on October 11, 2003


Let's see. Clearly outlawing illegal drug use hasn't stopped people from using illegal drug use, so people are calling for an end to the War on Drugs. Legalize it, tax it, the supply will be safer. This is conisdered good.

Outlawing poaching has not stopped it, so people are calling for an end to the War on Poaching. Legalize it, tax it, the animals will be safer. This is considered.... bad?
posted by kindall at 5:09 PM on October 11, 2003


There's a million problems with this new policy, as there always are with any policy. There are problems with this policy that can't even be foreseen.

I will concede that this policy smacks of ideological patterns thus far set out in the environment policies of the Bush administration, (private-sector faux "sustainable use") but I also see the problems it's trying to address are real. Poaching, habitat loss and human interactions. This is one more attempt to implement ESA/CITES after years of uneven success. Perhaps the internal proponents for this approach found the current ideological trends a hospitable environment, but the idea itself does not seem ideologically motivated.
posted by rschram at 5:17 PM on October 11, 2003


Outlawing poaching has not stopped it, so people are calling for an end to the War on Poaching. Legalize it, tax it, the animals will be safer. This is considered.... bad?

That really sounds reasonable, until you actually think about it. Did you?

Drugs are not the same thing as endangered species, so the policy that is good for one is bad for the other. It would be like saying "Well, killing germs is a good thing, it keeps you healthy. So by the same token, killing your mom will keep you healthy, too." See? Not the same thing.
posted by RylandDotNet at 5:27 PM on October 11, 2003


Ford to City: Drop Dead

Bush to USA: It's all good
posted by crunchburger at 5:32 PM on October 11, 2003


Dead animals are protected animals. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Yada yada yada.

For example, if putting animals in zoos or private hands in the US results in more of that type of endangered animal, or greater genetic diversity; as opposed to letting them "run wild, run free" in nations where they will die out, what is the problem?

False dichotomy. There are an infinity of other alternatives, including staying out of their habitat and leaving the fucking animals alone to live out their own lives. Duh.

Or that only environmentalists should be allowed to enjoy "nature"?

Staw man. Environmentalists do not claim that only they should be allowed to "enjoy nature", nor do they claim that their work is designed solely with the goal of human "enjoyment" as a goal. There are other worthwhile goals, believe it or not.

I'm sure PETA agrees that animals are more important than people, anyway.

Straw man. I'm sure you have no idea what PETA agrees, nor is that relevant.

Seriously, if a nation is so totally screwed up, at civil war, with tens or hundreds of thousands of people starving, warring tribal clans slaughtering each other, why SHOULDN'T the US swoop down and take away ALL of their endangered animals for safekeeping?

More binary thinking. You're on a roll. Can you possibly somehow imagine that other alternatives might exist, including not hunting or exploiting the animals to an endangered status to begin with (like we have done here in the United $tates with innumerable species)?

Remember Ducks Unlimited? It was set up by duck hunters.
There are now so DAMN many ducks they are dying of natural plagues.


Non sequitur. Bravo - the consistency of your logic is startling. You want us to believe that the cowards who shoot ducks out of the sky are somehow solely responsible for protecting ducks. Uh uh. Try more than sixty years of pressure from environmentalists, with many slimy duck hunters and "sporting" industry greedheads howling all the way.

Now, if you'd like to make any more idiotic errors in logic in defense of an untenable moral position (that of trying to convince us that the best way for animals to be cared for is to capture and or kill more of them), please, go right ahead. We'll be happy to rub your nose in them.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 5:48 PM on October 11, 2003




Seriously, if a nation is so totally screwed up, at civil war, with tens or hundreds of thousands of people starving, warring tribal clans slaughtering each other, why SHOULDN'T the US swoop down and take away ALL of their endangered animals for safekeeping?

um, go take an ecology class. or something.

Outlawing poaching has not stopped it, so people are calling for an end to the War on Poaching. Legalize it, tax it, the animals will be safer. This is considered.... bad?

This is a shockingly poor analogy. Is the goal of the war on drugs to save poppy plants and marijuana plants? no? oh well, i guess there's one major fucking difference then, huh!

well, f_and_m said almost the same thing, but i'm still posting because I think it is important to not let this kind of lazy thinking seem acceptable.
posted by rhyax at 6:58 PM on October 11, 2003


Wanna feel the sensation of chasing the wildest beast on earth, stronger than an elephant, more cunning than a fox, so evil it shoots back at you ? Try Paintball Gun Less expensive, less dangerous and doesn't make you look less like an inbred gun totin idiot, chix will adore you !!

Just can't do without feeling the sensation of shooting and killing something alive ? We have got a solution: enroll now in the Navy Seals. Warning: Navy Seals may not let you shoot at anything unless it's really really necessary, and they want people with iron balls. No duck shooting sissies needed, thanks.

No rules ? Positively no rules and a lot of shooting ? Enroll now in Al Quaeda (link not avaiable) or White Supremacists groups. Terrorist likes scum like you.

Just can't miss circus ? Try Cirque Du Soleil. A bit expensive right now, but know why ? They DO give work to talented human artists, sometimes risking their lifes to entertain you and usually extremely skilled. No animals involved, way tooo easy to crack a whip at a drugged animal, try imitating acrobats.

Your wife is complaining your "tool" is no longer of any use ? Forget Rhino Horn, it's a scam ! Try scientifically tested and porn-star approved Viagra. Or change wife !

Isn't fur fantastic ? So warm ! Good, try syntethic fur
Usually less expensive (hunting = expensive, chemicals=cheap) and gives you the look you so much want to have. Added free benefit : your friend will not be able to say behind you that you're a despicable bitch ! Ask you local merchant or search on Google Free surplus benefit: syntethic fur industry may give more jobs than hunting.

Really want to help the poor developing countries ? DONATE $1 to them , if everybody did that at least a few times a year they would be much less poor.
posted by elpapacito at 7:03 PM on October 11, 2003


Brain slugs from outer space. That's my only explanation.
posted by majcher at 7:06 PM on October 11, 2003


i ? elpapacito
posted by kickingtheground at 7:36 PM on October 11, 2003


i hearts; elpapacito, rather.
posted by kickingtheground at 7:37 PM on October 11, 2003


forget it.
posted by kickingtheground at 7:37 PM on October 11, 2003


This report on the subject seems relevant, especially Chap. 3: Endangered Species, Threatened Convention

The market analogy is totally appropriate here, since in the case of endangered species, markets for their products were pushed underground and there was no monitoring. In the case of the elephants, this was an improvement, but poaching continues nonetheless. In the case of other less charismatic megafauna, prohibition of the sale of their products made it harder to know what was going on.

No analogy is perfect; so what? The point is that policy can consider the role of markets where it helps the overall aim. The ivory trade was totally out of control and could not be legitimated, but in other cases, use of the animals was amenable to regulation and sustainability was achieved.

I would say that this subject is very contentious, but it isn't not a left-right issue. It is more of a red-green versus neoliberal issue. Resource Africa is a "pro-wildlife trade" group, but it is also a "conservation and sustainable development through trade" group. So that's the angle.
posted by rschram at 7:48 PM on October 11, 2003


Is the theory here that poachers are all of a sudden going to become incentivised by the magic of Free Markets to, what, raise rhinos in a sustainable fashion? Is that really the idea?

I don't understand how opening the market for skins and trophies magically leads towards more money going to animal conservation.
posted by ook at 7:54 PM on October 11, 2003


fold_and_mutilate: What you call "straw men" are pretty formidable, and you are naive to ignore them. When warring parties coexist with endangered animals, what, in god's name, do you think stops them from killing them? Asking them? Imploring them? Killing all humans? Driving humans from their homes next to the animals?
Starving people destroy more than a dozen swarms of locusts. Will they bow before your non-logic and just stop?

You call my arguments facetious, but you don't say why, nor do you offer realistic alternatives. Maybe you should just stick to invectives. The straw men are in your mind.
posted by kablam at 7:54 PM on October 11, 2003


Assigning economic value to a species may help it survive because it ends up being worth more alive than dead. Worked for the American alligator, which used to be on the list but now Florida is up to its ass in them. A species with economic value may be farmed, or ranched, or otherwise cultivated -- and, as a result, survive. It doesn't always work out that way -- economic value certainly isn't helping the survival prospects of Russian sturgeon, for example.

So much for the theory. Whether what's being proposed here will actually work in practice -- whether it will necessarily result in sustainable harvests or proper management -- is another thing altogether.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:57 PM on October 11, 2003


One hopes that Bushites will soon become an endangered species in America and abroad, and that hunting them down will be a simple matter of obtaining the appropriate license.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:39 PM on October 11, 2003


rscham: . . . red-green versus neoliberal issue. . .

You're kidding me, right? Red-green? Nice rhetorical spin. What color can we reserve for the terrorist in this grand color scheme? I'm hoping for something that makes a nice tartan, further emphasizing how all three groups weave their evil conspiracies in opposition to neo-liberalism. interesting aside, the spellchecker suggests antiliberalism in place of neoliberalism

[herdification of US citizens rant deleted]

HUAC, here we come!
posted by Fezboy! at 8:59 PM on October 11, 2003


You're kidding me, right? Red-green? [...] What color can we reserve for the terrorist [...]?

I suggest mauve. My point is the most helpful source I found on this issue is a staunchly Third Way NGO. They even talk about stepping away from the "precautionary principle." I don't necessarily agree with them on everything, but managed trade of endangered wildlife is a much more neoliberal political position on conservation than it is a right-wing conspiracy. Using wildlife trade to support conservation is essentially the same mechanism in Kyoto, if you think about it. I am saying that the road to sustainability is complex both politically and practically. What is exciting is that everyone now recognizes that sustainable growth and development is the only way to go. Even if Bush Republicans are just paying lip-service and fumbling around to counter Democrats' unquestioned authority on the issue, it is the thing to talk about.

Another issue not yet raised is how fast will the White House sink this. Remember the cyanide in the drinking water, terrorism futures markets, etc? I say its thoroghly denounced by Tuesday.
posted by rschram at 9:59 PM on October 11, 2003


One problem with this idea in principle is that sustainability isn't always the same thing to the traders and the conservationalists. For example, domesticating and factory-farming rhinos could be big business for the traders, but it would not quite go over well with the conservationalists, especially if it happened to entail wiping out the species in the wild.

Also, note that the free market has a history of just not solving the sustainability problem, e.g. the Grand Banks.
posted by Ptrin at 10:52 PM on October 11, 2003


The trick to saving endangered animals from poachers isn't to kill the animals.

It's to kill the poachers.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:05 PM on October 11, 2003


Bush Supporters, a true endangered species.
posted by CrazyJub at 5:51 AM on October 12, 2003


Outlawing poaching has not stopped it, so people are calling for an end to the War on Poaching. Legalize it, tax it, the animals will be safer. This is considered.... bad?

Holy shit, you're absolutely right. Thank god for the efforts this country has made to protect and preserve the endangered, helpless marijuana plant.

The illegality of pot has led to dwindling crops and record unavailability. Across the nation, poachers under the auspices of the federal government have led elite raids that have caused horrific damage to the chain of life in the noble marijuana leaf that once roamed free across the plains of every state in the nation. Now, the poaching of this mighty beast has dwindled the stock so that in almost three states on the continental U.S. you might need to wait a day to find some, maybe.

The destruction of a pot plant has an irrevocable affect on its roaming, grazing, and reproductive structure. As you know marijuana plants mate for life, and the gestation period of the elegant female pot leaf is roughly a week and a half or so; killing a pot plant will restrict the flow of reproduction for countless seconds.

But now, a plan to hunt and harvest marijuana has given hope. Together, with your support for only pennies a day, marijuana will thrive and once again became as readily available as it already is and has been for about a hundred thousand years. I'm kindall Struthers, and I must be on the finest Turkish hash available to believe an analogy as stupid as this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:32 AM on October 12, 2003


Or that anti-environmentalism is an ideology in it's own right.

There was an article about this in slate a while back when the drilling in the arctic was a hot button issue. The gist was that it is really administrative bird flipping. The drilling, or in this case, free market species protection, has little purpose other than to send an ideological signal to supporters and opponents.
posted by srboisvert at 8:40 AM on October 12, 2003


Yada yada yada.
Yoda Yoda Yoda!
posted by trondant at 10:25 AM on October 12, 2003




Using wildlife trade to support conservation is essentially the same mechanism in Kyoto, if you think about it.

If you're referring to the carbon-trading part of the Kyoto Protocol, you're wrong on many levels. Let me just point out the most obvious.

Under the proposed Kyoto agreement, countries which could go over the proposed agreements in CO2 emissions goals could sell their unused emission "credits" to other countries who could not reach their respective marks. This was done to accommodate different climates/technologies/economies. Bear in mind, though, that this works after the fact, as a prize of sorts. Reduce your emissions significantly, and you'll get a bonus.

Which is very similar to how the existing Endangered Species Act works. You wanna shoot at elephants? Just make sure that the number of wild elephants takes the species out of the sight of conservationists. Only then you can shoot them. Certainly not what this proposal asks for.
posted by magullo at 6:56 AM on October 13, 2003


Fezboy! You're kidding me, right? Red-green? Nice rhetorical spin.

What part of this do you have a problem with? The application of socialist perspectives to an environmental agenda is a paradigm that is well established in the theory underpinning ecological protection. Essentially the red-green movement derives from the concept that capitalism acts to maximise its exploitation not only of the worker but also of nature in pursuit of profits. Your dismissal of the existence of the movement and philosophy acts to demonstrate your own ignorance of the issues relevant to this discussion, and, at the risk of sounding rude, jumping straight to the T word makes you look like an arsewipe.
posted by biffa at 7:19 AM on October 13, 2003


The application of socialist perspectives to an environmental agenda is a paradigm that is well established in the theory underpinning ecological protection.

biffa, a link would have helped put your righteous rage in perspective. I call your bluff, as I believe ecological protection theory is based on preservation of the status-quo, of the ecosystem as a whole, rather than by drawing parallels between human and natural exploitation.

That said, I could be wrong. But I'd like to see proof of it.
posted by magullo at 8:35 AM on October 13, 2003


So when I read this my only thought was this:

Wasn't it free market and trade that led to most of these animals being endangered in the first place? How is free market and trade going to fix what it broke the first time?
posted by aaronscool at 9:09 AM on October 13, 2003


I thought the point of preserving endangered species was not just so that we could have the species around to look at in a zoo, in a circus, or on our cowboy boots, but to reduce the impact that removal of that species from the environment could cause.

Ex. If you remove rattlesnakes from the environment, then you have tons more rodents since they are not eaten by the snakes. That kind of stuff.

Or was I asleep when they taught how the environment works in science class?

I would think that the only kind of preservation this encourages is the kind that results in 'farms' of these animals for easy 'production' of the animals goods, not the kind that results in more of them in the wild. Why would you go to all the effort of sustaining them in the wild and go and hunt them for the goods they provide? Its easier and more cost effective to breed them in a controlled environment.

IMHO making it legal to kill and capture endangered species for our own amusement and profit in the name of conservation is nauseating.
posted by jopreacher at 9:19 AM on October 13, 2003


I'll see what I can do magullo. Firstly, the idea that there is only one environmental paradigm is simplistic - there are a range of views concerning maintaining a healthy and diverse global ecological system. To give some examples, you may be familiar with the idea that trade is best for the environment as put forward by neo-liberals, or that the best way to deal with environmental problems is to build new technologies that displace the polluter or solve the problem the polluter creates or at one extreme, there is also the idea of going back and living as a pre-industrial society. All of these claim the best strategy for caring for the environment but put forward different methods for dealing with it. Just as these groups suggest different ways of dealing with environmental problems, the underpinnings for their actions are different. There are economic arguments for environmental protection; for example, the potential for discovering new naturally occurring compounds, the potential for reduced health impacts not to mention the future costs of resources. Obviously there are also social benefits of environmental preservation and of environmental change which will have appeal to specific groups. Further to this is the argument that either social or economic arguments place human interests above that of the environment itself, and attempt to act as advocates for the best interests of non-human ecological elements. (IIRC this is deep ecology, see here or go to the webpage of the philosopher who usually gets credit for it)
Thus, whilst many environmentalists act from the perspective of preservation, for example habitat conservation, others have different motivation, and to be honest, the international perspective on environmental issues has moved beyond this paradigm to more realistically take into account maintaining economic growth whilst having regard for the enviroment, adopting a definition of sustainable development as 'development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.

Thus a commitment to green politics can be either progressive or reactionary, and can stem from left or right (or perhaps neither), as this link suggests.

Information concerning the red-green movement: lots of articles; links here . You could try getting hold of the book recommended here.

I can probably clarify this a bit more if necessary but I have an exciting postal regulation seminar to get to now.
posted by biffa at 9:55 AM on October 13, 2003


Thanks, Biffa. I'd say that when it comes to compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, any measure which does not place the highest importance in not losing a single existing species is messing with the kids' piggy bank.
posted by magullo at 3:23 PM on October 13, 2003


Just came across an interesting example of environmentalists acting from mixed political and environmental motivations, so thought I'd drop it in. During the mid 1990's in the UK as the electricity sector privatisation and its effects rolled on, the environmental movement advocated the immediate ceasation of the nuclear generating sector on the grounds of its poor economics. As was noted in 1995 by the then Energy Minister, no case was made for immediately closing down UK coal mining despite its equally poor economic viability and its lack of ecological attractiveness. This can be seen as rooted in the left wing defence of the UK coal industry. Since I've raised it, its notable that many green movements have relatively leftist, if not socialist, agendas, which on first sight would seem to be at odds with the conservation policies that magullo assumes lie at the heart of the environmental movement.
posted by biffa at 8:47 AM on October 14, 2003


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