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The tyranny of "endangered" animals

By Alan Caruba
web posted November 18, 2002

"Law enforcement officials are still considering whether to file charges against a North Brunswick man who fired shots at a bear he said tried to attack his family."

The New Jersey town prohibits firing a firearm within 500 feet of a residence. Of course, if a bear is within 500 feet of your home and calls to the authorities have not previously addressed the problem of a big, hungry, black bear, then taking a shot at him is probably a good idea.

After firing off a shot, the bear-chasing, gun-toting resident called the local police and officials from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife. When they showed up, they thought shooting the bear was a very good idea and dispatched him in a wooded area behind his home.

Life in the New Jersey suburbs is getting real exciting. There are an estimated 70,000 white-tailed deer roaming around. In Essex County, home to Newark, and a bedroom suburb of New York City, residents were surveyed and, surprise, they wanted the deer trapped and removed or killed; whichever would get rid of them the fastest. When it comes to Bambi, it turns out that these highly taxed, mostly Democrat, Garden State folks are one bloodthirsty bunch.

Americans love all kinds of wildlife, especially if it's an animated cartoon that can also sing and dance. It's a whole other story if they're in your back yard.

In 1973, Congress adopted the Endangered Species Act to protect species, we were told, would surely go extinct if we didn't spend billions of dollars to keep the last of the critters alive and propagating. The funding for the ESA expired on October 1, 1992, but Congress has continued to appropriate funds for one of the most idiotic, useless pieces of legislation ever to exist.

That's why I was happy to read that, in early November, a federal judge reversed a US Fish and Wildlife plan to designate more than 4,000,000 acres of California as a critical habitat for—are you ready for this—the California Red-Legged frog!

Red-Legged frog
Red-Legged frog

In March of 2001, the service came up with restrictions on land use in an area that covered parts of 28 of the State's 58 counties. Never mind the constantly growing human population of California that needs someplace to live. The environmentalists wanted to make sure the Red-Legged frog was safe from extinction. The judge ruled they would just have to make do on 200,000 acres.

What will become of this frog? Hell, what has become of 1,300 other "endangered" species the ESA is supposed to have saved? Since it first became the law of the land in 1973, the ESA has "delisted" or removed only 23 species. Seven of these were removed due to extinction and twelve were removed due to the fact they were never endangered in the first place.

Now, here's where it gets really interesting. Thanks to the recent midterm elections, the Republican Party is in full control of both the White House and Congress. In 2000, the Republican Party Platform had a plank that addressed the ESA, seeking to correct its excesses and, in particular, its threat to private property rights. The plank noted the need for "good science."

The Endangered Species Act was never about good science. Nothing the environmental movement advocates has anything to do with good science. It has to do with the systematic destruction of property rights, the bedrock upon which our capitalist economic system is based. Anything that can cripple our economy is anything the enviromaniacs will endorse.

So, I herewith address the leadership of the triumphant Republican Party and request that they check out that platform plank and introduce legislation that will end all further funding of the ESA or, to put it another way, gut it like a fresh-caught trout. Are you listening Trent Lott? Dennis Hastert? Mr. President? If you go along with me on this, we can all go deer hunting in New Jersey. Maybe even bag a bear.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted at the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. A collection of his columns will be published in January by Merril Press. © Alan Caruba, 2002

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