U.S. Government Promotes Killing Endangered Animals

Claiming that it doesn’t have enough resources to fulfill all of its

obligations to protect endangered species under the Endangered Species Act

(ESA), the Bush administration wants to block any further court orders

regarding ESA listings.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Dept. of the Interior (DOI)

continues to have the time and resources to review and hand out ESA

exemptions to wealthy U.S. trophy hunters who want to import threatened

species into the country. Under the ESA, such exemptions can be given on

a case-by-case basis if the hunter can prove that killing the individual

animal promotes long-term species conservation.

Unfortunately, the DOI has

been issuing ESA exemptions to hunters without any documented proof that

the hunters are meeting the exemption requirements. A recent LA Times

column (04/13/01) by award-winning journalist Jon Balzar illustrates how

the actions taken by the DOI have contributed to the decimation of a

species:

“. . . the hunter who in 1997 killed an endangered Argali sheep from a

subspecies that shriveled to fewer than 100 holdout animals. . . said he

did not feel he was harming the future of the sheep because there were six

rams left standing after he shot one.”

Responding to this travesty, several animal protection and environmental

groups have filed a lawsuit against the DOI for contributing to the

decline of the Argali sheep. If the Bush administration has its way,

however, gravely endangered species will not be listed, while the

government will continue to freely dispense permits for their demise to

wealthy trophy hunters. For the full Los Angeles Times column, see:

http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20010413/t000031426.html

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