Endangered Species

May 26, 2005

May 26, 2005

For those of us in the business of farming, our highest priority is to produce a product and sell it -- at a profit. Otherwise we won't stay in business. We may be raising cattle or pigs, corn or rice, or whatever. But, we're never happy when some outside force starts stealing our livelihood.

The Endangered Species Act made it possible for preservation extremists -- mostly from the east to close down farming operations in the west to save the kangaroo rat. Yes -- to save a rat. To me the only good rat is a dead rat. And now they're trying to take more land out of business to save the sage grouse even though the bird is hunted in 15 states. Remember the gray wolves that were transplanted into Idaho and Montana? Now they prey on cattle and sheep. Who needs that kind of government imposed threat to their family business.

The interesting story here is how a group of commissioners from western countries that had been victimized by the eastern animal right lovers are now turning the tables. Here in the east, we have recently discovered the ugly, Asian bred, carnivorous snakehead fish. This fish can, of course, swim but can also crawl across land to infect the next lake and stream. The snakehead is a serious threat to all other fish. But, the commissioners say "never mind, it must be protected." And they have petitioned to put it on the endangered species list.

Now, they ask "How does the shoe fit when you have to wear it." The advocates counter that the snakehead has been declared an injurious species. The next obvious question must be that wolf and grizzly bears are not injurious species? The commissioners are having a little fun with this, but the Wildlife Federation fails to see the humor.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.