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  • Wildlife Hunting: Friends of Animals Threaten Endangered Species in Texas

    Is it really better for endangered species to vanish from existence than to be hunted?

    It is for Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. For her, the bottom line is that endangered species should never be hunted. Her main concern is for the African scimitar-horned oryx. This species of antelope is extinct in the wild and flourishes only on captive-breeding ranches in Texas.

    As featured in a recent 60 Minutes episode, the breeding of exotic animals in Texas is a billion-dollar industry that supports over 14,000 jobs. Each year, ranchers provide guided hunts that kill off no more than 10 percent of each herd, and the proceeds they collect from these hunts allow the ranchers to keep breeding the animals.

    Leading conservationist Pat Condy estimates that there is now a population anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 of the scimitar-horned oryx in Texas. In contrast, Friends of Animals, which does not allow hunting, has a reserve in Senegal with about 175 of these antelopes. These numbers illustrate how the economic and recreational benefits that arise from hunting provide the necessary incentives to preserve and grow this population of endangered species. Private ownership inspires stewardship for conservation and growth.

    In 2005, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a rule exempting activities associated with the captive breeding of the scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle from Endangered Species Act (ESA) permitting requirements. The rationale behind the ruling is that hunting “provides an economic incentive for…ranchers to continue to breed these species [which] reduces the threat of the species’ extinction.”

    This went counter to the interests of Friends of Animals. As Heritage regulatory policy fellow Diane Katz reported in January, Friends of Animals successfully sued the FWS, with the result that

    the court ordered the agency to force ranchers to jump the multitude of bureaucratic hoops that render the [ESA] a regulatory nightmare. Specifically, the FWS must now solicit public comment whenever a rancher (or zoo or wildlife refuge) seeks an exemption from the ESA. We know what that means: protracted delays and onerous expenses for the folks who actually save animals from extinction as opposed to, say, Friends of Animals, who are far more interested in protecting regulation than endangered species.

    The court ruling poses a great risk to these species. Charly Seale, a rancher in Texas, stated that the worth of those animals since the ruling has been cut in half. He estimates that the total population of these species will begin to sharply decline over the next 10–15 years.

    This example illustrates some of the problems with the ESA. According to Heritage research:

    While being highly successful in violating private property rights and hampering economic activities—especially for farmers, ranchers, and loggers in the rural West and elsewhere—the [ESA] has done little to protect species. In its decades-long existence, only a very small percentage of the listed species have actually recovered or even shown any increase in their numbers.

    A forthcoming Heritage report will address these and other problems with America’s major environmental regulations and will chart a forward course for environmental conservation based on the values of individual liberty and the power of free markets.

    Aurelian Braun is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Wildlife Hunting: Friends of Animals Threaten Endangered Species in Texas

    1. Guest says:

      It is quite possible that Texas has suddenly come to realize that the United Nations and their Agenda 21 projects for sustainable living that encompasses many organizations, including many 'green' and environmental groups, use the endangered species act to take land from property owners or make farming impossible. There is much to read on the Rewilding of America and the insidious manner in which this country will lose her sovereignty unless the people use logic rather than emotion. It was they themselves who decided to use 'seduction rather than rape' and I would suggest that people look into this ASAP. Bush Sr signed us up for it in 1992 while in Rio. It is long, it is worrisome, and it is frightening in that it will eventually remove property rights. Is this what Heritage will be supporting?

    2. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Where does the Constitution give Congress the authority to enact such a law as the ESA? Since it is silent on the issue, the onus is on Friends of Animals, WWF, NRDC, etc. to justify this law and its legion of regulations. Would the world end or species die out if each state was allowed to balance the needs of its own citizens and its own wildlife? I suppose diversity is only good when it advances the power of the state.

    3. Lloyd Scallan says:

      In South Texas and the Hill Country, "exotics" have flourished so well they compete with native spices for food and habitat. These animals were introduced not only for the purpose of saving the various spices from extinction, but also, because of their ability to reproduce at a better rate than natives spices. Ranchers have a financial insentive to protect these animals, unlike their native lands where pouching is unchecked. Controled hunting serves two purposes. Control populations, which has alway been a long-standing conservation measure and must be allowed to keep populations under control thus save the animals from themselves. In addition, these animals serve as a financial boom to ranchers since exotics are allowed to be hunter year round. Those, the likes of Friends of Animals and PETA's agenda is to end all animal use, for any reason, including nutritional benefits. But also, since hunting of these spicies invole profit to ranchers. look pass the "save the animals" rhetoric and recognize their politics and which politicians they support.

    4. Grumpyoldcoot says:

      It's all about politics. Animal "rights" activisits seem to permeate our political infrastructure and unduly influence vote-greedy politicians with the threat of non-votes unless those very politicians bow to their absolutely outrageous and unworkable demands…..regardless of the negative effects on those very animals the rights activists purport to protect.

      The sad part is that the other side of the story goes unreported in the mainstream media, leaving the tacit impression that the activists are the true champions of so-called "endangered" animals and that hunters and ranch-owners are nothing less than "evil" animal-murderers. It just goes to again illustrate that if lies are told often enough, they become "truth" to many uneducated people, instead of being—in this case— the smears that they really are.

      Wild boars are an incredible problem in Texas and other states, and I am waiting for organizations such as PETA to influence politicians to pass laws that would protect these dangerous and destructive animals, even though hunting on private and public properties have done little to halt their exploding population. Does it make
      sense to protect these wild pigs that present a danger not only to property, but to the lives of rancher-owners of that property? Any reasonable person knows the answer to that question, but animal rights activists don't operate in the realm of reason.

      Frankly, I'm completing the reloading of some animal-unfriendly cartridges for my .270 Remington in anticipation of helping to rid Texas of the scourge…..hogs, that is……

    5. Tom Sullivan says:

      The law is an ass. It is Texas landowners who are saving endangered species, species from Africa and from North America. The courts and greenie radicals would rather see the animals extinct than for landowners to be free to benefit from saving them. The world is standing on its head. Congress should remove the power of the courts concerning foreign endangered species.

      • Grumpyoldcoot says:

        Tom, I totally agree, but that's what we get when green radicals unduly influence politicians who are more than ready to listen to them….all for a few votes. As for "greenies," in California, their platform runs parallel to the agenda of the Communist Manifesto. The animal rights activists, Green Party and Sierra Club appear to be rowing the same boat….in the wrong direction…..at the expense of property owners and taxpayers. Ooops! Pardon me if I am showing my conservatism. For that, I happily thank my hard-working tax-paying land-owning Master Mason father who was brought up on a South Dakota ranch, ended up owning his own store, and taught me what conservatism was really all about. If he were alive today, he would be appalled.

    6. Mark Morton says:

      Patricia Feral is typical of the IGNORANT FOOLS that comprise the anti-hunting animal rights movement. She would rather seem them extinct than be hunted!

    7. Luke says:

      The best thing that humans can do for the environment is kill themselves. Until these environmentalists start doing that, they're just a bunch of hypocrites

    8. freedom (TM) says:

      so you breed them just to kill them?

      even for a hater of PETA such as myself thats really ######.

    9. captainsakonna says:

      So let me get this straight … whenever someone wants to value the collective more than the HUMAN individual, through such schemes as socialism and Communism, conservatives are enraged. But when animals come up for discussion, suddenly the collective (the species) is all-important and the lives of individuals don't matter. Would you bear children if their only future was to be blown away for someone's amusement when they reached an appropriate age? While I would hate to see any of God's creations vanish from the earth, I think it would be better than turning them into degraded money-machines like the rest of our domestic creatures. Matthew Scully, hardly a "greenie radical" (he's a former speechwriter for a variety of Republican politicians), has this to say on the subject:|

      “Even if this notion were true—if mankind's only alternative in the century to come were to turn even the remaining elephants and lions of the world into 'exotic livestock' for ivory and sport hunters—this would be numerical survival only for these species, and their disappearance a morally preferable alternative. We would then have lost all appreciation for the elephant and lion, and there are fates worse than extinction. The exotic livestock would only be tormented and degraded like our current livestock, or like the poor beasts in China's bear farms and America's own 'deer factories,' and it would be better to just let them all go.”

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