Lions, guns and money: Bush’s bad proposal

In what seems an endless stream of anti-environmental policy, the Bush administration has proposed changing the way our country deals with how endangered species are protected or, in this case, not protected. The proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act will give deference to circuses, the pet industry and hunters by allowing them legal access to endangered species residing in other countries. In short, President George W. Bush claims his proposal will save endangered species by allowing them to be killed.

If Bush’s proposal sounds illogical, that’s because it is. His administration claims allowing Americans to kill endangered species would help generate revenue that could be used for conservation efforts. Advocates of the proposal argue that killing in set numbers would not affect the animal population’s well-being. Additionally, they claim that by legalizing the trade of endangered species, illegal trading would be adversely affected. However, such defenses are faulty.

If money were to be generated, already cash-strapped countries would more than likely not use it for conservation. That is assuming those countries would be the ones making money. In actuality, private catch or kill enterprises such as Safari Club International would benefit the most. Combined with the increasing destruction of endangered species’ habitats, legal hunting would expedite the extinction of many species.

Conservation groups in east Africa are already decrying the proposal. Jane Goodall called the proposal Bush’s most outrageous attack on the Endangered Species Act. By the way, Safari Club International made large contributions to Bush’s 2000 campaign. To be sure, they are not the only donors to benefit from the proposal.

Weakening U.S. endangered species policy sends a dangerous message that killing endangered animals for profit and vanity is acceptable and that the United States is willing to exploit poor nations through the desecration of their natural wonders.