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Why Critters Fear Feds

Wednesday October 10th, 2012   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 10:25am PDT   •  

Government waste, fraud and abuse affects every person in the United States but as recent developments show animals also suffer from government action. Consider the recent campaign of the U.S. Forest Service against beavers, the Castor canadensis, an enterprising semi-aquatic rodent that builds dams, canals and lodges.

Federal officials have killed beavers for doing just that. The U.S. Forest Service is even tearing down a longstanding beaver dam near Lake Tahoe to protect a tourist facility dedicated to a non-native species, Kokanee salmon. Sherry Guzzi, founder of the Sierra Wildlife Foundation, found this “a little nuts,” along with the Forest Service claim that the beaver might not be native to the Sierra. Two new studies by historical ecologist Richard Lanman conclude that the beaver is a native species to every mountain range from northern Mexico to the arctic.

In several western states the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been gunning for barred owls (Strix varia) which they view as an invasive species and overly voracious eater from the east. It’s all part of an effort to save the celebrated northern spotted owl, (Strix occidentalis caurina) the object of federal protection. So federal government workers must gun down some of the barred intruders, an action that drew support from the Environmental Protection Information Center in Arcata, California.

In recent years the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been targeting sea lions (Zalophus californianus) they believe are eating too much salmon. NOAA approved a hit-list of 64 sea lions, creatures of considerable substance and object of protections under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Even so, in 2009 government biologists bumped off 11 sea lions near the fish ladders on the Columbia River. These animals were not “euthanized,” as claimed. They were healthy animals that government officials executed for what they viewed as excessive salmon intake.

Here government conducts the same activity for which it prosecutes private citizens, an obvious and unacceptable double standard. Government tries to call the activity something it is not, and the presumption of superior knowledge only confirms ineptitude. As massive federal and state deficits confirm, government has great difficulty balancing a checkbook. Federal animal killings are evidence that government can’t balance nature either.

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October 2012