Spotted OwlThe Endangered Species Act is unconstitutional. It is nothing more than a strong arm tool used by out of control animal rights groups and power hungry administrators. It strips Americans of their constitutional rights and is probably doing our wildlife more harm than good in many ways.

The ESA when it became law in 1973 was a plan to help protect disappearing species of wildlife. I can’t believe that it was designed to do what history has shown are the results of such an act. Because of extremists and special interests an American landowner is forced to give up their rights to prosper and protect their own property in order to save an animal. Not only is this wrong, the landowner has to do it at his/her own expense.

Animal rights groups continue their assault on Americans by filing lawsuit after lawsuit while using the ESA as the basis of many of their attacks. What’s sad is that too often they are winning.

Let’s take a moment and look at a few of the more recent events taking place across the country that should give readers a chance to at least ask if the ESA needs to be reworked.

Today in the Colombian, a newspaper out of Washington state, Erik Robinson shares examples of how twisted the ESA interpretation has become and how extreme views are becoming costly to innocent wildlife species at the behest of saving another.

In the far west, the U.S. has been protecting the spotted owl for some time. Forget that some scientists believe the owl was never endangered to begin with. Its protection has cost American industry millions of dollars. It has gotten to the point where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is prepared to start shooting barred owls in hopes of saving a few more spotted owls.

Another incident involves the saving of salmon. Sea lions are hanging around the Bonneville Dam looking for an easy meal of salmon as they work their way up the fish ladders. Government officials are considering killing many of those lions in order to save some more fish.

Is this how it’s done?

Canada LynxIn Maine the Animal Protection Institute has filed a lawsuit against the state of Maine in order to stop all trapping in most of that state where the Canada lynx habitat is. In 8 years, trappers have inadvertently trapped and killed two lynx and API wants all trapping to stop. Reports have been circulating that if API is successful in winning this suit, they will file a similar one to stop fishing in any waters in Maine where endangered species of fish live – namely the Atlantic salmon.

Is this the intent of the ESA?

Crosswalk.com republished an article from CNSNews writer Randy Hall about a Montana rancher who has been charged with violating the Endangered Species Act because he shot and killed two wolves that were part of a pack destroying his livestock. As many as five head of cattle had been consumed by this pack of 13 wolves.

Vicious WolfThe owner of this particular ranch, Roger Lang, has spent huge sums of money in order to protect his property all for the sake of protecting a wolf that no longer needs protecting. This is out of pocket money, an expense he should not have had to incur in order not to infringe upon the ESA.

I am not alone in calling for the ESA to be either abolished or completely revamped. Brian Seasholes, an adjunct scholar with the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), says that the main threat to all wildlife is the encroachment by man into their habitat. For wildlife to be protected, agencies such as local fish and game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, depend on the landowner’s cooperation. Clamping down on a landowner like Lang will have very negative effects.

“Wildlife authorities can’t be everywhere, and more often than not, they aren’t,” added Seasholes, the author of an NCPA report entitled “Bad for Species, Bad for People: What’s Wrong With the Endangered Species Act and How to Fix It.” As a result, “landowners are the ones who bear the true cost of living with wildlife.”

Because farmers and ranchers tend to be “land rich and cash poor,” they may decide to quietly “shoot, shovel and shut up” or, more detrimentally, “make their land inhospitable to wildlife by erecting high fences or eliminating sources of water, he stated.

“That’s the great tragedy of the Endangered Species Act,” Seasholes added. “If one had deliberately tried to write a law that would do enormous harm to wildlife, it would be hard to top the ESA.”

As this assault on landowners rights continues, who can blame a landowner for “shoot, shovel and shut up”? I have often said that animal rights groups have very little real interest in what is best for wildlife. Their target is the end to all hunting, fishing and trapping nationwide – at whatever the cost.

We see first hand that this insane influence on our authorities now has them easily willing to shoot and kill other species in order to save another. Is there science behind that? Is this what the creators of the ESA had in mind when it was written?

In Maine, the API wants trapping stopped in order to protect three species – the bald eagle, the Canada lynx and the gray wolf. The bald eagle has been removed from protection in Maine because it is thriving and there are no confirmed cases of any wolves living in Maine. That leaves only the lynx but this brings me to another point which the way the ESA has been administered creates another bad situation.

Those who spend perhaps the most time in the woods are the hunters and trappers. They are the ones who see what’s really out there. Tell me what incentive is there for any hunter or trapper to report or help to document the existence of gray wolves or mountain lions in the Pine Tree State? It would be a death sentence for the hunter and trapper.

Once anybody can document that these animals exist in Maine, groups like the API will move in with more lawsuits to end many hunting and trapping opportunities. This is a clear example of Seasholes’ “shoot, shovel and shut up”.

I have all but gone public in telling people I know to keep your mouth shut if you see any wolves or mountain lions in the woods of Maine. While I wouldn’t condone the needless shooting of these animals, I certainly don’t consider shooting them for self protection and the protection of my property as being wrong. In those cases, I believe a shoot, shovel and shut up method would be in order.

The way the ESA is being administered is wrong, it’s unconstitutional, and if allowed to continue, will have a complete opposite effect than what its written intent was in 1973.

Tom Remington