Posted by: petsweekly | December 12, 2008

Endangered Species Act

A post from my friend:

First, the bad news. Yesterday, the Bush Administration/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service blocked critical protection of the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin likely cheered the decision as that’s been part of her agenda.;_blocks_crucial_polar_bear_protections.php

With most of the attention focused on Cabinet appointments affecting the economy, defense, and social issues, many don’t understand the importance and impact of the Secretary of the Interior and the media doesn’t give that position much attention.

Congressman Raul Grijalva has championed wildlife and companion animal causes, and one of my personal passions, wild horses. He has a 100% record on animal issues and is endorsed by organizations including Humane Society of the United States and In Defense of Animals. IDA has issued an Action Alert and through links at the following page, you can e-mail the Obama Transition Team and urge the President-Elect to appoint Grijalva:

The other leading contender for Interior Secretary is Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), who has a 58% record on animal issue and is endorsed by the US Sportsmen’s Alliance and other hunting groups:

Those groups are already unhappy because the frontrunner candidate for Environmental Protection Agency administrator is Lisa Jackson, currently NJ’s EPA administrator and a seasoned opponent of hunting:

The President-Elect’s agenda grows daily and we have elected the most globally concerned President in modern history, perhaps ever. He certainly faces more challenges than any previous President. Still, I’m sure that many of us aren’t pleased that animal, conservation and wildlife issues would fall under “Additional Issues” on the laundry list of everything the new administration hopes to accomplish:

Under that category, we find:

Barack Obama did not grow up hunting and fishing, but he recognizes the great conservation legacy of America’s hunters and anglers and has great respect for the passion that hunters and anglers have for their sports. Were it not for America’s hunters and anglers, including the great icons like Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold, our nation would not have the tradition of sound game management, a system of ethical, science-based game laws and an extensive public lands estate on which to pursue the sport. Barack Obama and Joe Biden recognize that we must forge a broad coalition if we are to address the great conservation challenges we face. America’s hunters and anglers are a key constituency that must take an active role and have a powerful voice in this coalition.

It is historically true that sportsmen/hunters have made great strides in conservation, founding and protecting our national parks, and wildlife management. It’s also true that many of us don’t understand how you can protect a species’ environment and longevity, and then shoot an animal, unless it’s for sustenance. But let’s not dissolve in philosophical arguments before we’ve accomplished more of the basics.

Already, I’ve seen signs from posts to lists and in my e-mail of the same old divisions – animal rights vs. conservation, or the “mean greenies”; animal welfare (“the incrementalists”) vs. animal rights (“people who burn down laboratories”); sportsmen referring to “us” as “the Anti’s.” The Bush Administration burning the midnight oil to pass damaging decisions. Some of us concentrating more on the fact that Joe Biden bought a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder yesterday, or who will become the First Puppy, than we are paying attention to who will be the next Secretary of the Interior.

As far as the new President’s agenda – I’ve seen posts that there should be federal oversight of all animal shelters. That is never going to happen – not in our lifetime. We have so much “democracy” that we are one of the countries of the world that still doesn’t federally mandate humane euthanasia for millions of shelter animals.

And among animal-people mail, I’ve seen references to why “the movement” might already be critical of an administration that hasn’t even taken office yet. There is no “movement” – certainly not an organized one, and there won’t be a Cabinet appointment to run “the movement.” What we who care about animals and the environment have are the seeds of change and a lot of people paying attention to those issues; on some we agree, on some we disagree, and change will come as all rights have come about, e.g., for women and for minorities. That’s the hopeful part of a democracy.

I hope we’ll start with something very basic – encouraging Obama to name Grijalva as Secretary of the Interior. We’ll continue working on the rest of the details for animals, conservation and environment.

Please take a minute to go to the link above and mail the Obama Transition Team.

Jim Willis

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