Washington Post: The Bush administration is proposing far-reaching changes to conservation policies that would allow hunters, circuses and the pet industry to kill, capture and import animals on the brink of extinction in other countries.
Giving Americans access to endangered animals, officials said, would feed the gigantic U.S. demand for live animals, skins, parts and trophies, and generate profits that would allow poor nations to pay for conservation of the remaining animals and their habitat.
This and other proposals that pursue conservation through trade would, for example, open the door for American trophy hunters to kill the endangered straight-horned markhor in Pakistan; license the pet industry to import the blue fronted Amazon parrot from Argentina; permit the capture of endangered Asian elephants for U.S. circuses and zoos; and partially resume the trade in African ivory. No U.S. endangered species would be affected.
The proposal involves an interpretation of the Endangered Species Act that deviates radically from the course followed by Republican and Democratic administrations since President Richard M. Nixon signed the act in 1973. The law established broad protection for endangered species, most of which are not native to America, and effectively prohibited trade in them.
The Endangered Species Act prohibits removing domestic endangered species from the wild. Until now, that protection was extended to foreign species.
Thanks to Smudge Report for the pointer.