Friends of Animals Favor Extinction Of Rare and Endangered Animals Over Successful Conservation Efforts

Let me ask you a couple of questions.

1.  Would you prefer a species of animal to go extinct naturally or preserve it through effective conservation programs which require periodic culling of the population?

2.  Would you rather die slowly of starvation, which would take weeks, or to die quickly from a bullet?

The reason I ask is that an animal rights group has filed a lawsuit against exotic animal ranchers in Texas that have been raising exotic animals, including some rare and endangered species, for both conservation and hunting.  If the animal activists, Friends of Animals, succeed in their lawsuit, then in all likelihood, three species of African antelopes will most likely go extinct by starvation.

In 2005, ranchers received an exemption from the Endangered Species Act, which would allow them to raise rare and endangered animals on their ranches and to periodically allow a limited number of them to be hunted.  The ranchers used the exemption to raise some rare and endangered species with the hopes of helping to save them from extinction.

The ranchers chose three rare and endangered species of African antelope (addax, dama gazelle and the scimitar-horned oryx) because of environmental similarities between the African and Texas plains.  In the past six years, the antelope have adapted well to the Texas habitat and have been thriving.  One of the main goals of the ranchers is to be able to take these three antelope species and re-introduce them back into their native habitat in Africa.

One of the problems is that many people do not realize how much it costs ranchers to raise any kind of livestock on a ranch.  They also don’t realize that any given section of land can only support a given number of animals.  This is known as carrying capacity and is used worldwide to manage livestock and wildlife.

For example, if a ranch can only feed 2,000 animals without any adverse effects, that is the ranch’s carrying capacity.  But what happens once the population actually reaches that number and they continue to breed?  Say they have a 10% birth survival rate.  That would mean that the next year the ranch will have 2,200 animals in an area that will only feed 2,000.  What happens?  Perhaps that next year, all 2,200 survive, but they are thinner and not as healthy as before.  Then winter hits.  A number of them were not able to put on the necessary fat for winter and they begin to succumb to disease and starvation and die.  However, it’s not just the 200 extra animals that die off, but generally one half to two thirds of the herd will die off.  I’ve seen this happen first hand with deer herds and believe me, it’s not a pretty sight to see a group of starving animals.  You can see the agony in their eyes.  I don’t know about you, but I would much rather die quickly by being shot with a bullet than dying slowly and agonizingly over weeks in the winter cold.

The fraction of the herd that manages to survive is still weakened and susceptible to disease and predation.  In a couple of years the population will recover, but it generally is never as healthy and robust as the earlier group of animals.  Massive die offs also limit the amount of genetic variability in the population which often makes them less adaptive to any environmental or climate changes that may come their way.

The range land also takes a heavy toll when it is over grazed.  Sometimes it can recover, but generally only if all grazing is halted or drastically limited for a few years.  I’ve seen some instances where the land never fully recovers and the carrying capacity drops to perhaps 1,500 animals, which means the rancher just had his livelihood take a 25% permanent drop.  How many of you can afford to do that?

Therefore, ranchers the world over, have to cull their herds every year to help to maintain a healthy population of animals and a healthy range to graze them on.  In the case of cattle or sheep, the extra animals are sent to slaughter houses and sold to us consumers for our nightly meals.  In the case of the rare and endangered, the rancher only has a limited number of options of culling their herds.  They can either be hunted and the funds used to help maintain the herd or they can be sold off, but who wants to buy them knowing they will soon be faced with the same problem.  It takes a great deal of money and international coordination to re-introduce them back into their native lands, which is what the ranchers are working towards, but what do they do in the meantime?

At the moment, the ranchers only have one viable means of keeping a healthy number of animals; raising enough money to continue to manage them by hunting.  They sell permits to hunters who want the thrill of hunting one of these exotic animals.  In turn, the ranchers use the money from the permits to keep the animals properly managed, healthy and to prepare some of them for return to their homeland.

Friends of Animals sued to stop the hunting of the rare and endangered antelope and won their case.  Even though the ranchers have appealed the decision, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a new regulation on the matter which is scheduled to go into effect on April 4.  The new policy will treat the three rare and endangered antelope species the same as any other captive bred endangered species in the US.  This means that if the ranchers want to do anything that is prohibited by the Endangered Species Act, such as culling out the herd (hunting them), they will need to apply for a special permit or other authorization from the USFWS.

The ranchers in return have filed suit against the USFWS for changing the regulations before their appeal of the case can be heard.  They also say that the permit process is too slow as it seems to be taking six months or longer, and that is if everything on the seven page permit application is accurately filled out (no missing periods or capital letters, etc).

Another complaint the ranchers have with the permit application process is that the applications have all of their personal information, name, address, phone, e-mail, etc. on them and they are made public record.  This means that every crazy and lunatic animal rights activist can get their personal information and target them with whatever wacko actions they want.  Some of the ranchers are quite concerned over this as some animal rights activists in the past have taken drastic and destructive actions against those they deem as enemies.

The ranchers say that if they can’t get the lawsuit overturned or obtain their permits in a timely manner, then they will find themselves in a dilemma as they will not be able to afford to properly care for the antelope any longer.  Nature will take its toll on the antelope and all other wildlife, native and exotic, on the ranches.  It will also put an end to the breeding and re-introduction programs, which most experts say will lead to the eventual extinction of the three antelope species.

It seems that Friends of Animals would rather see these three beautiful antelope species go extinct rather than allowing Texas ranchers to use a tried and true conservation technique to help insure their survival.  To any logically thinking person, you would think this is the opposite of what the animal rights people would want.  However, I’ve had dealings with many of them in the past who seemed incapable of thinking logically or at least taking the time to study and learn proper wildlife management.  And before any of you lay the same charge against me, I do have a college degree in wildlife and fisheries biology from a well-known university.

Comments

comments

  • screeminmeeme

    Bleeding hearts often have blind eyes.

  • jaxum

    I dislike hunting, but understand the need, Even though I live in a small town in Wyoming,there are still deer and occasionally mountain lions in my and/or my neighbor's yard. Deer are anything but house broken (and they are everywhere) , the disadvantage of mountain lions in town with children and pets should be obvious. Having said that, I wonder if some of the overflow of these rare animals could be transferred elsewhere.

    • Bill

      At who's expense?

      • OzzWorx

        The animal activist's expense.

  • Ronald Johnston

    These are the same people who do not want to admit that the meat they eat is raised for the purpose of eating. If they are vegetarians, they have to use supplements to make up for the lack of the nutrients they aren't getting. Our ancestors ate meat, nuts, fruit and vegetables. Vegetarians are completely lacking in common sense!

  • SanLyn

    Why don't they go after PeTA. PeTA kills more animals than the Texas ranchers.

    (I can't help but wonder how many of these animals activists support human abortion? And what would they say if the ranchers controlled the herd population by having vets perform abortions on the female antelopes, etc.?)

  • 1599

    This article is trying to make a case in favor of those who raise animals to be slaughtered for "sport" buy killing them in a fenced preserve. For a fee a guide will drive you where the animals are to be killed, No different than killing any other domesticated animal.

  • samtman

    Baloney, its striclty a business to make rich wanna be Arican safari hunters feel like macho big game hunters so they can hang the trophy stuffed heads and horns on their walls.

    • mesaman

      Well, sissy boy, feel better after slamming the hunter? Could you have a gender ID problem? Why don't you and 1599 (his annual income) go join a OWS party in Boston?

    • 1599

      I agree samtman. Thee owners of these ranches try to justify what they are doing by "preserving" endangered animals. Those "hunters" are sick.

  • Vazir Mukhtar

    Have dropped a note to the Friends of Animals with the URL of this page. Am awaiting their reply.

  • BriSta

    All bleeding hearts can just jump in the lake. Let the ranchers cull their herds in the most humane way possible, hunting. Not only does it give those hunters a thrill to hunt these rare animals, but it helps control their population.

  • John

    Everyone seems to have lost sight of the notion of PROPERTY. The ranchers no doubt have purchased the animals, and certainly have provided for them in terms of the use of the land (which has a dollar value). Y'all want to BUY the animals (and pay their upkeep) then go for it! Otherwise go away. Or better yet, start your own conservation progam - fund it with pictures of the dear little faces, see how far that gets you. My take is that Friends of Animals, just like the rest of the Animal Rights movement are emphatically NOT interested in the animals - only in power.

  • Don DeHoff

    We must be ever so careful of intentionally making any species extinct. We do not yet fully understand the full relationships between animals, plants and insects. It is already obvious that the honey bee is in trouble and that we rely heavily upon bees for the pollination of certain trees/plants, and for tons of "honey". Similar problems exists with the overfished cod, tuna and salmon fishing industries. We don't know the full extent of how those fish fits into the overall foodstream of the oceans and our lives. and the rivers and lakes. Some, such as the mosquito, tsetse fly and a few others we believe we can do without--but then again, we are not sure just how they fit into the overall equation of life. The euthansia of pets is an entirely different problem requiring far different solutions. We now know how our attempted removal of the wolves adversely affected our other widlife

  • Carol

    John has nailed it. This is really about the bigger issue of property and freedom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000090260843 Marvin Clark

    I have become increasingly tired of hearing of the hurt and tears of the "conservationists" and "animal lovers" over the years. Their goal seems to be to condemn wild animals to overgrazing, interbreeding, drinking water destruction resulting in starvation, mal-formed animals and a shrinking habitat. When will we wake up and finally discover that we have a viable need to harvest certain animals in particular habitats for the good of the heard. This service can be not only obtained free of charge, but would provide funding for the proper care of these animals. Is this really so hard to understandd?

    • 1599

      You are correct Marvin, except that the harvesting of animals should be done in a humaine way and for a purpose other than the joy of killing.

      • OneMom

        If you believe there is a more humane way to harvest an animal that shooting it, you have been mislead. We raise our own beef cattle. It is obvious that they become fearful and stressed when they are penned, loaded onto a trailer, hauled down the highway, and finally prodded through a chute into the processing plant. If we could just shoot them as they are happily grazing in our pasture, that would be ideal because they would never know what hit them. Unfortunately cattle are too big to be loaded up and carried to the butcher after they are dead. Deer and antelope, however, aren't; so why not? Please clarify: do Native Americans get a pass on your hyper-puritanical prohibition against hunting?

  • Bill

    Betcha all these anti hunting zealots are pro abortion.

  • Mike

    PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals

  • Ed

    The blatant dishonesty of the article is demonstrated early on with the statement, "The ranchers raise...some rare and endangered species with the hopes of helping to save them from extinction." You have to be quite stupid to believe that (which indicates what the writer really thinks about his intended readership). It's also interesting that the ranchers chose the addax, dama gazelle, and oryx to save from extinction, all three with beautiful horns that make handsome head mounts. Still more dishonesty when the writer refers to animals dying quickly from a bullet. He either has never hunted and never followed a long blood trail or allowed a wounded animal to escape and die slowly, or he is a superb marksman who never misses or just an average shot aware of wounded animals but counting on the gullible ignorance of his readership to make his point.

    • Pete0097

      Show me a deer or similar that doesn't have a nice set of antlers. I am not a hunter, but this is the logical way to maintain these animals as viable species. They have done this with many other species. In some, they just move them to their new habitat to "cull the herd" in others, they have had to kill them off. The Friends of Animals need to work with the farmers to get donations to ship the excess animals back to their native habitat. That would force them to put their money where their mouths are.

    • OneMom

      Haven't you noticed that there are plenty of chickens and cows in the world, but not so many addax or oryx? The animals which are owned privately and raised for profit are the ones that flourish, while the species which face the greatest risk of extinction and endangerment are those which dwell exclusively on government land.

  • johninvirginia

    Ed, 1599, and samtam are further proof that left wing nuts don't look at, or care about, results. It is only intentions that count in their nutty world and if good intentions don't bring good results, it must be someone else's fault. I'm surprised that no one of them has pointed out that George Bush lives in Texas so it must be his fault.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BNSJODNMTX5PEHIBLOQQI4MUI4 Rick P

    Too bad we cannot subject the aminalrights retards to the same conditions of starvation,inbreeding , I rasie several brreds of goats on my farm and you can see most of my pastures from the road. Had one of those PETA freaks harrassing me due to the fact they saw my goats breeding from the road.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=649862695 Rick Pierson

    They reported to local fellow peta freaks how "inapropriate" it was to allow breeding in plain sight. When they entered my property to harrass They where soon greated with my livestock protector dogs as well as a "tresspassing" fine. When will retards learn to understand People in Texas arent afraid to maintain thier proerty and personal protection rights

  • Dean Tigerkim

    The usefulness of debating like this is getting out the facts and this article does that, but trying to swing committed anti-hunters is pointless because you are trying to use logic with people who's emotion about the subject trumps their intellect. One's ignorance about hunting or prejudice of hunters is too big obstacle about such an emotional subject in most cases. All I can say to them is "humane" is unnatural. Predators routinely take an animal down and start eating it before killing it. That's right, they begin eating it while it's still alive. All hunters strive to drop a game animal where it is because it's a lot less work and to prevent unesassary suffering, and do a good job of it. I know you like sounding higher minded than everybody else but you'll have to go to a liberal site to achieve that status.