Pigs at the Trough - Lake Country Whitetails

Did everyone get their Thank You card in the mail – the one that says: “Thanks for Your Donation to HSUS (Humane Society of the United States)”, or perhaps from the Center for Biological Diversity or Defenders of Wildlife? It should have said something like “Your generous donation has helped fund the radical animal rights agenda and eroded the liberty to hunt for millions of Americans.”

Mine is probably still in the mail, because the anti-meat, anti-hunting, anti-agriculture, anti-commerce Tofu Terrorists owe us the courtesy of a Thank You card!

Recently, American Hunter magazine had a brilliant article that reveals that Federal dollars are going straight to anti-hunting groups that file lawsuits to end legal hunting. Taxpayers have ponied up more than $436,000 to anti-hunting groups for blocking wolf management in the northern Rockies. In Minnesota, $280,000 went to the Humane Society of the United States – the largest anti-hunting group in the country – after they successfully stopped wolves in that state from being delisted from the Endangered Species Act.

In the last 10 years, 13 environmental and anti-hunting groups sued the federal government 1,159 times and were reimbursed with millions of tax dollars for legal fees. Many of those suits had a direct impact on our liberty to hunt and it’s our tax dollars – yours and mine – that are being used to pay them back for suing us.

Animal rights groups file lawsuits against the government frequently because they have discovered how to manipulate the system and get rich doing it. They purposely flood the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service with endangered species listing petitions. Last April, for example, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a bulk petition requesting Fish & Wildlife to review 404 species. Another group, called WildEarth Guardians, submitted two petitions seeking protection for 1,156 species.

According to statute, Fish & Wildlife only has 90 days to consider each species listed in the petition and then one year to make a determination whether to add the species on the Endangered List. If they miss a deadline, the activist groups sue knowing full well there are laws in place, such as the Equal Access to Justice Act that will entitle them to millions of dollars in compensation.

These are the pigs at the public trough. They are waiting on the deadlines to be missed just like sows waiting on slop.

Clearly, the Endangered Species Act was never intended for this. The animals cited in these petitions are not endangered; they’re exploited. These lawsuits have nothing to do with actually preserving wildlife. It’s all about money, power and political leverage. Environmental litigation is big business, and the American taxpayers are paying for it.

This is also a symptom of a broader problem. Evidence strongly indicates a growing number of animal rights activists are serving within various agencies of the Federal government including the Fish & Wildlife department.

Jamie Rappaport Clark is a good example. Clark, the former Fish & Wildlife Service director, is now the executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, arguably one of the biggest abusers of the Endangered Species Act. Appointed by President Clinton, Clark was the Director of Fish & Wildlife from 1997 to 2001. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director for Ecological Services, a position that helps to oversee the Endangered Species Act.

Today, she and others are working within the various agencies to seemingly further a political agenda that has nothing to do with responsible wildlife management, proper land stewardship, objective analysis, nor making the best common-sense recommendation on wildlife issues.

A couple of months ago, Clark said how upset she was with the Obama Administration. She bragged how, when she was in charge, she added 65 new species each year to the Endangered Species List, but President Obama has only added 32 a year. She’s qualifying her “success” by how many new species are added to the list without any regard to whether they are actually justified.

The sad truth of the matter is that we can expect a lot more lawsuits to tie up the Federal agency from doing its job and stealing millions of taxpayer dollars.

Clark said something else that is very revealing. During a public meeting, she attempted to convince attendees how beneficial it is to have an endangered species on your property. Of course, we have all heard the stories of families or land owners wanting to build something on their land and yet they were denied because they discovered the land was home to some endangered salamander, rare milkweed plant or some other obscure, but listed, species.

She said “A developer might purpose construction of a shopping center that will wipe out the habitat of an endangered species. Once the developer has been compensated for that use, he or she can propose an office park on the site and become entitled to compensation again.”

She’s suggesting a developer repeatedly make land use proposals knowing they will be rejected and then compensated over and over again with your Federal tax dollars. Does that sound honest? Or does it sound more like milking the system for monetary gain?

The Anti’s now knowing how to manipulate the system and use our own laws and regulations to tear down everything we believe in. Once more, they figured out how to force the government to pay them for it.

The pigs are at the trough and they know how to turn on the feeder. I fear that the system we have now…the laws and regulations we have now…are too broken, too corrupt and too compromised for there to be an honest debate on the issues. I doubt that we can go to the polls and vote in a new congressman or senator and expect anything to change. Sweeping reform that exposes corruption and cronyism may be our only hope of bringing back common sense to our wildlife management and agriculture policies.

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The first step to leveling the playing field and taking back control of our national wildlife policy is the new “Open Equal Access to Justice Act of 2010.” It is not the total solution we need, but it’s a good start. If passed, this legislation would require a public database of fees awarded under the Equal Access to Justice Act and this would begin to expose the amount of your tax dollars being funneled to the animal rights groups.

The next step is much tougher, and that is eternal vigilance. It’s up to every one of us – every deer farmer and every sportsman and sportswoman – to watch for these abuses, smell out corruption and then blow the whistle as loud as we can. Only through vigilance, steadfast resolve and our own ‘Outdoor Patriotism’ can we ensure a fair and just application of wildlife policy and preserve our American outdoor traditions for future generations.

American Deer & Wildlife Alliance

John Meng is President of the American Deer & Wildlife Alliance and host of the Outdoor Patriot Show. Lake Country Whitetails is proud to feature this article that originally ran in the 2011 Spring Edition – NADeFA magazine and also would like to provide a special thank you to John for his service and relentless pursuit of reforms that will preserve our American hunting traditions and heritage.