I f it weren’t so ridiculous it would make you cry. The Endangered Species Act has popped up again like a stinky diaper at day care. This time it is the Plains Spotted Skunk, one of four species of spotted skunks that can be found almost anywhere from Canada to Mexico and coast to coast except, apparently, in the backyard of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to the Feds, “The decline of small farms, the advent of agriculture practices that encourage removal of fence rows and brush piles, intensive use of pesticide, improved grain management practices, and the end of large haystack construction are implicated as potential causes for the species’ decline in landscapes dominated by human activity.” Whew.
There are two ways to look at the bizarre world of government regulations that continually infect our country.
The first option would be to discourage the use of modern agricultural practices. Farmers large and small could let the fields go fallow, let weeds take over. Deliberately leave brush, trash, garbage, dead carcasses, old car bodies and rusty tanks where they lay. Store grain on the ground exposed to nature, limit the size of haystacks to nothing bigger than a small car, eliminate round bales, voluntarily allow rats, gophers, field mice, prairie dogs, feral hogs, white tail deer, and all manner of vermin to take over your farm ground.
The second option in response to the implication that human activity is the predominant cause of the “potential” endangered skunks follows:
To be most efficient we should begin where human activity is at its most damaging. U.S. Fish and Wildlife has 5 offices in Texas; Dallas is the biggest with 1.2 million humans. So, to be efficient, the U.S. Fish & Game should start in their own backyard. Try the shoe on the other foot, so to speak.
Within five miles of their office there are tens of thousands of people. So instead of reducing miles and miles of good Texas farm ground let’s keep it in one spot. Confine it. We start with your neighbors living in the subdivision of Valley Ranch, population 20,000. We must make their environment ‘spotted skunk friendly.’
Calculate how many spotted skunks would be required to take them off the endangered list. Right now there are 4,445 people per square mile in Valley Ranch. Is that enough human activity? The first step would be to buy out 90% of the population. Then those remaining would be instructed to quit watering and mowing their lawn. Landscaping, fencing out vermin and garbage pick up would be eliminated. Any use of bug spray for roaches, spiders, and bugs will be illegal, as well as spaying or neutering federally protected skunks. If you have any objections you can petition the Fish & Game office in Laredo and hope. Remember, the two factors that are not allowed in any discussion with the Feds are economic impact and common sense.
Note: The Dallas U.S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife office will no longer allow Valley Ranch residents within spitting distance of their razor-wired, lock-down, governmental compound (for the safety of the employees). Any communication must go through the North Korean embassy in Baghdad.
Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at: