In Defense of Animals in August asked a judge to reconsider a July decision that rejected its efforts to stop the National Park Service’s plan to eradicate wild pigs on Santa Cruz island in California.
Pigs were first introduced to the island in the mid-19th century. Ever since, according to the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, they have been eroding the soil and damaging native plants and animals.
To put an end to the problem once and for all, the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy plan to hire a New Zealand firm, Prohunt, to eradicate the pigs. The firm will only receive its $3.9 million fee once there are no more pigs left on the island. Prohunt began killing pigs on Santa Cruz in April 2005.
In Defense of Animals has so far unsuccessfully attempted to challenge the plan in court. Their objections to the slaughter of the animals provides an interesting look at how animal rights ideology conflicts with environmental protection efforts.
The major claim made by the park service is that the presence of the pigs indirectly threatens the Santa Cruz Island fox. According to the park service, golden eagles are attracted to the island to feed on pigs, and while they’re there they also feed on the foxes to the point where there are believed to be only about 150 foxes left on the island.
Nature Conservancy spokeswoman Julie Benson told the Los Angeles Times that the choice was clear — wild pigs exist in large numbers throughout the world, whereas this particular fox only inhabits this island. Killing the pigs to save the foxes is, to Benson, the obvious choice.
Not so to IDA president Elliott Katz who told the Los Angeles Times that trying to make this sort of decision is attempting to foist human morality on to nature (emphasis added),
Northern California veterinarian Elliot Katz said that allowing the deaths of thousands of pigs for the benefit of a few foxes
doesn’t seem to be a fair balance of nature. Katz, founder and president of In Defense of Animals, a nonprofit animal rights
organization based in the Bay Area city of Mill Valley, supports halting the pig slaughter and says he intends to contact
Feldman about lending his support for the lawsuit.
“Our position is to take a step back and not to be killing animals for man’s belief of what’s right and wrong,” Katz said.
“Allowing an injunction will permit everyone to step back and rethink this thing and also to further evaluate whether it’s
necessary to remove each and every pig from the island.”
Presumably since relying on human standards of morality is not possible, Katz will be channeling supernatural powers to guide human interaction with the environment.
Suit Filed to Halt Pig Eradication on Santa Cruz Island. Gregory W. Griggs, Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2005.
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