Endangered Species Act Pros and Cons List

The Endangered Species Act was originated during the Nixon administration and has had numerous legislative additions in the last 42 years. The original aim of the act was to prevent the extinction of animal species as the result of human behavior.

List of Pros of the Endangered Species Act

1. Some rare species have been saved.
Documentable evidence from sources that are not aligned with any particular cause or affiliated with any political party have verified that the Endangered Species Act has prevented the extinction of 28 different species of animals, birds, and fish. The species that have been saved from extinction include the iconic American bald eagle, the gray wolf, the grizzly bear, and the southern sea otter of California.

2. Created a concise method of listing and delisting endangered wildlife.
The Endangered Species Act and additions to the law has produced an internationally recognized method of criteria that define what an endangered species is, what steps are necessary to have a species listed as endangered, and specific criteria that must be net before a species can be considered no longer in danger of extinction.

3. World wide acceptance.
The Endangered Species Act has been the prototype for other countries that have sought a method to protect wildlife from extinction. Numerous European, Asian, and African countries have adopted the guidelines of the U. S. Endangered Species Act in total or at least in part in their efforts to protect wildlife.

4. Provided a cohesive platform for animal activists.
The Endangered Species Act has received almost complete acceptance by the majority of political action groups in the United Sates and the world that support animal protection. The act provides legal routes to address grievances about animal welfare and treatment as well as bring notice to newly discovered species that are in danger of becoming extinct.

5. Made the world more aware of environmental concerns.
The Endangered Species Act has made people across the world more aware of the effects of their personal behavior, actions as governments, and practices as corporate entities have on the environment. Many animal activists point to the Endangered Species Act as the single most important environmental legislation since Theodore Roosevelt initiated the U. S. National Park System.

6. Invigorated U. S. pride in natural resources.
The recovery of the American bald eagle to the point of being no longer considered an endangered species actually produced national celebrations across the United States. The bird appears on money, statues, and many military decorations and regalia. The fact that the nation as a whole saved this iconic symbol is seen as a symbol of national unity and public pride.

7. Stiff penalties have reduced abuse.
A maximum fine of $50,000 for each violation of the Endangered Species Act by an individual, government, or corporation is credited with reducing the number of animals and plants that are listed as endangered from being destroyed.

List of Cons of the Endangered Species Act

1. Legislation is bulky.
The Endangered Species Act has become so large in an effort to be all inclusive that it is not simple enough for the lay person to understand and in some instances even contradicts itself.

2. A low percentage success rate.
Less than one percent of the species listed as endangered based on the Endangered Species Act have been removed from the list due to successful rehabilitation of the species. One of the causes is an inability to realistically count or even estimate the population of some endangered species that naturally inhabit remote regions.

3. The act is a political football.
Each year since the Endangered Species Act became law federal and state legislators line up along party lines to disable or contravene some parts of the law or to disable all of the law completely. The actions are usually funded by political action committees with a financial interest or by animal rights activist or environmental groups. The money spent in these efforts has produced no changes in the law.

4. Judges and lawyers make the decision about endangered species.
While even a single citizen can make a request to have a species listed as endangered, the final decision about the species is made by judges and attorneys. While the judges and attorneys may receive council from experts in a particular scientific field there is no review process that prevents favoritism based on the judge’s political affiliation.

5. The law cannot fund itself.
The U. S. Secretary of the Treasury is required to release funds to support the administration of the Endangered Species Act only if the receipt of fines is in excess of $500,000. The funds recovered cannot support the offices and people that do the work the law requires.

6. Job and financial loss.
Fishermen, lumber men, and many industries that depend on natural products for their livelihood have insisted that the Endangered Species Act has reduced their income and caused them to reduce the number of jobs they can provide. The jobs these companies provide are frequently in economically depressed regions of the United States that have limited options in employment.

7. The act actually supports endangered pet sales.
Exotic pet trade is enabled by the wording of the Endangered Species Act to the extent that a person cannot import an endangered species directly but can sell an endangered species. Illegal animal imports are said to have increased. The law allows donation of endangered species to any organization that files for a permit with a state. No review of the past activity of any individual involved in receiving a permit is made.