These barred owls began migrating from the East Coast in the 1950s, and the USFWS reports that the larger, more aggressive and more adaptable birds "are known to displace spotted owls, disrupt their nesting and compete with them for food." Barred owls are more prolific breeders, less finicky about their food and less picky about where they live. They also don't bow down before the Endangered Species Act or the hallowed "threatened" status of its weaker brethren. They are brutal predators known to slam into spotted owls, slicing them with their talons and decapitating them in their nests.
Conservation groups whine that barred owls are victims of "scapegoating." But USFWS Director Dan Ashe spoke the truth earlier this year: "We can't ignore the mounting evidence that competition from barred owls is a major factor in the spotted owl's decline."
Instead of admitting failure and letting nature take its course, however, command-and-control bureaucrats have appointed themselves Mother Nature's judges, juries and executioners. Their "main priority" is "reducing competition from barred owls." How? By gunning them down. Final details are still in the works, but the agency has floated past removal schemes that involve "luring territorial barred owls into close range ... using recorded calls and an owl decoy. ... A shotgun would be used to prevent wounding and ensure rapid and humane death." Experts say such an eradication plan would need to continue for centuries.
Twenty years of regulatory salvation have failed the northern spotted owl. Who believes that another top-down government exercise in species engineering -- this time backed with bullets -- will do the trick? When the government picks winners and losers, taxpayers always get screwed. No matter the job losses. No matter the death toll. Arrogant and unaccountable central planners never give a hoot.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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