Government Agencies Know Best (paging George Orwell)

Neil Jones Neil at
Sun Sep 28 11:27:33 EDT 1997

In article <875453659.17932 at> pageclan at  writes:

> In article <4829 at>,
>   Neil at NWJONES.DEMON.CO.UK wrote:
> >
> > As the original posting whihc this criticises was forwarded here I am
> > this also.
> >
> > Forwarded message follows:
> >
> > > From: Bob Flanders <bflanders at>
> > > To: dplex-l at

> > > Robert V. Flanders, Ph.D.
> > > Riverdale, MD  20737
> > >
> Let me get this straight -- a few guys, with a few extra letters behind
> their names,  happen to know what is best for the rest of us and the
> populations of lepidoptera?  Not only that, they have somehow managed to
> get the POWER to enforce their decisions?  I am not a commercial
> producer/breeder of butterflies but I would be hopping mad about the
> intrusion of govt. into my business.  Let the commercial raising of
> lepidoptera regulate itself.  Private breeders are creating a market for
> lepidoptera and thus insuring the survival of many species.
> What are you talking about releasing populations into the wild?  We can
> learn a lot about migration by following these releases.
> Barbara Page
> amateur entomologist and educator

I too am an amateur entomologist and originally I would have seen little
wrong with the idea of releases. As I have learned more about the ecology
and conservation of butterflies my view has changed.

I do not want to see the trading of butterflies banned, but as usual the
actions of irresponsible people mean that greater regulation is being seen
to be necessary.

The only way to conserve a species is to conserve its habitat. Private breeders
are not "ensuring the survival of" many species. The available
scientific evidence indicates that releasing of butterflies into the wild
does nothing to help their populations. A colony will hold the number
of individuals dictated by ecology of a site. Releasing further individuals
does nothing to increase the population. This can only be increased over
the long term by improving the quality or quantity of the habitat.

Research published in the UK has shown that for the vast majority of UK
butterfly species introductions to new sites do not work.
This may be found in the excellent chapter on "The Conservation of British
Butterflies" by M.S Warren in "The Ecology of Butterflies in Britain" edited
by Roger L.H. Dennis 1992 and published by Oxford University Press.
I would be most interested to know of any American work on the success
of introductions.

The monarch is a migratory species but what is being attacked is not
someone rearing a few butterflies and releasing them, but taking butterflies
from one place to another in numbers and releasing them.
This is then being presented as being good for conservation when in fact
it is disrupting the proper study of the creatures concerned. This is
everyone's ability to conserve them, since good conservation has to be based
on a good knowledge of the ecology and  behaviour of the animals concerned

What is more it appears that the authorities were mislead over the true
nature of the event, This means that in future the authorities will inevitably
be more cautious.
Yet again we find people defending those who bring
their hobbies into disrepute, instead of attacking them.

Neil Jones- Neil at "The beauty and genius of a work of art
may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a
vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last
individual of a race of living things breathes no more another heaven and
another earth must pass before such a one can be again." William Beebe

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