Government Agencies Know Best (paging George Orwell)

Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Mon Sep 29 09:38:13 EDT 1997

pageclan at wrote:
> 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? 

well, yes. That's how a democratic government works. You will have 
noticed that Bob Flander requested discussion of the issue on this list? 
Surely that's the opposite of the arbitrary behavior you appear to 
Last spring, when this was last thrashed out, plenty of scientists had 
their say. You can find this stuff in Deja news if you care to look. 
Surely you don't want us to go through all of it again? 
The real problem is not that it gums up their studies. It's that it 
actually harms the butterfly populations it purports to help.
A butterfly release is manna to the local birds and beasts. The 
bewildered bugs get snapped up.
If they were field caught, they were reproducing and carrying on their 
lives where they were. That's been interrupted, in order to give a show 
and enlarge the egos of the organizers. 
If I grabbed you, put you on a bus, and shipped you to Alaska where 
I fancy there aren't enough people, would you appreciate this help to 
the spread of the human race? And would Alaska be truly grateful? 
 > I am not a commercial
> producer/breeder of butterflies but I would be hopping mad about the
> intrusion of govt. into my business. 

Government is supposed to do that. That's what we pay them for. And, as 
surely you've noticed, the USDA employs plenty of scientists who run 
studies to find what happens with these releases, among other things. If 
you're an educator, you have letters after your name, too. This 
indicates that you have an education of sorts. 
 Let the commercial raising of
> lepidoptera regulate itself.  Private breeders are creating a market for
> lepidoptera and thus insuring the survival of many species.

well, no. They're raising the big showy bugs. Those are the ones that 
sell. But many of the little scapers, blues and hairstreaks and the 
like, are in trouble. You wouldn't see those at a wedding. No money in 
Habitat preservation and restoration is the key. We're working on that 
in South Florida, where the school children are involved in gardens at 
parks, schools, nursing homes and churches.  The Department of 
Transportation helps by planting native wildflowers along the highways. 
The Cooperative Extension Service (that big bad government again) 
teaches Master Gardeners, observes the gardens, offers seminars and 
helps in every way. The universities provide scientific backing for our 
And we did this without Hans Schnauber leading the way. And without the 
glamor of bug releases. We plant; God sends the bugs. 

> What are you talking about releasing populations into the wild?  We can
> learn a lot about migration by following these releases.

Please read Bob Flanders' posting again, without blood in your eye, and 
think about it. Reread Robert Pyle's posting; he's just written a book 
about Monarchs; he lives with them. Learn something about the subject; 
don't just opinionate.
When one visionary can screw up the work of a million eager young 
scientists, he needs advisers who can settle him down and help him think 
straight. He's not helping butterflies. 
> Barbara Page
> amateur entomologist and educator

amateur educator too? or are there letters after your name?

Anne Kilmer
Random Gardener
The Palm Beach Post
West Palm Beach
writer, educator, amateur naturalist
(and the letters after my name are B.S.  Oh well.)

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