Collecting anything and future nature interest

Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Tue Jun 29 02:07:56 EDT 1999

Paul Cherubini wrote:
> Doug Yanega wrote:
> > At present, we have *no* option other
> > than regulating collecting of insects by applying the rules that control
> > the catching and killing of vertebrates. No one is now or is ever likely to
> > be willing to undertake the effort and expense of drafting a parallel set
> > of regulations, so we're stuck with blanket rules.
> NABA is certainly wlling to undertake the effort to not only discourage collecting but also

> to outright ban the raising and release of native butterflies. 

Here is what Jeff Glassberg,
> Bob Pyle and Paul Opler have published on NABA's website:
> "A solution that better serves the public interest is to ban the environmental release of

> commercially-obtained butterflies.
 The intentional release of native birds was outlawed in
> 1947. The time has come to do the same with butterflies."
> Paul Cherubini

There's a dramatic difference between Martha Robinson raising a few
butterflies on her front porch, from caterpillars found in her yard, and
Mary Christmas buying two dozen monarchs from California  to release at
her May wedding in New York. 
If we are attempting to formulate ideal relationships with our planet
(which is, I think, what we're working on), and agree that the wedding
release is a bad idea, how do we persuade our legislators to create
regulations that prevent one, but not the other. 
I think well of Bob Pyle and Paul Opler. I tend to agree with what they
think, and respect their wisdom.  I notice that in their statement they
refer to "commercially obtained" butterflies. 
While I'm all in favor of butterfly farms, outdoors and indoors, I'd
like their products to be dead when disposed of, or sold to other indoor
butterfly farms. I worry, as many of us do, about messing with genetic
differences, spreading diseases and parasites ... 
Now Martha may do a little bit of harm, nursing sick caterpillars into
strength and health and permitting the unfit to survive and breed. 
Mary's butterflies will probably all be eaten by grackles, and do no
harm at all to the monarch race. 
And we're just killing time until the next ice age anyway.
But there is a difference between buying butterflies and raising your
own garden caterpillars. 
Wouldn't it be nice if people could research, figure out the "right
thing" and do it without the need for more regulation? 
How many of you find that laws stop you from actions you know to be
wrong? How many are stopped by your own decency? 
And how many (sigh) find  that regulations get in the way of your
inocent pursuit of a harmless hobby or scientific study? For it sounds
to me as if this is your complaint, and it may have some validity. 
We feel, many of us, that the law was somehow designed to hamper us
whistle-blowers, who had intended to warn of the rapid demise of natural
areas and rare species. Meanwhile, the developers are free to ravage the
If Paul Cherubini's fears come true, the regulations springing from the
NABA ban will stop Martha as well as Mary from playing with butterflies.
That is certainly not the intent of either Bob Pyle or Paul Opler. 
And I wonder ... are New Jersey children still allowed to find and raise
tadpoles?   What a loss to the world, if not. And what a loss it would
be if we no longer were allowed to pick up an interesting bug and keep
it to observe for a while ... then carefully release it where we found
Are regulations, in other words, stopping good people from doing useful
work, while failing to protect the organisms they were designed to help? 
Or does the system just need some fine tuning? 
Anne Kilmer

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