Although governments the world over are known for efficiency (never), speed (for audits), and honesty (only for how officials don’t use their per diem to fund trips to the strip club. Wink, wink), governments are also known for not spending taxpayer dollars on anything silly.
My head hurt writing that.
Such as these laws: in Texas, an interior designer has to have an interior design license. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a business owner has to buy a license just to go out of business. And in Massachusetts it’s illegal to free a whale from a fishing net.
Try to make sense of any of that.
But where governments have really made progress is when they’ve passed legislation to legally protect animals they don’t recognize as existing.
I need to get something straight here. I’m a cryptozoology enthusiast. I think Bigfoot most probably exists. Given the continued sightings, I doubt Australia’s Tasmanian tiger was really hunted to extinction in the 1930s. And according to Roy P. Mackal, author of the book, “The Monsters of Loch Ness,” there have been more than 3,000 “recorded sightings” of the Loch Ness Monster. Hey, numbers talk, baby.
But I’ve also gone on record as saying if anyone’s going to prove one of these creatures exists he has to shoot one. Yep, Jim Bob, pump that sucker full of lead. Without a body, science won’t care.
However, some governments have made coming up with a body tough.
The United States’ Endangered Species Act of 1973 states, “No federal agency may authorize, fund or carry out any action likely to threaten or harm the existence of an endangered/threatened species.” That includes the animal’s habitat (for the Honey Island Monster, that would be Scooby Doo-esque swamps).
The act also forbids American citizens from killing one of these endangered/threatened species, and imposes a fine of up to $50,000, and/or a year in prison.
But what critters are included in that?
Although the Endangered Species Act was initially designed to protect animals like the bald eagle, and the grey wolf, some areas have extended that protection to monsters.
- Vermont, and New York both passed resolutions in the 1980s to make it illegal to harm Champ, a serpent-like monster in Lake Champlain.
- The Arkansas State Senate passed a resolution in 1973 declaring a section of the White River a refuge for Whitey, a 12-foot-long, five-foot-wide monster with the face of a catfish.
- The Skamania County, Washington, Board of Commissioners voted that killing a Bigfoot would result in a $10,000 fine, and five years in jail.
- A proposal to make it illegal to kill a skunk ape made it as far as the Florida House of Representatives twice in the 1970s, but was voted down both times.
Other governments have gotten in on it, too:
- In Bhutan it is illegal to molest the Migoi, that country’s Yeti. Bhutan set aside government land to serve as a Migoi protected habitat in 2001.
- In 1986, a court in Sweden ruled it was illegal to “kill, hunt or catch” Storsjoe, a dog-faced monster that inhabits Lake Storsjoen.
Every other monster on the planet is apparently fair game. So, for anyone who comes across a dogman, dragon, living Pterosaur, or jackalope, feel free to run it over with your car. The government won’t mind, and science may appreciate it.