As food scarcity starts to be a concern for Americans, California’s bureaucrats now place the needs of insects over farmers. The fruit from this decision will likely be bitter.
California rose to a new level of crazy last week. One of its courts ruled that bees could be classified in a category initially intended for use for fish and aquatic life.
A ruling by a California appeals court had the unusual effect of classifying bees as fish under the state’s endangered species law.
The case began in 2019, when the California Fish and Game Commission classified bumblebees as endangered, and agricultural groups successfully appealed to the Sacramento County Superior Court the following year to have the insects removed.
The groups had argued that the bees could not be listed as endangered under the umbrella of invertebrates, because California’s endangered species law from the 1970s explicitly defines invertebrates — animals without backbones — as “fish.”
The 3rd district California Court of Appeals in Sacramento has now overturned the earlier decision, returning bees to the state’s endangered list. The court ruled that other non-aquatic invertebrates, such as snails, were already listed as endangered under the category of fish.
There is no denying that the bumblebee is one of the cutest creatures on the planet, especially among the class Insecta. However, this ruling is in a long line of abuses of the concept of the Endangered Species Act, which was initially aimed at protecting a minimal number of animals.
There was a judicial misuse of science to use a list designed for fish and related aquatic species for an insect.
In the ruling, the courts gave the [California Fish and Game Commission] the legal authority to list invertebrate species as endangered, even if they are not aquatic animals.
“We next consider whether the commission’s authority is limited to listing only aquatic invertebrates,” the ruling stated. “We conclude the answer is, ‘no.’ Although the term fish is colloquially and commonly understood to refer to aquatic species, the term of art employed by the Legislature in the definition of fish in section 45 is not so limited.”
If the bees needed such protection, let them be added separately with a chance for public commentary, affected industry input, and some regulatory restraint on the regulators.
And while environmental justice activists are delighted with the Gumby-like stretch in interpretation, California farmers are weighing their legal options.
…[T]he Almond Alliance of California, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and five other agricultural groups filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court in a bid to clarify that CESA does not protect insects.
In 2020, the Superior Court ruled that the law’s reference to “invertebrates” had to be read in context, and included only aquatic animals.
Paul Weiland of Nossaman, lead counsel for the agriculture groups, said his clients are “disappointed” and reviewing their legal options.
Meanwhile, the ruling has led to some amusing commentary on the state of the California judiciary.
If a bee identifies as a fish, who are we to question its lived experience?
— Jacob Herbold (@JacobHerbold) June 6, 2022
However, this is something to ponder on a more serious note: Americans are now increasingly concerned about food scarcity. With the cost of fuel escalating and fertilizer shortages looming, food production will take a hit.
California recently rejected a desalination plant and is leveling four dams in the name of Mother Earth. It has made it much harder for farmers to farm in California.
California is considered the country’s fruit, vegetable, and nut basket. Here is the most recent static I could find about the state’s agricultural product, which should be of concern:
California agricultural exports totaled $20.8 billion in 2020, a decrease of 2.8 percent from 2019. Top commodities for export included almonds, dairy and dairy products, pistachios, walnuts and wine. California’s agricultural export statistics are produced by the University of California, Davis.
With a continued emphasis on returning land to “nature,” farmers will have to make different choices on where to farm…and it won’t be in California.
California’s bureaucrats now place the needs of insects over farmers. The fruit from this decision will likely be bitter.DONATE
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