6 Advantages and Disadvantages of the Endangered Species Act

Signed on December 28, 1973, the Endangered Species Act is a federal law that exists for the protection and conservation of species facing the threat of extinction. Along with this Act come regulations to follow and fines for people who violate this law. Having said this, the ESA has become a divided issue among its supporters and critics. Here are some of the benefits and setbacks associated with the ESA:

List of Advantages of the Endangered Species Act

1. It promotes awareness on people.
Since the enactment of the ESA, animals, birds and plants that are endangered are identified, listed and labeled. This way, people, young and adults, are educated on what are included in the list. People become aware of the environment and the living things on it. Moreover, this makes it easier for them to identify what animals and plants need to be protected and taken care of.

2. It is good for the environment.
Animal and plant species have different habitats which need to be preserved and protected as well. With ESA, the people are also urged not to destroy the environment and lessen the emission of carbon into the air to prevent further destruction of the surroundings. Aside from maintaining and providing homes for these animals, dangers to the environment are also lessened.

3. It restores ecological balance.
Before the ESA, people are not aware that there are certain species of animals and plants that are nearing extinction. This is why there have been numerous animals killed for hunting and food as well as plants destroyed through deforestation. With ESA and the punishments given to violators of this law, the number of the killings and hunting of these endangered species was reduced.

List of Disadvantages of Endangered Species Act

1. It puts the rights of animals over the rights of men.
The ESA aims to protect and conserve endangered species and this law exists in order to end and reverse the trend that goes to the direction of extinction, regardless of what it takes, even if this means not allowing people to build structures in places considered to be the habitats of these species. According to critics, the law favors animals and plants more than the human beings.

2. It is costly.
Large sums of money have been spent to support ESA. These expenses included payments for land surveys, rehabilitations, employees and researches which used the money of taxpayers. Although the funding has stopped since 1992, some politicians still funnel some of their funds to these projects which are still coming from the money of taxpayers. These expenses, according to opponents, could have been used for more important purposes.

3. Punishments for violations of the ESA are too much.
There have been issues criticizing the kinds of punishments given to violators of the Act. People who are caught can be asked to pay hefty sums of money as fines. Moreover, the ESA also violates the rights private land owners who are kept from developing their properties and convert lands to income-generating enterprises since doing so can destroy the natural habitat of animals, birds and plants.

Taking care of the endangered species is important to preserve biodiversity of the species in the environment. However, it does not come without sacrificing time, money and effort which can be considered as drawbacks. By balancing all these factors, conservation of endangered species will become more advantageous than its opposite.