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Kenneth Cleaver 

Consumer Correspondent

October 3, 2003

Mr. William Perry Pendley

Mountain States Legal Foundation

2596 South Lewis Way

Lakewood, CO 80227

Dear Mr. Pendley:

I suppose legal activists don't get much by way of fan mail, which is a pity, but not why I'm writing. I understand you're suing Interior Secretary Gale Norton for keeping the Preble's meadow jumping mouse on the Endangered Species list.

Well it's about time.

Here in El Paso County, residents of Monument have been denied a Wal-Mart because its location sits on mouse habitat. When a society gets its priorities so ass-backwards that human retail needs are subordinated to the welfare of a minor mammal, things have gone profoundly awry.

At any rate, the reason I'm writing is to offer an argument that organizations like yours might wish to consider.

As various species go the way of the dodo bird, there's been an enormous increase in the volume of animal-related television programming and token ephemera. It's safe to say there's a thriving industry devoted to American wildlife, not as a crawling, stinking, biting reality, but as a brand lifestyle.

So long as there's a sufficient quantity of Preble's meadow jumping mouse nature documentaries, color photographs, stuffed animals, coffee mugs, key chains, postcards, T-shirts and ceramic likenesses, then there's really nothing to worry about. The species will survive as an idea whether or not it survives in their highly inconvenient habitat.

I hope this idea will be of use to you. Please let me know what you think and keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Cleaver

click here for Pendley's response

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