COMMENTARY Recently, Mike Lake, a Canadian member of parliament from Edmonton, Alberta, agreed to introduce a petition that called for Bigfoot to be protected under the Canadian version of the endangered species act. Lake presented to the House of Commons a petition that stated, “The debate over (Bigfoot’s) existence is moot in the circumstance of their tenuous hold on merely existing. Therefore, the petitioners request the House of Commons to establish immediate, comprehensive legislation to affect immediate protection of Bigfoot.” The man behind the petition was a Bigfoot enthusiast named Todd Standing, who claims to have definitive proof of Bigfoot but is withholding it until protection for the alleged animals is in place. “When I get species protection for them nationwide, I will make my findings public and I will take this out of the realm of mythology. Bigfoot is real,” Standing said. The petition soon became an embarrassment for Lake, who later issued a press release stating that the proposal had been tabled. “I take seriously my responsibility to represent all of my constituents, regardless of whether or not I agree with their views. If a legitimate petition is brought forward by one of my constituents and deemed to be in order, I feel it is my duty to table it in the House,” Lake wrote. Lake also clarified that he never spoke in the House of Commons regarding the petition, nor did he endorse the existence of Bigfoot. The fact that Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, as it is better known in Canada) have never been proven to exist is apparently not an issue for those who support such measures, nearly 500 of whom signed the petition. There is some precedent for the proposal: Similar quasi-legal measures protecting unknown creatures have been suggested or passed, for example protecting the Canadian monsters “Memphre” (of Quebec’s Lake Memphremagog) and “Caddy” (of British Columbia’s Cadboro Bay). “Champ,” the lake monster said to inhabit Lake Champlain, is “officially” protected by both the New York State Assembly and the Vermont Legislature. Protecting endangered species is important for biodiversity, but protecting animals that may not even exist is putting the cart before the unicorn. No one has ever injured or killed a creature not known to exist; Bigfoot and lake monsters are no more in need of legal protection than are leprechauns or dragons. If the creatures are eventually discovered, scientists will do all they can to preserve and study the species. Until then, surely lawmakers have more important things to worry about. Benjamin Radford has written many articles about the search for mysterious creatures. His latest book, co-authored with researcher Joe Nickell, is Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World’s Most Elusive Creatures. This and other books are noted on his website .
- Rumor or Reality: The Creatures of Cryptozoology
- The Surprising Realities of Mythical Creatures
- Top 10 Beasts and Dragons: How Reality Made Myth