[Taxacom] Collecting Samples From Another Country

Alec McClay alec.mcclay at shaw.ca
Tue Jul 19 13:11:34 CDT 2011

I too wonder how this happened, at a more basic philosophical level. 
Not to go all libertarian, but surely in a free society it's a basic 
principle that individuals are free to do anything they want unless 
the law specifically prohibits it. (Conversely, governments are 
constrained from doing anything except what the law specifically 
empowers them to do - see 
If governments take it on themselves to issue permits for insect 
collecting (or any other activity X) this would have no meaning or 
force unless there is a law somewhere on the books that says "No-one 
may collect insects (or carry out activity X) without a permit". (I 
have been told that this is the case in Mexico, for instance, 
although I have not checked the law myself.) Does such a blanket ban 
exist in countries that require permits for any and all insect 
collecting? And if it does, what conceivable purpose or value does it 
serve? Does it also prohibit running bug-zappers, squashing 
butterflies on the radiator grill of your car as you drive along, or 
a child collecting beetles in her parents' back yard?

Obviously I'm not arguing against banning collecting, or requiring 
permits, for specific situations such as protected natural areas or 
endangered species, where they serve a clear purpose. And if private 
landowners want to control access to their land or prohibit others 
from collecting on it, that is their right. But the idea of a 
blanket, nationwide need for a permit implies a blanket, nationwide 
ban in the absence of a permit. I think it's quite alarming that 
governments either have, or act as if they have, such extensive 
powers to regulate the harmless behaviours of individuals.

At 11:00 AM 11.07.19, you wrote:
>Fabian wrote:
>"In any case, I think its fair to assume that you need a collection
>permit everywhere you go these days. Even in your home countries. And
>there is no way around it!"
>and Frank Krell commented:
>I wonder how and why this happened.

Alec McClay, Ph.D., P. Biol.

McClay Ecoscience
15 Greenbriar Crescent
Sherwood Park, Alberta
Canada T8H 1H8

Phone (780) 464-4962
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Email <mailto:alec.mcclay at shaw.ca>alec.mcclay at shaw.ca or 
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Biological control, invasive species, insect-plant ecology  

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