The number of animals and plants protected by the federal Endangered Species Act is about to increase dramatically. For Cass Sunstein, radical animal-rights activist and nominee for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator job, that means he will be better positioned than ever to make livestock farming a thing of the past.

How are the two things connected? Our director of research appeared on the Fox News Channel yesterday to explain to Glenn Beck’s audience how much influence Sunstein may soon have over what we eat:

Cattlemen in this country own and manage most of the lands that are covered by the Endangered Species Act, that are subject to control. So you ask: Why is Cass Sunstein’s hatred and animus toward meat eating such a big deal? It’s because he’ll be in a position to be able to use the Endangered Species Act to put cattlemen out of business. And then the price of your steak goes up. And then the price of your cheeseburger goes up.

It’s not only cattlemen who could be at the business end of Sunstein’s ridiculous anti-meat philosophy. Environmental activists groups sued over the Endangered Species Act in 2006 to divert water to a habitat for a three-inch bait fish in California – taking the water away from drought-stricken farmers and costing the California economy more than 60,000 farming jobs. Imagine what would happen if activists didn’t have to sue to get what they wanted, but could just pick up the phone instead.

The future “regulatory czar” has made no secret of his coercive tactics to get Americans to eat less meat. His grand plan is to make meat more expensive to produce, which will in turn make it harder for American families to afford. Similarly unpopular tactics have been attempted in the drive to get people to drink less soda. While Sunstein couches his plans as a “nudge,” we’d say it’s more like a shove.

Hug your cheeseburgers tonight, because they too are about to become an endangered species.