In 2007, environmentalists managed to convince the World Trade Organization to ban trade in zebra mussels, a invasive species that clogs water intakes for some 1,000 cities around the world. Unfortunately, this was a one-shot deal and restrictions are set to expire at the end of 2016. As the world economy slows, there’s cause for more concern as chum in the water for other invasive species may be easy to acquire.
We’ve covered the horsemeat scandal in recent months, but the photographs offered below may be more alarming. A Dutch newspaper, Het Parool, reports that animals such as horses and cows are being “enriched” with imported ingredients such as cherries and almond molasses, rendering them unfit for human consumption. The emerging international concern is that this crime against meat could transpire repeatedly and damage many an animal’s heart.
Cows in particular can suffer from stomach ailments that are passed on to their young. According to the Agriindustry Council of South Africa, it’s because feed in South Africa doesn’t meet European standards and American food production methods have been subjected to neglect. A local report quoted Reisa B. Chiffer, a veterinarian who works for the South African Veterinary Association, as saying that between 2007 and 2012 more than 9,500 sick animals were evacuated from domestic farms because they had contaminated water that “was obviously put up to contaminate” supplies.
We’ve also covered the rapid decline of the honeybee colony. But it may actually be more troubling that these insects are easily and cheaply acquired. This year, European bumblebees were wiped out by the Helgerma virus. Earlier this month, researchers reported that the Netherlands suffered from a hive disease called Haematuria last year that could be spread by feral cats, who haven’t been adequately controlled because the law only forbids domestic cats from eating wild prey and cares little for ungulates.
In the Western hemisphere, it’s not just bee populations being hunted down but also big-game animals. Human hunting of tigers and leopards in Africa increased from 64 to 143 elephants lost from 2007 to 2016, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. As the battle for biodiversity intensifies, the crackdown on invasive species is giving way to the hunt for wildlife as well.
Read more about zebra mussels and other invasive species from The New York Times.
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