Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hopeful for more careful consideration...

The Economist's Green.view reports that a new bill calling for stricter controls and evaluations on wildlife imports, and banning non-native wildlife species that would harm the economy, the environment, human health or another animal species, is currently under consideration by Congress. The Non-Native Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act has come about in part due to research led by Katherine Smith at Brown University:

"Dr Smith found that almost 1.5 billion creatures had been imported by America between 2000 and 2006. Some 95% of these were aquatic creatures: fish and live corals for aquariums; and almost all were imported for commercial reasons, mostly as pets. They came from 190 countries and almost 70% originated in South-East Asia. The countries that sent the most animals were Indonesia, the Philippines, Fiji, Tonga, Thailand, Hong Kong and the Solomon Islands... American law states that each of these creatures must be precisely identified by its scientific name. However Dr Smith and her colleagues found that most contained insufficient information for them to be catalogued properly. Almost a third of shipments were described in general terms such as 'marine fish' or 'live invertebrates'. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to keep proper records at American ports of entry. "

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