I am very concerned about an act that is going through the House of Representatives right now, and anybody who owns any sort of exotic pet or fish should be too. It's HR 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Protection Act
. It sounds great in theory, protect US native environments by banning dangerous nonnative animals from the US. But I have a few issues with this. One is that the proposed list of allowed animals to keep as livestock or pets, as defined under section 14(D) is pretty limited--cats, dogs, cattle, chickens, donkeys, domesticated species of geese and ducks, goats, goldfish, horses, llamas, mules, pigs, domesticated rabbits and sheep. Granted there is some allowance made for "any other species ... determined by the Secretary [of the Interior] to be common and clearly domesticated," but I'm not at all comfortable with that determination being made by a political appointee. The astute will notice that ferrets are not on that list, despite being clearly domesticated, and I worry that ferrets suffer such bad PR that they will not be added despite the extraordinary lack of impact they have on their local environment (though the fact that they are widely used in medical research might help their case :-/ ). The other problem is that the native environments are so different from state to state. An animal that poses a threat to the native environment in Florida, certain reptiles say, pose no threat at all to the native environment in Nebraska. Obviously states and territories like Hawaii and Guam have more at stake than long settled areas like the Northeast where we don't have a lot of natural native environment left. It seems to me it would be far better to let states make their own determinations as to what animals are allowed, and leave regulating interstate commerce up to federal regulation. Perhaps the federal government could issue recommendations about species like snakefish, that seem destructive in a wide variety of environments.
But the thing that really gets me about this is that it seems like a case of shutting the barn door after the horse has gone and already irrevocably altered the local environment. All those animals on the allowed list are capable of causing serious damage to native environments (well, except maybe goldfish and llamas, I don't know). Feral cats, dogs and pigs have profound impacts on their local environments. Working for the Forest Service in California, where cattle ranchers are allowed to graze their cattle in National Forest land, I have seen first hand how destructive cattle can be to watersheds and delicate ecosystems. The whole thing seems to be a bit of a sham to me. Of course the environment in all its wonderful variation ought to be protected. But this seems to say to me let's ban all the nonnative animals, except for the most destructive ones because either we love them or they are economically valuable so we'll just overlook the massive damage they do.
Anyway, I already wrote to the chair of the subcommittee that currently has this act under consideration (Rep. Madeleine Bordallo
), and will write my own rep when the act leaves the subcommittee. I hope this is much to do over nothing, but I worry. edited to add
: I wrote Dr. Khuly aka Dolittler
about this, and she says she'll write on it later this week. Yay!
After having it suggested to me by a handful of people over the weekend and then receiving a coupon for one in the mail on Monday, I went out and bought a neti pot and used it last night. It is somewhat disgusting, but I have to say my head felt a hundred times better after using it, and my congestion is close to gone now. So I am a neti pot convert. I honestly think it will help me stay healthier.
Bits of my calves and thighs started shaking in dance class last night. I think my body would like me to know that it has had quite enough for now, thank you. Tonight I'll rest. But I'm so fired up and inspired from the weekend that I just want to dance dance dance! There's a super funky drum solo on the CD from Yousry's workshop that I'm longing to work on, listening to it I was practically dancing in my seat on the train this morning. And there's other songs I want to work on, and DVDs to do, and-and-and--but I will be sensible and rest up first. It helps that Lost is on tonight.