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Old 05-06-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
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Default US Wildlife Trade Poorly Regulated, Threatening Food Supply Chains, Human Health, Ecosystems

US Wildlife Trade Poorly Regulated, Threatening Food Supply Chains, Human Health, Ecosystems
ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2009) Wildlife imports into the United States are fragmented and insufficiently coordinated, failing to accurately list more than four in five species entering the country, a team of scientists has found. The effect, the scientists write in the journal Science, May 1, is that a range of diseases is introduced into the United States, potentially decimating species, devastating ecosystems and threatening food supply chains and human health.

US Wildlife Trade Poorly Regulated, Threatening Food Supply Chains, Human Health, Ecosystems
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The research by Brown University, Wildlife Trust, Pacific Lutheran University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Global Invasive Species Programme comes as Congress begins deliberating the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (HR 669), which would tighten regulations on wildlife imports. At a hearing last week before the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, wildlife experts discussed how nonnative species and plants can disrupt ecosystems. One case mentioned at the hearing involves the Burmese python, originally imported as a pet that now infests the Florida Everglades.
The global wildlife trade generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The team analyzed Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS) data gathered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 2000 through 2006 and found the United States imported upward of 1.5 billion live wildlife animals. The vast majority of the imports were from wild populations in more than 190 countries around the world and were intended for commercial sale in the United States primarily in the pet trade.
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