Pests. They are everywhere. We have to deal with them on a regular occurrence throughout our life. Sometimes you’ll hear something like, “oh, looks like that deer that comes by the yard every other day went ahead and devoured our rose bush again..” or if your from Florida, “I just drove that half hour drive to Britany’s house, and now I have to get that lovebug splatter off my car before it eats away the paint.” These may not be your problems, but we all can relate to inconveniences of nature. Sometimes these pests aren’t pests. They are dangerous monsters that threaten mankind, such as the pythons that “escaped from captivity near the Everglades during Hurricane Andrew in 1992” (Weeks par. 4). Even feral pigs in the South have been known to attack humans and their pets (Weeks par. 10). Let alone the fact they harm society, they are even more dangerous to the other native wildlife across the U.S. Ultimately because of the danger foreign invasive species can have on humanity and the United States’ wild life environment, something must be done. I believe to confront this problem the U.S. should most definitely restrict the importation of foreign animals to the country to some extent.
The people that oppose the restrictions of foreign animal importation do have a valid point as well. So much knowledge can be learned from foreign organisms, that it would almost hinder the development of our nation. Foreign organisms can be very beneficial under certain circumstances. For instance the bio-engineered bacteria used in the British Petroleum oil spill disaster was a foreign introduced organism that helped eliminate and clean up the gulf, saving the lives of much marine life (Dimond par. 14). Around the world there are many exotic animal enthusiasts that teach and also bring money into the U.S because of their profession as well. It would be a shame to prevent them from living their dream. That is what the U.S. stands for doesn’t it? Where anyone can come to the U.S. and live their life the way they want to? Well of course, but if it is life threatening to the United States’ society and environment and there is actual proof of the devastation foreign animals can do and have done, than some reform must be implemented to at least reduce that threat in some way.
While there are plenty of benefits to allowing foreign animals into the country, I believe the possibility of foreign species becoming invasive and becoming a danger to society and other humans alike is greatly outweighed by the former. Ecologist Daniel Simberloff, Ph.D., stated in his article that, “out of 1,880 imperiled species in the United States, 49% are endangered because of introduced species alone,” which shows how devastating these foreign animals can be to the native animals of the country (par. 3). He also goes on to mention that the cost, “estimated at $137 billion per year to the U.S. economy,” which is an unfathomable amount that, I believe, could have been prevented if we had more restrictions put on foreign animals entering the country. Peter T. Jenkins, an attorney and policy analyst at the International Center for Technology Assessment in Washington, D.C. recorded in his article that with every $1 spent in prevention methods, that it would save $17 in future expenses used to repair the damage (par. 11). Which only adds to the reason why foreign species is such a problem in the U.S. and also hints at how the problem could be solved.
Ultimately, my opinion on the matter is the fact that the danger and expense of foreign species being used in the country greatly exceeds the benefits of having them be allowed. I feel that a majority of the reasons to keep them allowed are reasons that are flawed. For instance exotic pet owners, one of the reasons is because they just want to own exotic pets. There is no specific beneficial reason except the fact they like having a Siberian tiger in their back yard. While some enthusiasts are beneficial in their knowledge and research and are successful in maintaining and keeping their animals confined, the chance these dangerous animals will escape or be carelessly let go and endanger the lives, jobs, and environment of humans and animals alike is very irrational. Even when foreign species are used to lower the population of another invasive species, the result ends up with the alien species becoming the new invasive. Introducing “oil eating” bacteria to the oil spill in the gulf was obviously a great idea, yet that was an experiment that was researched where the bacteria would die off after it has done it’s job.
If we could find a way to research and test the organisms prior to entering the United States, I believe this would be a great solution to the foreign species problem. I read an article on the BBC on why and how England is completely clean of the rabies virus. They described how they keep animals in quarantine for six months if they haven’t been vaccinated to make sure they don’t have the virus (Q&A: Rabies par. 19). Even though a virus is a little different then a full grown animal, I believe this practice is the key to helping prevent foreign invasive species. In that time they could do research on how the animal will effect the environment and if it would be a danger to society and other organisms. Similar to the bacteria used in the oil spill stated previously. Researching the outcome and actions of the organism greatly benefited the oil spill disaster. As Peter T. Jenkins stated earlier, if we spent the time and money to research the organisms before hand, we would save the country money and lives.
Dimond, Patricia F. “Can Microbes Help Stem the BP Oil-Spill Disaster?” GEN. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, 17 June 2010. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.
Jenkins, Peter T. “Issues in S and T, Fall 2002, Paying for Protection from Invasive Species.” Issues in S and T, Fall 2002, Paying for Protection from Invasive Species. N.p., 2007. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.
“Q&A: Rabies.” BBC News. BBC, 24 May 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.
Simberloff, Daniel. “Introduced Species: The Threat to Biodiversity & What Can Be Done.”Actionbioscience. American Institute of Biological Sciences, Dec. 2000. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
Weeks, Jennifer. “Invasive Species.” CQ Researcher. SAGE Publications, 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.