Monday, December 8, 2008

'Man up', Fido!

I guess it's an old story that environmental contaminants are finding their way into our water supplies, food chain, and ultimately our bodies. And, our furry friends bodies'.

It wasn't too long ago, a certain dog discussion list held a heated debate about the temperament of their breed of choice. Some contended the breed's edge, or hardness, was being bred out. Others countered "hardness" was not in the AKC standard and inappropriate.

At the time it seemed like the typical argument. One side claims today's barbie breeders are pandering to a soft, lawsuit happy society at the expense of a defensive breed, every dog was becoming a golden retriever. The other side claimed the show breeders were actively preserving all of the breeds original guarding and protecting traits and the dissenters just didn't know what the dog was supposed to be like.

Yaddi yadda.

What nobody thought to interject, was that the temperaments might indeed be feminizing, but it wasn't necessarily through selective breeding pressures.

Maybe the softness (like osteosarcomas?) is sneaking in through the water pipe.

Two stories today highlight new concerns about gender-bending chemicals in the environment.

From The Independent:

The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.

This quote was great:

Wildlife and people have been exposed to more than 100,000 new chemicals in recent years, and the European Commission has admitted that 99 per cent of them are not adequately regulated. There is not even proper safety information on 85 per cent of them

99% Not adequately regulated? Did you hear that FDA? (Don't you love it when the truth slips out? I'll bet that's not what the EU said either when they approved those chemicals for general use.)

Now for some humor:

But Britain has long sought to water down EU attempts to control gender-bender chemicals and has been leading opposition to a new regulation that would ban pesticides shown to have endocrine-disrupting effects. Almost all the other European countries back it, but ministers – backed by their counterparts from Ireland and Romania – are intent on continuing their resistance at a crucial meeting on Wednesday. They say the regulation would cause a collapse of agriculture in the UK, but environmentalists retort that this is nonsense because the regulation has get-out clauses that could be used by British farmers.

Let's break it down. The control of gender-bender chemicals would mean farmers would have to stop using certain pesticides because that's how a lot of this stuff ends up in the water supply. But, farmers shouldn't worry, because they can get an exemption to keep using the pesticides.

So what is the point of the law? Oh yeah. It shows they care. And they can seriously inconvenience the middle class home owners who might use a little bit of pesticide on their gardens.

Please understand Ms. X is not in favor of gender bender chemicals in pesticides. After all, I have (had) babies, and my beloved fur creatures occasionally have (had) babies. And I like my girls girls and my boys boys.

But I don't like government trying to solve our problems. I'm not going to do it in this post, but I would bet - or no, as it is pretty certain - that the widespread use of gender-bender pesticides could be traced back to government in the first place. Soybeans and corn come to mind.

But not to worry. If pesticides are banned, the farmers will just turn to genetically modified plants that are resistant to the creepy-crawlies. (Unfortunately not the Monsanto human kind.)

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