Walking my dog in 84-degree weather, just three weeks after we had a blizzard here in Minnesota, we heard a few frogs singing in the swampy ponds. Dog Kota cocked her Aussie red heeler head and looked at me as to say, “So what do we do?” She was clearly not interested in listening to their timeless croaking serenades, so we resumed our walk and I told her the story about frogs someone had told me years ago.
Put frogs in a pot of hot water, and some will jump out for sure (as evidenced lately by some of the croakers fleeing the White House). But you don’t need a lid when you warm the water slowly: The frogs habituate and relax, not knowing what is happening until it is too late and they are too stupefied to jump out.
This may well be the fate of my own kind, I told Kota.
I chose not to tell her that frogs are still being dissected by high school students, because she had suffered enough in her short life before we adopted her from an animal shelter. Nor did I tell her about how deformed frogs were first discovered in Minnesota ponds by school children in 1995. Investigators later found these developmental and also reproductive problems were due to herbicides and an insect growth regulator, methoprene, which municipal authorities put in fresh water to kill mosquito larvae. But they coincidentally killed other aquatic organisms that normally consume the mosquito larvae, such as dragonfly nymphs. Fewer healthy frogs mean fewer tadpoles to consume algae, which can produce lethal toxins and could kill Kota if she drank the water.
Frogs and other amphibians are becoming extinct all around the world, yet they and other creatures play a vital role in controlling mosquitos. We have the science now to identify and correct the causes, but without the will of the public, and responsible government and corporate behavior with regard to public and environmental health, we will surely share the fate of the frogs.
That evening, I saw a TV advertisement promoting the herbicide Roundup (considered by some scientists to be a major human and environmental health hazard), to kill weeds like the dandelion -- a medicinal and most nutritious plant. Why do we harm and destroy what is good for us and the environment? The very next morning, I saw my immediate neighbor, who has two dogs, spraying the dandelions on her lawn. I should take her a copy of the warning about exposing cats and dogs to such herbicides in the Morris Animal Foundation’s new Pet Cancer Prevention Checklist brochure (morrisanimalfoundation.org).
Time to wake up before we all croak!
MERRICK DOG TREAT RECALL: HIGH THYROID HORMONE CONTENT
A voluntary recall was issued by Merrick Pet Care for certain Merrick Backcountry and Castor and Pollux brand dog treats after a consumer complaint of finding high levels of beef thyroid hormone in one of the products. The recalled products include Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Jerky, Real Beef Sausage Cuts and Real Steak Patties, as well as Castor and Pollux Good Buddy Prime Patties Real Beef Recipe and Sausage Cuts Real Beef Recipe, all with best-before dates of May 1, 2017 through Sept. 1, 2019. The treats were distributed to pet stores and grocery stores across the United States and via online retailers. (FoodSafetyNews.com, May 24)
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