14 March 2010

Forget the snails, worry about the idiotic newspapers there are still around

A peculiar article appeared in the Orlando Sentinel on 11 March about the potential threat the giant African snails (Achatina sp.) may pose to agriculture and human health in Florida. The article has since been repeated verbatim by at least 1 other paper (Los Angeles Times).

I am not sure what exactly the "news" is in this "news" article. It is already illegal to bring into the U.S. not just giant African snails, but any species of live snail without a permit. And the USDA inspectors routinely inspect for snails the cargo that is being imported into the U.S. in Florida and elsewhere. There is nothing new so far as import regulations are concerned. Moreover, the article doesn't say if any Achatina has recently been found in the wild in Florida. Nor does the article mention if there has been any recent confiscations of snails at U.S. borders. There may well have been some. But the article doesn't say that.

So what's the point of publishing an "empty" article like this other than as an excuse to sell ads?

Are we still lamenting the ongoing decline and the eventual and unavoidable demise of the newspaper industry? Oh, I can't wait for that day to come! We won't be losing much, believe me.

Appreciations to C. Christensen for bringing this to my attention.


Coyote said...

That article made me feel like we are now supposed to raise the terror alert level to orange or something. Ooh, be aware of suspicious slimy activity by 20cm mollusks!

Are giant African snails the new terrorists?

Denise said...

The Charlotte Observer ran the article last week and stated that "multiple" live snails were found in Hialeah, Florida recently. If more than two were found, how many were NOT found . . . ?