BOTTOM FEEDERS REDUX
By Mike Benge
In the 2002 appropriations legislation for agriculture programs, signed by President Bush last month, Congress, with little debate, decreed that only catfish belonging to a biological genus native to North America be allowed such a label, effectively shutting Vietnamese fish out of this segment of the U.S. market only weeks after the two countries signed their first trade agreement (One catch not fish of the day, WT, 12/28/01).
However, on Dec. 18 advocates for communist Vietnam, Senators John McCain, Arizona Republicanand John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, tried to pass an amendment to another bill that would have knocked the rule off the books, but they failed by a 68-23 margin. After the vote, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi (a major catfish producing state) entertained his colleagues with catfish jokes replete with references to "bottom feeders," but It is unclear if Senator Lott was specifically referring to the fish or the Senators.
Since Vietnam is making such a hue and cry over Agent Orange and the resulting dioxins, has anyone thought to check these "bottom feeders" (the fish that is) for dioxins? As bottom feeders, the Vietnamese fish being shipped and sold on the U.S. market would be particularly susceptible to the accumulation of high levels of dioxins, since they were labeled 'Delta Raised' inferring that they raised in the area in Vietnam that was sprayed the most with Agent Orange, and labeled as "Hot Spots" by scientists studying the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. After all, the Vietnamese cannot have it both ways in spite of their strong Congressional lobbyists.
NOTE: This is an abridged version of my article "Bottom Feeders", based on excerpts from the Washington Times spiced with my spin, was erroneously sent out without attribution under someone else's name. Below is the article in its entireity. The Author
Este y otros excelentes artículos del mismo AUTOR aparecen en la REVISTA GUARACABUYA con dirección electrónica de:www.amigospais-guaracabuya.org