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Victory for turtles and frogs

Published 05/20/10

Born Free USA applauds the California Fish and Game Commission for upholding its decision to cease issuing permits for the importation of live turtles and frogs destined for live-food markets.

Prohibiting the import of live turtles and frogs destined for food markets is an important first step to addressing the threats these animals pose to the ecosystem as well their ability to carry the deadly emerging amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the highly infectious chytrid fungus.

Born Free USA continues to encourage the commission to apply the prohibition more broadly by adding non-native turtles and frogs to the prohibited species list.

"At the very least, adding high-risk, non-native turtle and frog species to the state's prohibited list would extend the sales ban to retail stores, pet shops, flea markets and swap meets, thereby providing a more comprehensive, more effective and fairer approach," said Monica Engebretson, senior program associate of Born Free USA.

The potential exists for great harm to our ecosystem when these species are released into local waters (a common, though illegal, practice) and the risk to human health is a serious consideration as many of these animals carry E. coli, salmonella, pasturella (all potentially fatal in humans), plus giardia, blood parasites and possibly malaria. Apart from the risks to human health and the ecosystem is the inhumane manner in which these animals are typically housed, sold and killed.

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