Monday, June 13, 2011

Save the Hamsters

Sarah Zielinski at the Smithsonian Magazine blog reports on an attempt by the European Union to force France into securing their hamster population:
Last week the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the European Union’s version of our Supreme Court, ruled that France had not done enough to protect the Great Hamster of Alsace (a.k.a. the European or common hamster) and that if France did not institute sufficient protections for the species, the country could be fined more than $24 million.
According to the New York Times article,
Farmers have generally considered the hamster to be a farmyard pest, and before it was protected they flooded its burrows and used poison and traps to kill it.

Jean-Paul Burget, president of Sauvegarde Faune Sauvage, or Safeguard Wildlife, in Wittenheim, in Alsace, said in a telephone interview that “we are very happy,” and that “European rules must be followed.” France “now must work to raise the population of hamsters up to 1,500,” which would be enough to preserve the species, he said, and the prefecture of Alsace “must stop some urbanization projects and restore” older agreements to grow certain cereals that hamsters eat.
That's right, France. Rules must be followed.
What would we do if the hamsters were gone?

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