Unnamed Resolution Concerning Extensive Use of Dieldrin in the Southeastern United States for Fire Ant Control

WHEREAS, The United States Department of Agriculture and associated state agencies have begun chemical treatments within an over-all area of some 27,000,000 acres of the Southeast with the hope but dubious likelihood of exterminating the imported fire ant; and

WHEREAS, much of this treatment consists of aerial distribution of heptachlor or dieldrin at 2 pounds of active ingredient per acre, which is equivalent in killing power to certain forms of fish and wildlife of up to 40 pounds of D.D.T. per acre; and

WHEREAS, It has already been demonstrated that one or two pounds of dieldrin per acre causes serious depletion of many kinds of terrestrial and aquatic life, and applications of one to five pounds per acre of the much more investigated D.D.T. are known to cause serious depletions of many kinds of invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and birds; and

WHEREAS, These poisons remain toxic up to three years and may be carried into waters of all types long after application; and

WHEREAS, Extermination of fire ants will require treatment of all types of infested land including natural areas; and

WHEREAS, the Southeast possesses a wealth of fish and wildlife resources of incalculable commercial, recreational and scientific value; and

WHEREAS, the Southeast also possesses hundreds of kinds of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and other animals that occur nowhere else in the world and many of these animals occupy only small areas and therefore might readily be completely exterminated; and

WHEREAS, Each of these endemic animals has such great scientific and educational value that its extinction would be a tragic loss inconsistent with the aim of the American people to maintain all harmless kinds of animals insofar as humanly possible; and

WHEREAS, the imported fire ant is listed among the twenty worst insect pests by only two of the southeastern states, and recent studies have revealed that this ant rarely eats crop plants but is primarily predaceous on other insects;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the American Society of Mammalogists, through its appropriate officers, recommend to the Secretary of Agriculture, to the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives: (1) that aerial distribution of heptachlor, dieldrin and equivalent poisons for extermination of fire ants or other purposes be ceased at once before irreparable harm is done; (2) that all applications for control of fire ants be limited to treatment of individual ant mounds by ground equipment; (3) that the Department of Agriculture and associated organizations launch intensive research designed to discover pest-control methods that will not endanger desirable native animals, whether game or non-game; (4) that thorough studies be made of the effect of current control programs on fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and the types of animal life on which these depend for food, as well as the effects of these programs on organisms that are responsible for proper functioning of the soil; and (5) that all plans for future control programs be formulated only after great weight has been given to the possibility of extermination of any kinds of native plants and animals, especially animals and plants that are of extremely limited distribution;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists stands ready at all times to provide any federal, state or local government agency with information on mammals that is of especial scientific significance in any given area.