Via Charlie Pierce, there are plans for those hippopotami in Colombia.
You probably thought we were finished with the saga of the late Pablo Escobar’s hippos when we discussed how the latest strategy to keep the massive death-dealing invaders from overrunning South America is to arrange to sterilize the beasts to keep them from pullulating all over the landscape. But we did not reckon with the American judicial system. Hippos are people, too, my friend. From the Washington Post:
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, which sought the interested persons designation for the “cocaine hippos,” called the ruling by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio a “critical milestone” in its larger effort to have the American legal system recognize “enforceable rights” to which animals are entitled.
I think I speak for a great percentage of my fellow citizens when I say, WTF?
Legal experts note that the U.S. court order has no direct impact in Colombia, and it remains to be seen what influence the ruling might have. Gómez, the Colombian lawyer, has praised his country’s jurisprudential attitude toward nonhuman animals. Colombian courts characterize them as “sentient beings” entitled to some rights, legal academic Macarena Montes Franceschini wrote in the Journal of Animal Ethics. In 2018, a Colombia court also granted legal personhood status to part of the Amazon rainforest in a landmark decision that urged the government to put an end to the region’s deforestation crisis.
I’m happy that they’ve hit upon a strategy to control the hippo crisis without wholesale hippo slaughter. And it certainly makes more sense than the United States’ near-death experience with importing these boat-eating behemoths. From Wired:
Hippos imported from Africa and raised in the bayous of Louisiana, proponents argued, would provide a delicious new source of protein for a meat-hungry nation. In the process, the animals would gobble up the invasive water hyacinth that was killing fish and choking off waterways. It would be an epic win-win. A bill was introduced in Congress, and newspaper editorials extolled the culinary virtues of “lake cow bacon.”
Lake Cow Bacon is my favorite Moby Grape bootleg.
To quote the immortal Anna Russell, I’m not making this up, you know.