A deadly pesticide banned for use in the United States likely killed four pets and a possum in recent weeks in Kissimmee, FL, according to the Osceola County Animal Services and the Orlando Sentinel.
The bodies of the cats and the possum were found within feet of a bowl filled with rice and beans outside an undisclosed home on the street. Tests conducted last week at Michigan State University showed the bowl’s contents had deadly levels of a pesticide currently banned for sale in the U.S.
The latest deaths follow an unusually high number of animal cruelty cases this year in Florida, and some say around the country.
Animal Control already was investigating five criminal cases of animal abuse before the food bowl poisonings. That’s more cases than typically are reported in an entire year there. Animal Control officers are trying to find the source of the pesticide.
Sold illegally in the U.S. as “Tres Pasitos,” the pesticide is smuggled from Latin American countries where it used to kill roaches, mice and rats.
Union Carbide was the sole manufacturer of aldicarb until 1987. Its plant in Bhopal, India, was making aldicarb when a pesticide called methyl isocyanate leaked, killing several thousand people in 1984.
Aldicarb already has been banned in Europe, although it is still used, and perhaps manufactured, in other countries.
Under the new agreement, Bayer, currently the sole U.S. manufacturer, said its distribution will end by 2017. Use on citrus and potatoes will be banned beginning in 2012, and all remaining uses will end in 2018. In the meantime, new requirements will go into effect to change labeling and to protect ground water near cotton, soybean and peanut farms.
The dead animals will undergo necropsies (animal autopsies) at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.