Pop quiz, kids: When was the last agricultural bioterrorist attack?
Agricultural bioterrorism is the term used for a terrorist attack against the nation’s food supplies by purposefully unleashing a pathogen or pest that ruins crops or makes livestock sick.
It’s never happened. In spite of that, it was reported in 2002 that the United States was vulnerable to agricultural bioterrorism, and so the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002 was passed. Now, in 2008, the Select Agent Program and Biosafety Improvement Act of 2008 has been introduced, to heighten protections against agricultural bioterrorism by amending the 2002 legislation…
… although still, no agricultural bioterrorist attack has ever taken place, and there doesn’t appear to be any plan for any such attack.
The new proposed law claims that there are 72 “select agents” and toxins that could be used in an agricultural bioterrorist attack, and prescribes increased controls over those substances. However, the law also notes that 13 out of these 72 already are “found naturally in the United States”.
It isn’t noted what those naturally occuring toxins or “select agents” found naturally in the United States are. Could they include the chickory growing along the road or the acorns dropping from our oats? Could they include extract of white tailed deer antlers or refined mosquito wings?
You’d better be careful about what souvenirs you bring home from your next hike. You could be endangering Homeland Security without even knowing about it, you agricultural bioterrorist, you.