Wonder Pets Episode 7, vii – Tuck v. The FDA
So when I was a kid the only pet we were aloud to have – apart from critters we found across the street in the local swamp – were these tiny little turtles:
I had a whole series of this little gaffers, when one died, you’d bury him under the shrub in the front yard and buy another at the local pet shop for a quarter (check 5142 Blondin in the West Island; if you dig up the garden you’ll find the remnants of these guys along with a goldfish I buried in an Aspirin bottle.)
I loved these turtles. I kept them in a large blue plastic tub that was used for washing babies (last resident: me) along with some grass, sand and a large rock for them to sun on.
Then one day the turtles vanished. I could never figure out why pet shops stopped carrying them.
UNTIL TODAY… The Times reports that the FDA banned small pet turtles in 1975 because of the risk of salmonellosis it caused to small children (I’m sure Health Canada followed suit around the same time). Seems the turtles fit comfortably into children’s mouths and young ones had a difficult time not loving them to such extremes.
(Ok, I loved my turtles, but I never played tonsil hockey with them… that stuff was right out!)
Now a bill is being introduced to allow tiny turtles back into the pet eco-system.