Endoparasite control strategies: Implications for biodiversity of native fauna

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1997
Authors:D. M. Spratt
Journal:International Journal for Parasitology
Date Published:Feb
Accession Number:ISI:A1997WN33300006
Keywords:anthelmintics, ANTIPARASITIC DRUG IVERMECTIN, avermectins, biological diversity, cattle dung, ecological function, ecological resilience, macrocyclic lactones, musca-vetustissima, pastureland ecology, pesticides, scarabaeine dung beetle, TREATING CATTLE

Efforts to control the spectrum of diseases that affect humans, our crops and our animals pose problems which need to be debated openly. Widespread use of chemicals in such a broad sphere raises important concerns not only about safety for the users, consumers and target species, but especially about the not so obvious effects upon the ecosystems in which they are used. Some undetermined level of biological diversity is necessary to maintain ecological function and resilience. These, in turn, are necessary for generating the biological resources (trees, fish, wildlife, crops) and ecological services (watershed protection, air cleansing, climate stabilisation, erosion control) on which economic activity and human welfare depend, The driving forces behind decline of biodiversity stem entirely from human activities. Underlying causes are those resulting from the cultural and social factors associated with economic activities and lead to direct depletion of species, and degradation or destruction of habitats. The broad spectrum and high efficacy of the macrocyclic lactones against nematode and arthropod parasites of livestock and companion animals are unprecedented. Cattle, horses, sheep, swine, dogs-to varying degrees all are utilised by humans for economic gain. Detrimental impact upon non-target animals is considered acceptable in eradicating parasites because of their economic importance to commercial livestock production. Production will increase when these parasites are eliminated, but we remain oblivious to the long-term consequences of our actions, What are the ecological limits to rural economic activities? Decomposing animal faeces help to maintain our ecosystem by returning valuable nutrients to the soil. Dung fauna-fungi, yeast, bacteria, nematodes, insects and earthworms-play a non-conspicuous but important and varied role in this decomposition process, a role dependent upon many factors, especially environmental ones, Anthelmintics and pesticides are of considerable value in agriculture, but largely at an unevaluated cost to the greater environment, We have insufficient knowledge of the extent to which a spectrum of anthelmintics and pesticides affect ecological function and ecosystem resilience in our commercial plant and animal production systems. It is time we developed a genuine interest in avoiding ''the dialogue of the deaf'' that in the past has minimised interdisciplinary research between environmental ecology and commercial plant and animal production. (C) 1997 Australian Society for Parasitology. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

URL:<Go to ISI>://A1997WN33300006
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith