Daily Show investigates 2-headed trout

A photo that emerged last winter of a 2-headed trout poisoned by phosphate mining near a Snake River tributary drew the attention of the N.Y. Times, Gizmodo and other major media outlets.

Naturally, the Daily Show sent ace reporter Aasif Mandvi to investigate.

J.R. Simplot Co., which operates the Smoky Canyon Mine in eastern Idaho to make fertilizer, was not amused.

Again, props to Marv Hoyt of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition for blowing the whistle on the agribusiness giant poisoning our streams with selenium.

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Posted under Entertainment, Environment, Humor, Media

14 Comments so far

  1. jd June 17, 2012 12:21 pm

    That would have been really funny if it wasnt so sad and disgusting. FYI next time your enjoying some yummy McDonald’s fries remember who Simplots biggest customer is.

  2. D June 18, 2012 8:57 am

    Two headed trout happen naturally. Just like humans and all other animals, some are born with defects and illnesses. The difference is they die quickly and are rarely seen. I would be more concerned if they had a pool full of two headed trout.

    I am not defending Simplot they definitely have the government in Idaho bought and paid for, but this doesn’t really worry me. They do a lot of other stuff that worries me more.

  3. Brad June 18, 2012 9:53 pm

    As usual, the Daily show bit was hilarious, but D brings up a valid point. Since this was first publicized a few months ago, the only real evidence seems to be a photo of only one. Simplot has to have been dumping selenium for years. Not that it’s ok, deformed fish births should have started long ago, right?

  4. Tater June 19, 2012 8:22 am

    Wasn’t the fish in the picture raised in a lab in a tank with high Selenium content water? I’m no fan of polluting our rivers or streams, but come on lets get the facts strait people.

  5. js June 19, 2012 8:44 am

    This is from my original post on the poisoning:

    To clarify, the two-headed trout was hatched in a laboratory as part of Simplot research, the offspring of fish poisoned by selenium in the creeks, GYC’s Hoyt said in an interview. Such a deformed fish would be difficult to collect and likely wouldn’t survive long in the wild.

    Deformities number in the hundreds or thousands, Hoyt said. Four or five batches of eggs were so contaminated that no fish hatched, he said.

    The fact is, if Simplot is letting enough selenium run off into these creeks to kill fish eggs or cause such deformities, it probably isn’t good for other species — or us, either.

  6. D June 19, 2012 9:02 am

    What is the “natural” rate of deformities VS this rate? Is the pool an accurate representative of the rivers and lake we are talking about, or much higher levels? These questions and a few more need to be answered before forming a rational opinion.

  7. dv June 19, 2012 9:35 pm

    Read the whole report and the results overwhelming show lower egg production, decreased adult fish length, and horrible short term survival rates for sacfry. Essentially all fish that are to spawn in an area with selenium concentrations that were present at several of the sites are doomed to horrible survival rates for the sacfry.

    furthermore, their sampling sites were averaged in the report conclusions, and these averages were downplayed by the inclusion of sites that were well downstream of the point sources.

  8. Chad June 19, 2012 10:55 pm

    How do we know that even more selenium wont correct the problem and make everything better with the fishes? Lets get our facts together on this before forming any more irrational thoughts.

  9. Rob Weinstein June 20, 2012 10:15 am

    It’s important to keep things in context…lab raised, natural rate versus w/chemicals, etc.

    But I’m surprised at how difficult it is for some people to grasp the concept of CHEMICALS IN WATER = BAD.

  10. D June 20, 2012 12:49 pm

    Not that simple Rob

    Selenium salts are toxic in large amounts, but trace amounts are necessary for cellular function in many organisms, including all animals. Selenium is a component of the antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase (which indirectly reduce certain oxidized molecules in animals and some plants). It is also found in three deiodinase enzymes, which convert one thyroid hormone to another. Selenium requirements in plants differ by species, with some plants requiring relatively large amounts, and others apparently requiring none.[3]

  11. jd June 20, 2012 1:50 pm

    hey D why dont you go take a big drink that water? You sound like you work for old JR Simplot. We have been fed a steady diet of horseshit by polluters for too long. My rational opinion is if the company says its ok, IT’S NOT OK.

  12. elsie June 21, 2012 7:41 am

    So jd, we should close Simplot down, put all those people out of work, deny the farmers in Idaho the ability to grow the largest crop possible from the least number of acres. Force up the price of food, and revert this country to a completely agrarian society, dependant on the whims of nature. Get real!!!! Hold Simplots feet to the fire and make them keep selenium levels within established limits. But let’s be honest about what those limits are. Let’s base it on true science and not some agenda driven pseudoscience BS.

  13. ps June 22, 2012 4:20 pm

    I guess some of you may not remember or have heard about the livestock kill near Soda Springs a couple of years ago. A whole much of horses and sheep died because they had drank water out of a creek that drained out of one of the mines spoil piles. Cause of death was from selenium poisoning. Maybe you didn’t hear about it because they didn’t want you to know.

    Ya, let them decide what levels of selenium they should be allowing to dump into our streams, it is for our best interest! Not.

  14. jd June 29, 2012 4:22 pm

    hey elsie, did i say shut down Simplot? That’s the false choice industry gives us. Let us pollute or we will shut down and you will lose your job. And Im sorry but dumping any amount of posion, and make no mistake selenium is a posion, into our waterways is not acceptabe. Also remember Simplot wants to dump MORE than they are doing now. Corp. greed drives pseudoscience, not concerned citizens.

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