AGRICULTURE

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:

MAJOR RATITE BANKRUPTCY IN FLORIDA
The collapse of the ratite speculation boom pre-
dicted in the January/February ANIMAL PEOPLE cover fea-
ture may have begun with the mid-January bankruptcy of U.S.
Ostrich and Junction Financial Corporation, of Hallandale,
Florida. The related firms claimed assets of $933,000, includ-
ing ostriches bought for $381,000, while owing $3.9 million to
1,350 investors in 47 states, Canada, and Jamaica. One
investor reportedly lost $274,000. The Securities Exchange
Corporation responded by suing U.S. Ostrich and Junction
Financial principals Marcia Josowitz and Stephen Tashman for
allegedly selling more than $3 million in unregistered securities
in the form of investment contracts, billed as general partner-
ships. The SEC also charged Josowitz and Tashman with
draining corporate funds to make loans to themselves and pay
themselves inflated salaries. Josowitz and Tashman apparently
got into ostriches after promoting a 900 telephone number ser-
vice, office supplies, vacation travel, and water purifiers.

Tashman in 1988 pleaded no contest to SEC fraud charges for
allegedly selling bogus oil and gas well securities. He has been
named in cease-and-desist orders for selling unregistered secu-
rities in New Mexico, Kansas, Texas, Massachusetts,
Florida, and Alabama. Both Tashman and Josowitz now face
state prosecutions for the ostrich scam in Wisconsin, Hawaii,
Oregon, Kansas, and both Dakotas.
The USDA announced January 11 that it has fin-
ished genetic maps of cattle and hogs, which permit identifi-
cation of the gene groups that govern fertility, disease resis-
tance, and various qualities desired by meat customers. Over
the next decade the USDA will try to pinpoint specific genes
that can be manipulated to produce the most economically
valuable combinations of traits.
Mangrove Action Project founder Alfredo Quarto
and cartoonist Sam Nugent of Port Angeles, Washington,
have produced a comic book describing the ecological damage
done by prawn farming, already distributed to 3,000 fishing
families in coastal Thailand. Logging mangrove trees to make
room for prawn ponds destroys whole wetlands ecosystems,
destroyng the ponds too in just a few years.
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