PANDORA'S BOX (Con't)

Chapter 9. The W.H.O. Conference
Monday, July 30th, 2029
Terry knew before he entered the W.H.O. conference that his views on growth hormones and steroids use by meat and poultry producers would not be a popular one. His views on reproductive drug retention and escalated promulgation in off-spring were still only theories, but his research to date had suggested that this was in fact occurring in 45% of his test subjects. Much more research and study needed to be done, and on a larger scale. His hope was to recommend a total ban to the World Health Organization until a larger and more comprehensive study could be completed.

He knew that this would take many years if not decades before a result could be definitive and that would not be popular with the world meat producers. He had circulated his paper on this subject to the forty-five member countries and twelve other research scientists who would be attending this conference and hoped for their support, however he knew he was sticking his neck out on this one.

The conference started with the usual welcome address by the chairperson and then she began by outlining several member countries concerns over shortfalls in meat production caused by a variety of reasons. Last years outbreak of BSA had severely crippled the beef markets, sheep and lamb production was down, poultry had severely increased in cost and decreased in availability due to the Asian bird flu. A motion was put forward that growth hormones and even steroids in stock feed now be accepted as a means to rapidly replenish the dwindling herds and flocks before the problem became irreversible worldwide. Terry's paper on the cumulative effect on the generative cycles of his test subjects was submitted in objection, however only two other scientists at the meeting agreed with his findings. The general consensus was that his tests were inconclusive and could not be accepted without more reliable testing over a larger number of test subjects over a wider area. Because of the serious shortages in the industry it was agreed that the W.H.O. would not recommend member countries place restrictions on the use of growth hormones and steroids in meat and poultry stocks. The W.H.O. however did recommend increased research on the accumulative effects and any possible side effects in consumers of treated products.

The outcome was as Terry had feared and he was very uneasy about the W.H.O. not recommending a total ban on the use of growth hormones and steroids in consumable meat and poultry products. He knew his research was on the right track and although his research was not yet conclusive he had a very uneasy feeling that time would prove there would be serious consequences to wide spread use of these drugs in cattle and poultry.

He would be proven right but no one could have foreseen the strange twisted events that were about to unfold.

One more lid on Pandora's box had been opened.

Chapter 10. Up Close and Personal
Tuesday, July 31st, 2029
Julia, Mark and Inspector Coulomb arrived outside the abandoned warehouse at 1:30 p.m., dressed like a riot squad in a Keystone Kops movie. They wore old French WWII helmets with the high ridge running down the center and fixed with face shields. The vests were heavy canvas with steel plates in pockets, front and back, with high canvas collars. Julia brought them each nylon panty hose that they wrapped around their necks to protect the frontal open area. It was extremely hot and cumbersome in the outfits and the 30 degree Celsius temperature made the experience very uncomfortable. The inspector had found pairs of night vision goggles, which he gave to both of them. It was dark inside the boarded up warehouse and Mark figured that the night vision goggles would be less disturbing than using flashlights. Julia had brought a bait bucket and fishing net. If the creatures were in the warehouse they would try to isolate and capture one.

They approached the warehouse door, slowly and cautiously, listening for any sounds, which would indicate the presence of the creatures inside. The inspector, after fumbling for the right key, slowly opened the front double doors and Mark and Julia slipped inside. Julia stopped to adjust to the ghostly green view through her goggles, while Mark continued on ahead a few paces. The floor was covered in a thick blanket of dust from years of being empty. There was rat feces and bird droppings mixed with the dust. The warehouse had once been the storage area for a farm implement company that had gone bankrupt several years earlier. The equipment had long since been sold or auctioned and all that remained was a few spare parts of the equipment.

It was deathly quiet as they moved cautiously around some tractor tires that lay scattered on the floor, too quiet thought Mark, there should be the sound of birds chirping or rats scurrying out of their way, but, nothing. As they rounded a pillar in the middle of the warehouse, Mark suddenly stumbled over something soft, and yet, unmoving. As he glanced down, he saw why there were no rats scurrying around or birds flitting back and forth. They were there on the floor of the warehouse, or what was left of them, and they were scattered around for several feet. Bird and rat carcasses and in the center of the gory mess was a dead cat. Mark thrust out his arm to stop Julia from walking into the mess. "Julia, I can see now why they attacked the towns people," pointing to the mess on the floor, " They ran out of food here." Julia could feel the nausea welling up in her stomach and grasped the bait bucket she was carrying a little tighter. "Mark, we've got to find these creatures soon, before they breed again."