In the early years of the last century, the U.S. Congress considered a bold and ingenious plan that would simultaneously solve two pressing problems — a national meat shortage and a growing ecological crisis. The plan was this: hippopotamus ranching.
Hippos imported from Africa and raised in the bayous of Louisiana, proponents argued, would provide a delicious new source of protein for a meat-hungry nation. In the process, the animals would gobble up the invasive water hyacinth that was killing fish and choking off waterways. It would be an epic win-win. A bill was introduced in Congress, and newspaper editorials extolled the culinary virtues of "lake cow bacon."