Rabbit moralities?

To: "Nigel Sterpin" <>, "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Rabbit moralities?
From: "Philip A Veerman" <>
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 11:08:59 +1100
Nigel Sterpin forwarded a useful message about Rabbit calicivirus. This
contained the following quote:
"On examination of those rabbits RCD was isolated.  It appears that RCD is a
disease that normally occurs in the wild rabbit populations of Europe and
other countries and every so often causes high moralities."
Although typing errors and similar are often funny, the suggestion that
rabbits suffer "moralities" as a method of population explosion was a
beauty! I think that would be a new one for Hugh Hefner.
-----Original Message-----
From: Nigel Sterpin <>
To: Birding-Aus <>
Date: Thursday, 29 October 1998 19:02
Subject: Fw: Introduced species viruses

>Hello all. I received this response to my email from the Australian
>Endangered Species website.
>> From: INVASIVE <>
>> To: Nigel Sterpin <>
>> Subject: Re: Introduced species viruses
>> Date: Tuesday, October 27, 1998 11:37
>>      Dear Nigel
>>      I refer to your email of 19 October 1998 concerning the use of
>>      to wipe out introduced species.  I regret the delay in replying
>>      however we seem to be having problems forwarding this reply.
>>      The Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) was not manufactured to assist
>>      the control of European rabbits.  RCD came to the attention of
>>      Australia when large numbers of rabbits started dying in some
>>      countries.  It was first reported in China in 1984 and soon
>>      after in other countries in Asia, Europe and in Mexico.  The disease
>>      was thought to be spread by humans trading in domestic rabbits.  In
>>      only a few months it killed 64 million farmed rabbits in Italy alone
>>      and quickly passed from domestic rabbits into wild rabbit
>>      causing high mortality.
>>      These reports alerted scientist to a potentially new biological
>>      control for wild rabbits in Australian and New Zealand.  The virus
>>      taken into quarantine at the CSIRO Australian Animals Health
>>      Laboratory in Geelong for comprehensive testing over three years
>>      June 1991.  These tests, along with previous results from overseas,
>>      confirmed that RCD is very specific to the European rabbit.  It does
>>      not produce the disease in Australian native animals, domestic
>>      animals, hares or even the American Cottontail rabbit.  Any species
>>      tested has not caught the disease.
>>      To manufacture or develop a virus from scratch to meet a specific
>>      requirement, such as to kill another species, while not impossible,
>>      would be very expensive.  This is due to the many other issues that
>>      would need to be resolved before you could be 100% satisfied that
>>      the target species was going to be affected and that the chances of
>>      the virus changing its structure to allow it to attack other species
>>      could not occur.  You would also need to ensure that it could not
>>      escape and cause damage to species overseas where they are not a
>>      Work is however being undertaken to look at the immune system of
>>      species and to see if this can be used back against themselves.
>>      Depending on what is discovered it may be possible to then use a
>>      as a carrier, infect the pest with the virus which would then
>>      the immune component to attack the pest species.  That could be the
>>      pest reproductive system which would make it sterile or some other
>>      important bodily component, but the same degree of testing has to be
>>      done to ensure its safety to other species.
>>      I hope this information answers your queries.
>>      Kind Regards
>>      Robert Moore
>> ______________________________ Reply Separator
>> Subject: Introduced species viruses
>> Author:  "Nigel Sterpin" <> at Internet
>> Date:    19/10/98 8:01 PM
>> Have you explored the use of developing viruses to wipe out introduced
>> species (like calici? virus for rabbits)?
>> email: 

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