re: collecting birds

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: re: collecting birds
From: "Judy Philip" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 13:58:03 +0930
Given that I posted in support of Tony Russell's original post on this matter (and supported him offline), I wish to clarify my views.
I fully support everything in Lawrie Conole's post (sorry Tony!).
Lawrie encapsulates my views (which I probably did not make clear) when he writes (inter alia) "I'm in favour of collecting birds if there are sound scientific reasons to do so, and so long as the application has been thoroughly vetted to make sure that this action will not unduly endanger a species or population; that the research question is one worth pursuing; that the research question could not be addressed in non-lethal ways, etc"  
I also endorse various words he applied to the collection of this particular bird e.g. "gratuitous", "unsupportable", "bad science" and, especially, "unnecessary".
The question of thorough vetting is what I was referring to when I asked in my original post whether SAMuseum has a bio-ethics committee.  Would the collection (let's avoid emotive words like killing) of this particular bird have been approved by an experienced bio-ethics committee?  In my experience, I doubt it.  Perhaps SAM doesn't do enough live animal research to justify having such a committee; if so, could the bio-ethics committee of The University of Adelaide be used?
My concern now is that focussing on an event which has happened (legally) and on the fact that SAOA published the event in our Journal without comment (so appearing to imply endorsement) will not achieve anything.  It could have the reverse effect.  Criticism (and, in particular, moral indignation) could mean that all that will be achieved is that the scientists involved will be put off-side and that such events will go underground i.e. will no longer be reported. 
What we should be doing is looking to the future, and trying to ensure that such an event does not recur.  Best to educate the scientists involved, and to work to have protocols put in place in *every* research institution which will ensure that such an event could not happen in future unless thoroughly vetted and approved in advance.  And if it then does happen with approval - well, however we might deplore it as individuals, there will be little or nothing we can do.   
Judy Philip
PS: I also fully endorse Peter Fuller's comments.  Yes, I would have liked to have seen the Yellow Chat at Tolderol (only about an hour's drive from Adelaide), and I note that (to quote from the SAOA Journal article) YCs may be "unusually tame" (i.e. it might even have allowed this L-/P- plate birder a view of a bird she has never seen).  And I too have wondered (perhaps fancifully) whether the YC who didn't make it might have had a friend with it, and/or might have been the advance party of a YC 'invasion' of the Adelaide region - what an exciting prospect.....
And, like Tony, I wonder what the collection of the YC might, if allowed to go unchallenged, imply in future for other vagrants to the Adelaide area - like relatively recent vagrants such as the Hudsonian Godwit (two years running), the Comb-crested Jacana, the Franklin's Gull .......
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