|To:||"John A. Gamblin" <>, <>|
|Subject:||For the love of Luther|
|From:||"Scott O'Keeffe" <>|
|Date:||Wed, 5 Nov 2003 13:15:18 +1000|
... and Farley McBarley says that NASA rigged a studio to stage the moon landings. And residents of the Maryborough area claim parks and wildlife are taking dingos off Fraser Island and putting them on the mainland. Etc Etc. Where's the proof for these statements? Any person can say anything they like. Just because its in the news or on a web site or repeated by many doesnt make it true. Of course it doesnt make it false either. But the claims made by most critics (and I include myself here as a former opponent of 1080) just do not stand up to scrutiny. I've investigated claims of the type you describe before (yes, with the assistance of a biochemist), and they inevitably turn out to be heresay, gossip, or based on complete ignorance. We should keep investigating them. We should always be vigilant and careful. But an accusation or an unsubstantiated claim is not evidence. Poisonings of dogs, I might add are often the result of strychnine. If a baiting program is advertised widely, and the exact date that the bait will be laid is advertised, the malicious will take advantage of this and use a program as cover to poison local roaming, barking or otherwise annoying domestic pets. Other poisonings of dogs in protected areas occur where irresponsible pet owners let their animals roam. But of course because there is an animal death involved and the owners are "greiving", we mustnt upset them by pointing out where responsibilty lies.
With all the ruckus about 1080, where is your alternative? Its still the only viable broadscale chemical tool we have for managing destructive exotic vertebrates. Will the opponents of 1080, like yourself, take the responsibility for the disappearance of native fauna where control programmes cease? Will they be out there with humane traps catching the 65% of the fox population that needs to be removed to get a decline in fox over time? I doubt it. Its very easy to snipe from the sideline. Another thing to take some responsibility. Write out lists of demands for others to fulfil, then criticise then when conservation efforts are ineffective, expensive or otherwise not living up to community expectations. At least the RSPCA are putting their money where their mouth is. They are putting money into finding affordable alternatives to 1080. As is the organisation I work for. Until we've found the alternative, are the critics going to take on the responsibility of ensuring that quolls and the rest dont go the way of the thylacine and so many others? It just sooo easy to whinge. Much more difficult to put the effort into constructive activity. People like myself have taken on a very unpleasant job on behalf of the community- a community that expects wildlife to be protected from exotic animals. Unfortunately it involves killing. Not nice, and I don't like it. A dirty job, but it needs doing, since the alternative is too grim to contemplate. Have a look at how many of Australia's mammals and birds are vulnerable to predators like foxes and cats, then tell me we should just drop everything. Maybe the Wellington Regional Council did not do an adequate job of involving the local community in its pest management. I couldnt say as I'm not very familiar with their work. But here is another example. At Bundaberg in Queensland, the local community support the local council and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife service in their fox baiting programme at Mon Repos turtle rookery. People there are right behind the programme, which was designed with community participation. The result is a huge reduction in predation on turtle eggs and hatchlings from something over 90% to something under 20%. Over time, the huge losses from foxes could have been critical for turtles. A while back a dog was poisoned. But the owner came in to Parks, and alerted them, and apologised for the fact that he had ignored advice to keep dogs in and away from the treatment area. He wanted to assure the Parks people that he took full responsibility for the incident. In other words it was his fault. Not the fault of 1080, or the government, or anyone or anything else. This is a community taking responsiblity for its environment and its actions. There are more of these examples, and they should carry more weight that the plethora of unsubstantiated claims that are made as a result of the spread of rumour and misinformation by the ill-informed. These people have the potential to do great harm.
Once again, 1080 is one tool, but it is a very important one. So I will continue to use it responsibly, with extreme care, and as part of a broader approach that incorporates prevention and better land management practices. And I'll use it with better knowledge and care than its critics generally display when they irresponsibly throw their hands up in horror and advocate that we abandon our fauna to Show us a workable alternative. I'll be the first to line up and start using it. Until then, give some support and encouragement to those that are working to protect our fauna. They need community support to keep working safely and effectively. And a little gratitude rather than carping wouldnt go astray.
Scott O'Keeffe... my final word on this. Time to give someone else a go.
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