Re: birding-aus Ornithological Racism

To: Harry Clarke <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Ornithological Racism
From: Laurence and Leanne Knight <>
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 23:11:14 +1000
Harry Clarke wrote:
> Is dislike of sparrows, starlings and mynas an example of speciest racism?
> Is a House sparrow less worthy of survival opportunity in Australia than a
> Kookaburra? Why? Are those who disapprove of such species the Pauline
> Hansons of the ornithological world? Where are the ornithological
> multiculturalists? Are we more approving of greenfinches and goldfinches
> (than of starlings or blackbirds) because of their colour?
> Should we allow human migrants into Australia only if they agree to breed
> more slowly than original resident Australians (=aboriginees) and if they
> promise not to occupy niche habitats in Toorak or Double Bay? If removed
> from their terrorist 'predators' they should be required to promise not to
> devour us, steal our partners or top VCE or HSC exams?
> Yeah, I don't like House sparrows as much as Kookaburras but I still do not
> have the conviction to destroy blackbird nests that occur in profusion in
> my backyard. Nor will I prick their eggs.  I am a confused
> internationalist. My confusion is somewhat related to the following quote
> from James Kohen's book on aboriginees and the Australian environment.
> "When we talk about conservation of the Australian environment, what are we
> really talking about? Do we mean conserving the environment as it was in
> 1788 - an environment which was created as the result of interaction with
> Aboriginal people - or do we mean conserving the environment as it develops
> in the absence of regular, routine, low-intensity burning; or do we mean
> conserving it in the absence of the dingo; or in the absence of foxes or
> feral cats; or in the absence of the rabbit, the goat, the pig, the camel
> and the donkey; or do we mean conserving it without any human impact
> whatsoever - by excluding people altogether from National Parks?" (Kohen
> (1995, p. 128)).
> I dunno.
> Harry Clarke

So Harry, would you welcome zebra mussels, cane toads, prickly pears and
the other things which destroy our endemic biodiversity?  [these are the
equivalent of landing hordes of rampaging Mongols/Huns/Vikings in your

Managing the Australian environment is a complicated business, but
ferals are low lives as far as I am concerned and don't qualify for
Australian citizenship.  The interesting thing about we humans is the
damage we cause by translocating species - the wonders of tourism and
free trade etc.

Just remember, the Aborigines didn't translocate hundreds of species to
Australia every year the way we are.

Regards, Laurie.
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