Leg Tags - precautinary principle

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Leg Tags - precautinary principle
From: "michael norris" <>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2008 17:33:02 +1000
The precautionary principle as in the UN Rio Declaration etc. is:

Where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack 
of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing 
measures to prevent environmental degradation.

In that light, a study using banding would, if the risks are carefully 
considered, fully accord with the precautionary principle.

Of course there are many versions of the PP (see ) of which one - the 
Prohibitory PP aligns with Ian's stance.  This states:

Activities that present an uncertain potential for significant harm should be 
prohibited unless the proponent of the activity shows that it presents no 
appreciable risk of harm

Of course - assuming that version is accepted - it has to be reasonably 
established that the potential harm is significant before the burden of proof 
shifts, which means there has to be prior debate about what "reasonable", 
"significant" and "appreciable" mean in the context.

Personally I don't favour that version of the PP because it makes it difficult 
to balance the potential gains against the risks, especially when the 
intervention intends (as presumably in this banding study) to benefit the 
species that might be harmed.

And it would also have stopped those marvellous doctors shown on TV recently 
(and others) who have experimented on themselves to test vaccines etc.

Michael Norris

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