1080 for Tasmania

Jeremy Rockliff (Picture: Tasmanian Liberals)

Jeremy Rockliff (Picture: Tasmanian Liberals)

In a move which has alarmed conservationists and animal welfare groups, Tasmania’s state government has indicated it would lift the ban on the use of 1080 poison as a control method for browsing animals on agricultural land.

During 2006 and in response to growing public concern about the lingering deaths suffered by animals from 1080 poisoning, the previous state Labor government established the The Alternatives to 1080 Program. It was jointly funded by both federal and state governments and was designed to identify and research alternative strategies to control browsing wildlife from damaging private forest and agricultural land.

Details of a Strategic Plan were released in the Program’s 2011 report, whose purpose was to both understand the significance of wildlife browsing damage, and investigate a wide range of alternatives that had short to medium-term potential as ‘viable and competitive alternatives’ to the use of 1080 poison.

A result was the development of the Browsing Animal Management Program, a project that for the last three years has successfully delivered practical, cost-efficient and more humane alternatives to 1080, according to the Tasmanian Conservation Trust’s director, Peter McGlone. Continue reading 1080 for Tasmania

Letter to the Editor: hunting in national parks

Dear Sir,

I wrote the email below about a month ago in response to your article in the Veterinarian, thinking, ever so stupidly that it might just go away …. and so never sent it on!

As you can see by these links my worst fears are coming to light…

Dear Sir,

I could not believe that anyone who calls themselves a veterinarian could support the hunting of animals in any form or shape. Hunting is a sport where the intention is to kill. Before their eventual death animals affected by hunting endure varying and unpredictable levels of fear, pain and suffering, no matter how careful, accurate or proficient the hunter. This is not my opinion – it is a fact.

This is a considerably different issue if we were talking about professional killers – however, even then the opportunities for welfare issues are still enormous, as the kangaroo industry has demonstrated for years.

As far as I can see there can be no situation where hunting by amateurs anywhere, will not result in fear, pain and suffering in the animals that are targeted, whether they be noxious pests, feral menaces or accidental victims of a trigger happy hunter “having a blast of a weekend”.  The Parks personnel would agree – that is why they are striking and rallying against such stupid legislation.

Whilst I know there are some hunters out there who really do appreciate wildlife and are passionate about removing feral animals from natural environments (as am I) in general the hoi polloi who own guns and want to go hunting are not that responsible. Remember this is the same group of people lobbying to have 12-year-old children running around our parks with bows and arrows and hunting knives.

Clearly the President of the AVA’s Conservation Group is merely playing politics. It’s nice to be seen as the “voice of reason” and it makes you appear to be sound and thoughtful. I have been a veterinarian for over 27 years, and have also looked after thousands of wildlife in that period. I have seen the pain and suffering that mankind inflicts on wildlife (both native and introduced) just through carrying out their normal activities (e.g. driving along the road in cars and trucks fitted with penis-enhancing bull bars, tearing down the bush for housing, shooting at wildlife to “protect” their crops, netting platypus in fish traps, destroying fragile environments for coal, gold, and whatever other selfish object of their inane desire may be. I have attended a number of licensed “kills” designed to reduce the feral and the native population in various areas of the state and I can attest that those supposed hunters with years of experience that attended were some of the worst marksman that I have ever witnessed; needless to say their intended victims where shot about as inhumanely as one could imagine.

In this light I have thought long and hard and can see no benefit from allowing people to fulfil their sick urge to kill, and dress it up as being for the “good of the community”. Why not just join the armed forces and go overseas? Continue reading Letter to the Editor: hunting in national parks

Vet Ethics: Can we justify generalisations?

Following the heart-breaking death of Ayen Chol, a young child from Melbourne who was mauled by a dog widely reported to be a pit bull crossbreed, there has been both new State legislation and intensified public debate about dog breeds and breed-types.

Of late the excitement has been around the pit bull terrier or American pit bull . . . → Read More: Vet Ethics: Can we justify generalisations?

Bligh says govt acted before Hendra report

Anna Bligh.

Anna Bligh.

The Queensland Government had made significant changes to the way it handled Hendra virus outbreaks well before the ombudsman released a critical report, Premier Anna Bligh said.

Ombudsman Phil Clarke’s report highlighted inadequate communication between veterinarians and horse owners.

Clarke said systemic failures had hampered the Labor government’s response to six Hendra outbreaks between June 2006 and October 2009.

The report, released early this month, identified outdated policies and procedures, and overlapping legislation that led to inconsistent quarantine practices.

Training and resources for government agency staff, contractors and property owners were lacking.

Records of decisions made were also inadequate and there was a poor framework for compensation payments

Bligh said the report analysed how historic cases were handled, and ignored how government agencies had responded to the most recent incidents.

“They date back several years and there’s been a very significant shift in the way the matter’s being dealt with now,” she said.

“Nevertheless, when things like this happen you learn from it.”

Clarke found some Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries staff had imposed quarantines contrary to law, and were uncertain about what personal protective equipment to use and how to employ it.

The report dealt with 18 horses which died or were euthanased, two vets who died from Hendra, and a third vet who contracted the virus but recovered. Continue reading Bligh says govt acted before Hendra report