Dutch govt orders culling of 10,000 mink to prevent spread of coronavirus

Dutch govt orders culling of 10,000 mink to prevent spread of coronavirus

In May, WHO had identified possible animal-to-human transmission of Covid-19 from the Dutch mink to their farmers. This was the first instance of such a transmission.

 7 June, 2020 7:56 pm IST
A mink | Photo: Jens Schlueter| DDP/AFP/Getty Images via Bloomberg
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New Delhi: Mink farms in the Netherlands have commenced a government-ordered culling of around 10,000 mink across the country over concerns that the animals infected with coronavirus could transmit the infection to humans, reports The Guardian.

According to the Netherlands Food & Wares Authority, mink infected with Covid-19 have been found on 10 Dutch farms. The authority’s spokesperson Frederique Hermie said, “All mink breeding farms where there is an infection will be cleared, and farms, where there are no infections, won’t be.”

The initial infection was reported in two farms near the city of Eindhoven, where the disease was discovered in April among mink that are bred for their valuable fur.

Dutch Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten said two workers likely contracted Covid-19 on a mink farm while stressing that the risk of further spread of the coronavirus from the mink to humans remains low.

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The culling of mink involves farmworkers in protective gear using gas on mink. The bodies of the mink will be sent to the disposal plant after which the farms will be disinfected.

Rights groups call for end to mink fur trade

Animal rights groups opposed to mink fur trade said the outbreak is another reason to close all farms.

“We are calling for the 24 countries around the world that still allow mink farming to very rapidly evaluate the situation and evidence coming out of the Netherlands,” said Claire Bass, executive director of the Humane Society International.

China, Denmark and Poland are the largest mink fur producers across the world. According to the Dutch Federation of Pelt Farmers, there are 140 mink farms in the Netherlands, exporting $146 million worth of fur every year.

In 2013, the Dutch Parliament had ordered the closure of all mink farms by 2024. Slovenia and Serbia have also passed legislation to ban all fur farming in the country. Countries like Norway and the UK have already banned mink farming for fur. The state of California in the US has banned the sale and manufacture of all fur products.

Also read: How coronavirus, bird flu and rumours to stay off non-veg hit poultry industry hard in India

Other animals culled due to Covid fears

The Dutch mink are not the only animals to have been eliminated due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meat processing plants and hatcheries, across the world, have been forced to kill birds due to shut down and lack of business.

ThePrint had earlier reported that Covid-related rumours had led to a huge loss to poultry businesses, which forced farmers to kill their birds or abandon them.

Due to the dip in business, poultry farmers have been finding it difficult to sustain their existing stock with the rising fodder and other maintenance-related costs.

Several other animals have also been reportedly infected by Covid-19. On 4 June, a dog was reportedly infected with coronavirus in the US. The disease has also been spotted in tigers, lions and cats. Also, early reports of animal-to-human transmission in China in February had led to cats and dogs being abandoned in Wuhan.

Cranbrook Continues Pointless Deer Killing

There is a maxim often falsely attributed to Albert Einstein: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Yet, that describes the lethal deer management of the City of Cranbrook, British Columbia. At a meeting in the fall of 2019, Council reviewed a report on its Urban Deer Population Management Program. In it was an accounting of the number of both mule deer and white-tailed deer killed on its behalf between 2011 and 2019. According to the report, the culling was done to address citizen complaints about deer. Not counting 2015, when vandals damaged the traps, stopping the culling of deer early; or 2013, when the cull “ended early due to loss of butcher services,” it went from 24 deer killed in 2015, to 50 deer in 2018. The last cull “…lasted two weeks due to permit delays, trap vandalism, and extremely cold weather that reduced deer activity.”

The killing, done by live-trapping the deer, holding them down, and driving a metal bolt into their brains, did not stop the complaints as there were more in 2019 than any year previous (see previous explanation for example). However, it does upset compassionate citizens who don’t like to see the deer killed. Desperation has, presumably, motivated some to free the captured deer from certain death. Other communities in that part of the province and elsewhere are trying methods that actually reduce complaints, but not Cranbrook. The city keeps doing the same thing over and over, while apparently expecting different results.

The data the city collected showed that complaints stayed essentially the same, even went up. There were 35 complains in 2016, 15 in 2017, 23 in 2019 and 38 in 2019.There were also surveys done to try to get a rough sense of how many deer of the two species are in town. What follows is the total number for each year, with the number that were mule deer in brackets and the remaining number being white-tails: November 2010: 101 (96); March 2012: 121 (74); November 2012: 96 (57); November 2013: 120 (80); December 2014: 104 (?1); November 2015: 137 (116); November 2016: 142 (120); December 2018: 98 (67). The cost of the killing worked out to $650.00 per animal.

The survey numbers (unlike kill numbers or complaint numbers, both accurate) should be considered to be estimates of numbers of deer in town during surveys. One does not have to be a trained biostatistician to see that there is no downward trend in numbers of deer counted. On the other hand, there is a downward trend is in overall numbers of mule deer in the forests of B.C., which concerns hunters and conservationists alike.

Male mule deer in rut (breeding condition) and females protecting fawns can actually be aggressive toward humans, and, most especially, toward dogs. Twenty eight of the 40 complaints listed in the city’s data involved hostile encounters between deer and residents. Thirty-two of the complaints could not identify which species of deer were of concern. Seven complaints identified mule deer as the problem and one a white-tailed deer. Each species of deer behaves differently with white-tails being quite timid. Nonetheless, the Council asked for and received an amended cull permit which allowed for equal killing of white-tailed and mule deer, 35 of each species. Despite this request, only eight deer ultimately lost their lives, five white-tailed and three mule deer.

Deer belong in British Columbia as much as do people. Short of driving their numbers down to endangered status there will always be encounters with people. But, if instead of endlessly killing them and endlessly hearing complaints about them, why not work to reduce the number of deer and the number of complaints by educating the public about garden planting that does not attract deer, providing incentives for fencing, enacting and enforcing leash laws, and taking other actions that actually work?

Keep Wildlife in the Wild,

Conservationists criticize Quebec plan to protect caribou by killing wolves

Morgan Lowrie , The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 11, 2019 12:01PM EST
  • caribou A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images

  • WolvesA female wolf, left, and male wolf roam the tundra near The Meadowbank Gold Mine located in the Nunavut Territory of Canada on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

  • caribou A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images

  • WolvesA female wolf, left, and male wolf roam the tundra near The Meadowbank Gold Mine located in the Nunavut Territory of Canada on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

MONTREAL – A Quebec government plan to kill wolves that get too close to an endangered woodland caribou herd is raising concern among environmentalists, who accuse the government of sidestepping the true problem of habitat loss.

The plan by the Department of Forest, Wildlife and Parks involves placing tracking collars on both the caribou and members of local wolf packs to monitor distances between them.

If a wolf were to threaten the herd, trained shooters in helicopters could be sent in to kill the wolf in a “targeted intervention,” according to Francis Forcier, who is the general manager for strategic mandates at the department.

Forcier said the measures could be necessary in order to reverse the decline of the Charlevoix herd north of Quebec City, whoe numbers have fallen to an estimated 31 animals from 59 two years ago. He stressed that the plan remains hypothetical and is intended as a stopgap while the province addresses the greater problem of habitat restoration.

“What we’ve started to do, given this drastic fall of nearly 50 per cent in two years, is to look at measures that are stronger but temporary, because the principal element we have to do is restore the habitat,” he said in a phone interview.

Forcier said no wolves have yet been shot, and they will be left alone as long as they don’t threaten the herd. Overall, he believes no more than a dozen wolves will need to be killed.

The plan has drawn criticism from both environmentalists and members of the public. A petition denouncing the plan to shoot the wolves currently had amassed more than 9,000 signatures by Wednesday.

Rachel Plotkin, a caribou expert who works with the David Suzuki Foundation, says predator control is a popular management practice employed by provinces “that don’t have the political will to do the habitat restoration and protection that is needed to recover caribou populations.”

She said that while wolves are indeed killing caribou, that’s because of human activity that has destroyed the old-growth forests that protect them.

“Predator control is just a band-aid measure that further degrades ecosystems,” she said. “Predators and their prey have co-evolved for thousands of years, and they’re not the reason the caribou is declining.”

Plotkin notes that the federal government’s caribou management plan found that caribou herds need a minimum of 65 per cent of their range left undisturbed if they’re to have any reasonable chance of survival. The Charlevoix herd’s habitat has only 20 per cent.

Both environmentalists and the government agree that habitat preservation is crucial to the survival of the caribou, which are especially sensitive to human interference and depend on thick, old-growth forests to shield them from predators and provide the lichen they eat.

Those same old-growth forests are prized by the forestry industry, and Forcier acknowledged that finding a balance between economic growth and conservation is a challenge. But he said the government is limiting development on important lands and will take even stronger action in a caribou restoration plan to be unveiled in 2022.

Henri Jacob, the head of environmental advocacy group Action Boreale, feels the provincial government’s actions show it has no intention of helping caribou. He points out that the promised action plan will only be implemented at the end of the current government’s mandate.

“In other words, for their whole mandate they’ll do nothing to protect the caribou,” he said.

He also criticized the province’s decision, announced this week, to remove protection for some 460 square kilometres of woods in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, which had been previously designated protected caribou habitat.

Forcier said the decision was made mostly because no caribou had been seen in the area in several years, but Jacob doesn’t buy that. He says that it’s normal for caribou to leave an area for a few years after grazing there, to allow the lichen and moss to grow back.

Jacob is also critical of the government’s plan to kill wolves, noting they can actually help keep herds healthier by eliminating sicker, weaker animals.

He said that while predator management can sometimes be part of a temporary preservation strategy, it serves no purpose if it is not paired with serious effort to preserve habitat.

“When you want to make a cake, if you only put in flour, you won’t have a cake,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec 11, 2019

Brian May: Queen won’t play Glastonbury without badger cull apology

Guitarist rules out 50th anniversary headline slot because of rift with festival founder

 Queen guitarist Brian May called badger culling a ‘tragedy and unnecessary crime’ against UK’s wildlife.
 Queen guitarist Brian May called badger culling a ‘tragedy and unnecessary crime’ against UK’s wildlife. Photograph: Ken McKay/ITV/ReX/Shutterstock

Brian May has said Queen will not play Glastonbury next year after clashing with the festival’s founder over the controversial badger cull.

The 72-year-old guitarist and animal rights campaigner rubbished claims that his band had been booked to headline Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary event next year.

Founder Michael Eavis, 84, who is also a dairy farmer, has called May a “danger to farming” and criticised him for his opposition to the badger cull, which is aimed at preventing the spread of bovine TB.

Last year, Eavis’s support for the cull prompted the Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan to call on music fans to boycott Glastonbury.

Speaking on BBC Radio 2 on Friday, May said Queen, who are touring with American Idol’s Adam Lambert providing the vocals, would not perform at Glastonbury in 2020 unless “things changed radically”.

“No, we won’t [perform], and there are lots of reasons for that. One is that Michael Eavis has frequently insulted me and I don’t really particularly enjoy that,” he said.

“What bothers me more is that he is in favour of the badger cull, which I regard as a tragedy and unnecessary crime against wildlife.

May is also the co-founder of the Save Me animal welfare organisation, which campaigns against fox hunting and badger culling.

He started the body in 2010 alongside the environmental campaigner Anne Brummer, and named it after Queen’s 1980 hit.

May appeared on Zoe Ball’s show alongside the singer-songwriter James Blunt and Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas. Blunt did not say whether he would perform at Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary.

He said: “I’m off on my tour from February around the UK. I will be doing some summer festivals. Glastonbury has always been my favourite gig to play. I’ve played on the Pyramid Stage a couple of times and it’s an amazing place, absolutely.”

Diana Ross, who made her name in The Supremes, has already been announced as the performer for next year’s Sunday afternoon Legends slot, which last year was filled by Kylie Minogue.

Representatives of Glastonbury have been contacted for comment.

Timber Corporations Can Keep Killing Bears, Judge Rules

OLYMPIA, Wash. (CN) – Washington state’s rules allowing corporate timberlands to use traps, bait and dogs to kill bears are legal, a judge ruled Friday, even though voters banned those exact methods decades ago.

In the early spring, black bears emerge from hibernation, ravenous. Most of the plants they eat are still in their own winter sleep. At that time of year, the sap of young trees is one of the most nutritious foods available. They strip the bark and feast.

But those meals cause millions in damage, according to Washington’s commercial tree farmers. So the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lets landowners hire hunters to kill bears on their property. And the permits the department issues specifically allow hunters to use methods voters banned 20 years ago based on their cruelty.

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the department over that apparent discrepancy in May 2018, claiming the policy had killed an estimated 2,000 bears and orphaned numerous bear cubs.

Attorney Claire Loebs Davis argued on behalf of the center at a hearing on Friday.

“This case is not about a dispute over wildlife policy,” Loebs Davis said. “It’s about whether state agencies must stay within the law. You may think the indiscriminate killing of bears is cruel. But we are not attempting to legislate through litigation. Here, legislating was done by the voters, the chief sovereigns of the state. The agency believes voters made a mistake and that it can elevate its judgment above theirs. They are allowing trapping, baiting and hunting by private owners just as if the voters had never spoken at all.”

Loebs Davis also said the department ignored its own science and the opinions of the experts it employs and didn’t even consider whether future tree damage would actually be prevented by killing bears randomly caught in traps – arguments the department’s attorney appeared to concede at Friday’s hearing.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy questioned Assistant Attorney General Amy Dona about Loebs Davis’ claim.

“Is there some documentation in the record that shows we considered this, we waived these things, this is a higher priority than this other thing?” Judge Murphy asked.

“Insofar as counsel is saying the agency did not consider the impact of the removal of a certain number of bears, the agency did not think about that,” Dona said. “They were thinking about issuing permits.”

“What about the effectiveness of this rule?” Murphy asked.

“That was not the central consideration,” Dona said. “They were not engaging in substantive review of the program at that stage, they were thinking, ‘what will we need to have in place for people to get permits?’ They said we know there will be issues but we are going to brainstorm and think about those further down the road.”

Loebs Davis said leaving out such critical information rendered the rule “arbitrary and capricious” – basically, that it was made on the basis of a random whim.

“The law does not say that the rule can be arbitrary and capricious as long as you do the real work later,” Loebs Davis said. “It doesn’t say you can ignore the science and review it at a later time and it does not provide an exception when an agency says it would just be too difficult for us to go through the normal rule making process.”

But Judge Murphy ruled that the policy can continue.

“After reviewing the entire record, there may be additional input that would have been helpful, including data and opinions, but that is not the test in this court,” Murphy said in her ruling from the bench. “The court does not determine the best policy or reweigh the interests. The court considered whether the rules complied with and did not go beyond the agency’s statutory authority. They did not.”

‘Euthanized’ Not the Right Word for Killings of Geese in Salisbury


‘Euthanized’ not the right word for killings of geese in Salisbury: Letter


Last week, 362 Canada geese were euthanized, by request of the city of Salisbury to manage “an excessive population.” Kelly Powers, Salisbury Daily Times

Re: “Hundreds of geese euthanized in Salisbury, meat goes to local shelters,” July 8, 2019.

I object to use of the term “euthanize” in this coverage of the cruel roundup, transport and gassing to death of the Canada geese.

This government-industry term is a euphemism designed to disguise great suffering inflicted on defenseless creatures.

“Euthanasia” is a Greek term meaning “a good death.” It means a death that is merciful, peaceful, compassionate and humane — the opposite of being attacked, shoved into transport crates and delivered to a slaughterhouse and exposed to the slow, terrifying experience of suffocation.

Inhalation of carbon dioxide is painful and distressing to birds because they, like humans, have chemical receptors that are acutely sensitive to carbon dioxide.

There are reams of studies demonstrating the panicked effort of birds to escape chambers filled with carbon dioxide, which simultaneously burns and freezes their lungs. This gas is used in mass-exterminations of birds because it is cheap.

The fact that CO2 is “approved” by the American Veterinary Medical Association defies the well-documented fact that CO2 in inhumane.

The roundup of the geese in Salisbury is sickening to contemplate. It shows a failure of compassion and civility toward birds we should cherish rather than banish from our world.

Karen Davis is president of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit that seeks to promote the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. She is a resident of Machipongo, Virginia.


Letter by UPC President Karen Davis published July 12, 2019 on Delmarva

– Karen Davis, President, United Poultry Concerns



Hundreds of geese euthanized in Salisbury, meat goes to food shelters

Last week, 362 Canada geese were euthanized, by request of the city of Salisbury to manage “an excessive population.” Kelly Powers, Salisbury Daily Times


Some leave constellations of droppings along the river, others down fairways, while others are watched happily as they graze.

But hundreds fewer geese are going to be seen waddling around Salisbury for the time being.

Kevin Sullivan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services confirmed his team humanely euthanized 362 resident Canada geese two weeks ago, brought in by request of the city of Salisbury to manage “an excessive population.”

“The city of Salisbury reached out to USDA Wildlife Services to see how they might manage an over-population of Canada geese throughout the city, leaving droppings and over-grazing, habitat damage (and) polluting waters,” said Sullivan, director for Maryland, Delaware and Washington D.C.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources conducts an annual waterfowl survey, and the estimated Canada goose population decreased by about 61% from 2018 to 2019 — resting at about 250,200 state-wide as of February estimates.

No estimates from Salisbury could be provided.

Salisbury has worked with the USDA on goose population control for about 13 to 14 years, Sullivan said, but he believes this is the first time the city has turned to this method.

Mayor Jake Day did not comment on the specifics of the decision, nor has any official comment been provided on behalf of the the city’s Field Operations Department, the point of contact with Wildlife Services according to Sullivan.

The method used recently involved a large roundup of the birds, in multiple locations around the city, according to Sullivan.

“With some nets and panels, we surround the geese; we capture them; we put them in poultry crates and transport them to a waterfowl processor,” Sullivan said. “Then the meat is processed and given to food shelters.”

However, the Maryland Food Bank’s Eastern Shore branch as well as the Salvation Army’s local branch said they did not receive the processed meat.

Sullivan said the geese are euthanized in a humane method in line with American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines — euthanized with a carbon dioxide mixture.

The USDA consults with many communities on nonlethal tactics of handling goose populations, many of which Salisbury has routinely used in the past to combat the issue.

Israel arrests man over Golan Heights mass vulture poisoning

Poisoned vultures on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (10/05/19)Image copyrightISRAEL NATURE AND PARKS AUTHORITY
Image captionIsraeli officials say the deaths have devastated the vulture population

Police in Israel have arrested a man suspected of poisoning nearly half of the rare vulture population in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The suspect, in his 30s, was detained in the Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangariyye, police said.

Eight out of 20 griffon vultures remaining in the area were found dead on Friday morning

The incident was a major blow to efforts to save the population, which has sharply declined in recent years.

In a statement shared on social media on Sunday (in Hebrew), police did not give further details about the suspect or his alleged motive but said the investigation into the incident was continuing.

Local media reports stated that the suspect was accused of spreading poison over the carcass of a cow to kill predators.

He was said to be unaware that vultures might consume it.

A fox and two jackals were also found dead, while two sick vultures were taken to a wildlife clinic for treatment, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) said.

Vets treating the sick vultures told Haaretz newspaper that there had been a “substantial improvement” in one of the birds, and that it may soon be released back into the wild.

Officials in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights have been trying to increase the vulture count there amid a dramatic decline in the population over the past 20 years.

Their numbers have reportedly dropped from 130 in 1998 to around 20 prior to the latest deaths.

Many have been poisoned, allegedly by local farmers whose herds are threatened by predators, Israeli news website Walla says.

The killing on Friday of so many birds was a “mortal blow” to the population, INPA Director Shaul Goldstein told AFP news agency.

Golan Heights map

INPA said it was even worse that the poisoning happened during nesting season, meaning eggs now might not hatch and chicks might not survive.

The authority said it would do everything possible to find out who was responsible and bring them to justice.

Most of the Syrian Golan Heights has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war. In March, the US became the first country to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the area since Israel effectively annexed it in 1981.


Magpie hunter Kim Jin-hwa takes aim at magpies perched on a utility pole with his air rifle Wednesday in Gongju, South Chungcheong. Since 2000, Korea’s largest utility company has been rewarding people for catching magpies, which are thought to be responsible for 20 to 30 power outages every year. [KIM SUNG-TAE]

GONGJU, South Chungcheong – On a quiet Wednesday morning in the city of Gongju, South Chungcheong, Kim Jin-hwa drove his SUV to a field near his house.

Taking an air rifle out of his car, Kim walked up to a utility pole where three magpies were roosting. After carefully taking aim, Kim pulled the trigger and one of the birds dropped to the ground.

By 11 a.m., Kim had over 50 dead magpies in his car.

Kim shot over 2,400 magpies in just two months this winter, culling the birds as they began building their nests.

He’s not hunting for sport, however. After every hunt, Kim takes the black-and-white birds to the Gongju office of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), where he receives 6,000 won ($5.30) for each magpie shot.

“I’ve made 10 million won every winter for about 15 years by hunting magpie,” said Kim. For the rest of the year, Kim is a small business owner.

Kepco, Korea’s main utility company, began rewarding magpie hunters in 2000 in an attempt to tackle bird-related power outages. Kepco asks hunting associations to recommend expert huntsman, who are then granted appropriate gun licenses and access to firearms stored at police stations to shoot and kill the birds.

Although they have traditionally been a symbol of good luck in Korea, Kepco and domestic bird experts singled out magpies as the species of bird most responsible for electrical outages.

Magpies like to build their nests on treetops to avoid snakes and other predators, but overpopulation has pushed growing numbers to make their home on top of utility poles.

The problem is that their nesting materials, which can include things like fragments of metal wire, can short electric circuits and cause power failures.

“If there’s a short circuit it’ll activate a protective device and cause a power failure,” said an official from Kepco’s Gongju office. “Electrical accidents can result in huge damages even in a short time period.”

Magpies can be very hard to catch, however, as they are one of the most intelligent bird species.

“Magpies have the intelligence of a four or five-year old child,” said Cho Sam-rae, a bird expert and honorary professor of biology at Kongju National University. “They remember the outfits of people who have tried to harm them and try to avoid them later on.”

Kim agreed that catching magpie is a tricky business.

“It’s not easy to catch the birds because they can identify the people that carry guns from their behavior,” Kim explained.

Hunting accidents do occur as well. In October 2017, a hunter in Incheon, Gyeonggi misfired and shot the window of a bus. No one was injured.

Despite Kepco’s best efforts to control the magpie population, some experts are skeptical of the effectiveness of the solution.

While the number of magpie hunters has grown in the past few years, bird-related power outages have not declined at a corresponding speed.

There were 510 magpie hunters in 2017, significantly more than the 338 in 2014, but the number of bird-related outages since 2013 has remained unchanged at around 20 to 30 accidents every year.

Last July, Liberty Korea Party Rep. Kim Jung-hoon revealed Kepco had spent 8.795 billion won rewarding hunters for catching 2.151 million birds between 2008 and 2017 based on data he acquired from the company. Kim called for alternative solutions to the outage issue, suggesting stronger power lines and drone monitoring.

Animal rights activists have also argued killing birds does not solve the fundamental problem and that utility officials should find ways for people and wildlife to coexist.

For now, Kepco believes the hunt must go on.

“If we stop hunting magpies for just a year, they’ll overpopulate and electrical accidents will increase as well,” explained an official from the company. “We have no option but to have people hunt.”

BY KIM BANG-HYUN, KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]

Bob Katter’s $2m plan for children to use rifles to hunt cane toads

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Katter’s plan to reduce cane toad numbers

Queensland MP Bob Katter wants children to become cane toad bounty hunters, armed with low-powered air rifles in the hunt for pocket money.

Under Mr Katter’s $2 million plan, young people would collect 40 cents for every toad they kill in a bid to save the environment from the introduced pest.

“It’ll give a bit of fun for our kids and a bit of pocket money for them as well,” the crossbench MP told reporters in Townsville on Thursday.

Bob Katter cane toad hunting children planUnder a $2 million plan, Queensland MP Bob Katter wants children armed with low-powered air rifles to hunt cane toads in a bid to save the environment. (9NEWS)

Asked whether it was appropriate for children to be using air rifles, Mr Katter stressed the weapons would be low power before breaking out in laughter.

“Some of my friends have tried to hurt people but that’s not going to happen – they’re pretty harmless,” he said.

He believes his solution will teach young people the value of earning money by improving the environment.

Asked whether it was appropriate for children to be wielding potential weapons, Mr Katter claimed the rifles are 'pretty harmless'.Asked whether it was appropriate for children to be wielding potential weapons, Mr Katter claimed the rifles are ‘pretty harmless’. (Getty Images)

“Up close it’s just squeeze the trigger – end of story,” Mr Katter said.


“That’s simple instead of running around with golf clubs and spades, plastic bags and suffocating and pouring stuff on them – it’s just not working.”

Mr Katter has significantly upped the ante on Pauline Hanson’s call for a 10c toad bounty, a day after the One Nation leader revealed her three-month plan to punish pests.

Mr Katter's calls come days after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson called for a 10c cane toad bounty, also urging children to help reduce the numbers of the pest.Mr Katter’s calls come days after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson called for a 10c cane toad bounty, also urging children to help reduce the numbers of the pest. (9NEWS)

“All those people out there, ‘Work for the Dole’ doing absolutely nothing, or even kids on holidays, put down the iPads, get out there, collect the cane toads, take them to your local council, put them in the freezer, get rid of them and clean up our environment,” she told the TODAY Show this week.

But the Queensland politicians’ competing cash-for-cane-toad schemes could struggle to get off the ground with state and federal governments unlikely to hop on board.

Experts have also expressed their doubts over the plans. Professor Rob Capon from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience told 9News a bounty on toads was simply “not practical”.

Cane toads have had huge impacts on native animals, particularly in Queensland, after being introduced from Hawaii in 1935 in a failed bid to eradicate beetles.Cane toads have had huge impacts on native animals, particularly in Queensland, after being introduced from Hawaii in 1935 in a failed bid to eradicate beetles. (ACT Parks and Conservation Service)

“From an ecological point of view it’s unlikely to have an impact on the cane toad population. On a practical level there are all manner of problems,” he said.

Cane toads have had a huge impact on native animals since being introduced from Hawaii in 1935 in a failed bid to eradicate beetles infesting sugar cane and spreading across most of northern Australia.




The National Park Sevice and other agencies want to remove as many goats as possible from Olympic National Park and relocate them to the North Cascades. Under the plan, the remaining animals would be shot to eradicate them from the park.