Caller "Ross" on yesterday's Feral Talkback (ABC 666 every second Wednesday at 10.05am) complained about a story last Monday in the Canberra Times by Nyssa Skilton. Ross didn't like our CRC's commercial links; the fact that three photos of a stuffed cat were used by the Canberra Times but only acknowledged as a stuffed animal once but mainly that leghold traps had been used by ACT Environment Rangers to remove feral cats from the Mulligan's Flat Woodlands Sanctuary. I think there were a total of eight cats inhabiting the 450ha enclosed sanctuary.
We had just started a competition for a listener to name a feral animal product to match the marketing skills of our New Zealand cousins in selling "Kiwi Bear" (possum) into Malaysia, so I was surprised that the first caller was upset about cat control and our CRC. Here's how Media Monitors heard it:
This is an accurate account - I was a bit stunned. We do support leg-hold trapping of cats using soft-jaw traps (as part of a management program, which it obviously was in this case); we don't employ people to soothe animal welfare concerns (I sit on two government working groups on animal welfare and our CRC has a policy not to undertake research where the welfare outcome can be predicted to be worse than currently available methods); and we don't hide our commercial members of the CRC - they are all appear on our website.
Actually the codes of practice work the CRC supported has reduced some options for animal control and was short-listed for the Eureka Voiceless prize a few years back. I'm happy to talk to people with very different views on animals, having given 90 minutes of presentation at last year's Minding Animals Conference.
Ross' view was passionate, as were some of the views of others callers who responded with the opposite view. I reckon cats are probably one of the most emotionally-charged feral species and often raise passions. Celebrity vet, Dr. Harry Cooper was recently quoted objecting to the name "curiosity" for a cat bait in development by several environment Departments in Australia.
We know that 7 out of 10 Australians rate them in their "worst five" ferals: judge The Canberra Times story for yourself.
By the way, "Mud Marlin" was the winning idea from caller Bill. A new way of making carp attractive?
Posted by Tony Peacock, founder of 'Feral Thoughts'