Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Toad Kill In Australia

Australians hate toads. Well, not just any toad. And probably not all Australians. But at least one Australian has an intense dislike for one poisonous cane toad. So intense is the hatred for this creature that he, Shane Knuth, an Australian lawmaker, has proposed that there be a special day for the residents of Australia to go out, hunt down and kill the little bastards. (I'm guessing that the "Australian lawmaker" is basically the same as a US Senator. Of course, the lawmakers in the US can't worry about things like poisonous cane toads because they're too busy self expanding the scope of their job to include holding hearings on steroid use in Major League Baseball, a very un-lawmaking topic. But I digress.)

Mr. Knuth believes that, "The toad is probably the greatest environmental vermin and probably the most disgusting creature known to man." Wow. "Most disgusting creature known to man." (Judging from the picture below, I can't say I totally disagree with the mate. That's a BFT (Big Fat Toad) if I've ever seen one and it does appear to be quite disgusting.) He clearly has strong feelings about this and that's probably why he has campaigned against the toads for quite some time (Last year he wanted to have a bounty of 36 cents per toad. Interesting.) and it's exactly why he has proposed that the designated day to kill all the poisonous cane toads one can find be called "Toad Day Out". (Apparently, "Whack-A-Toad" was taken. But that doesn't explain why they're not calling it "Toad Kill".) If you're thinking that the "day out" part makes it sound like some sort of an excursion or safari one might embark upon with others, you'd be thinking right along the same lines as Mr. Knuth is because he is envisioning "a special day that Queenslanders, especially children, could all play their part."
poisonous cane toad

Ah, yes. The days of one's youth. Time spent outdoors with family and friends, picnicking under majestic oaks, splashing ducks in the pond, and frolicking about the meadows in search of poisonous cane toads to find and kill on this special, special day. WTF?! I can only assume there are no child labor laws in Australia that would ban children from participating in the BFT Massacre Extravaganza, but I'm kind of thinking maybe there should be. This guy worries me. (Next thing you know, he'll be issuing the kids field helmets and baseball bats just to pique their interest.)

Since proposed laws (or Amphibious Hunt and Exterminate Days) need support from others in order to be enacted, I'm sure that Mr. Knuth is extremely happy to know that he has the support of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (Yes, there is definitely a wee bit of irony that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals people are in favor of The Great Toad Kill of 2008. But it gets better.) Now, he doesn't have unconditional support. No, see, they'll support him and his idea, "but only if the creatures are killed in a humane way, such as euthanizing them in a freezer." OK, wait. Wait! STOP! STOP!! WTF?!

poisonous cane toad

What in the hell is going on down there in Australia anyway? Euthanizing them in a freezer? Exactly HOW is one supposed to do that?! I had envisioned a bunch of Aussies stalking these toads in the marsh with butterfly nets or something. But I'm not envisioning that now. No, now I'm envisioning a bunch of Aussies carrying around (what I would assume to be rather bulky) Frigidaires and attempting to lure the toads inside so that they can slam the door on 'em (a la Venus Flytrap) and proceed with the making of the Toad-sicles (a la Otter Pops)! Seriously! Look at how BIG these things are! He is suggesting that people catch them and put them in their freezer atop the frozen pizza and next to the Haagen Dazs?! Hell no! What are they thinking? There has to be a reason for this.

poisonous cane toad

And there is. Michael Beatty, the spokesman for the Society for the Endorsement of Freezing Poisonous Toads, explained by saying, "Obviously we're not idiots. We understand a lot people will be highly reluctant to fill their fridges and freezers with dying cane toads, but at the moment that is the only humane way that we can recommend." Um, I don't know that I can agree with the first part of this statement because it's really FAR from obvious to me at this point that you're not idiots. I'm thinking that freezing a bunch of toads sounds extremely idiotic. I will go along with the school of thought that people will "be reluctant" to freeze cane toads in the comfort of their own home and freezer. ("Be reluctant" is putting it mildly, by the way. But I don't know that he would have given himself much credibility if he had said, "We know there is no way in freaking hell people are going to do this.") I also don't know that I can go along with "it's the only humane way" and that's mainly because "slowly freezing to death" sounds very inhumane! Besides, how would you know that they're dead? What if they're just frozen and they can thaw out and be just like they were before they were frozen? It works with water! What if it's the same with toads? (I realize that some scientists are starting to believe that water and toads are different, but you know what I mean.)

Of course, the Department of Primary Industries had to speak up and say that if they're going to do this," it was important that native frogs are not mistaken for toads during any hunt." (Why does "toad hunt" fall under the jurisdiction of "Primary Industries"?) And how are they proposing that happen? Hand out "Frog v. Toad" field identification guides? Make the native frogs wear little orange vests?

I guess that the beginning of this amphibious nightmare for the Aussies started in 1935 when the toads were actually imported, on purpose, from South America into Queensland, Australia, in what was apparently a failed attempt to control the beetles on the sugar cane plantations. So now they still have beetles they don't want and they also have toads that they don't want either. (I'd really like to know why that little plan didn't work. I'm thinking, if you're going to haul a bunch of toads thousands of miles, you'd better be sure that they're going to do what you want them to do. It's not like you can return them! There's not a receipt!) But, 1935? So, for 73 years they've had these toads there that they don't want and that they (seemingly) hate and they're just now getting around to doing something about it? And when they do, they think that freezing the toads is the best way to go? No wonder they've got problems.

Stumble Upon Toolbar Sphere: Related Content

No comments: