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TAS Country : August 19th 2010
12 Tasmanian Country Friday, August 20, 2010 Let's hear from you Send your opinion to Tasmanian Country, 93 Macquarie St, Hobart, Tasmania or e-mail tas.country @ dbl.newsltd .com.au Emailed letters should have Letter to Editor' as their subject. Long letters may be condensed unless they are marked use in full or not at all''. Your Say email@example.com Authorised by Tim Morris MP, Shop 9 Covehill Rd, Bridgewater 7030 Tim Morris MP Member for Lyons Delivering a Commonsense Approach for Lyons Shop 9 Covehill Rd, Bridgewater (03) 6263 3801 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tas.greens.org.au Back our food bowl PREMIER David Bartlett enthusiastically pro- motes Tasmania as the nation's food bowl, while Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke was quick to ac- knowledge our unique biosecurity advantages in relation to food pro- duction at the recent TFGA conference in Launceston. With food security set to become an emerging worldwide problem, now is the time to protect and promote Tasmania's far- mers, invest in agricul- tural research and devel- opment, and further capitalise on the state's existing reputation for quality produce. Our future fortunes won't grow on tree plan- tations or woodchips but they can, and should, grow on our orchards, vineyards, dairy, meat and fishing industries. ANNE LAYTON- BENNETT Swan Bay 7252 Wildlife plague defies solution CONTROVERSIAL: A wallaby with a joey on King Island. Picture: CHRIS KIDD We have lost respect for our beautiful native fauna and our children now also see them as vermin and something to avoid on the roads. How was it allowed to get this bad? When an imbalance occurs in nature, for example a locust or mouse plague, the build-up is dramatic and action is usually rapid to try and rectify the over abundance. In Tasmania, the imbalance from native browsers has developed over a considerable time. Those most impac- ted by high wildlife numbers are located close to plantations or native vegetation. Agriculture pasture species have been bred to survive prolonged graz- ing, but most native vegetation cannot sustain this constant severe browsing. There is a lot of evidence on King Island to indicate that some of the native vegetation species are losing the battle to survive, not from over clear- ing, but over browsing. The problem with wildlife puritans is the hypocrisy when it comes to animal welfare and suffering. How an animal dies under a ''control measure'' and its ''potential to suffer'' has to be gauged against how it normally dies in the wild. On King Island, dying in the wild means dying of old age and ultimately the end is always the same. They starve to death. This is a process that could take days or weeks. Perhaps on mainland Tasmania, other predators may speed up the process but, on King Island, the only predators in numbers are ravens, and taking the eyes out before they die probably doesn't reduce suffering that much. Becoming road kill would be a better option and about 10,000 a year take that route. The only palliative care available is the farmer, who may recognise a suffering animal. But he no longer carries a gun because he is too worried he might forget to take it out of the ute before he goes to town. Much debate has been made about lethal and non-lethal control. Those advocating non-lethal seem to think fencing isn't only an economical ans- wer but also non-lethal. This is not so. Separating wallabies through fenc- ing from their primary and preferred food source is a method of lethal control and certainly not humane, as it relies, again, on starvation, to reduce the numbers, once the edible vegetation within the bush is exhausted. Unfortunately, this method leads to decimation of the native vegetation, because, not only are emerging seed- lings eaten but saplings and more mature plants are often ring-barked. On King Island, where fencing has been undertaken, the wallabies deci- mate the adjoining native vegetation --- many places are totally denuded of understorey and are headed for a monoculture, rather than the biodiver- sity of habitat that should be. The 1080 debate regarding forestry is also of concern. I'm not involved in that sector, but an ad hoc political decision, based not on science or evidence, to leave it to an over abundance of wildlife to choose what species regenerate and what Tasmania's imbalance of native browsers has developed over consider- able time, so those most impacted by high wildlife numbers are located close to plantations or native vegetation. There is a lot of evidence on King Island to indicate that some of the native vegetation species here are losing the battle to survive, not from over clearing but over browsing. It appears those with the apparent knowledge and experience within the forestry industry, as well as the Game Management Unit and DPIW, are inept or have been politically gagged, when it comes to the issue of 1080. Those with any experience know the evidence of suffering has only surfaced since excessive dilution of the organic plant compound from which it was derived. But who would dare to speak up and say we are not using enough? I have been involved in several land care projects on the island, and was a foundation member of the King Island Natural Resource Management Group. During this time the group has been actively encouraging and engaging with land owners to fence off and protect their riparian areas and rem- nant native vegetation, including shel- ter belts on their properties. We were very successful and ran a devolved grant program to facilitate the process. Several hundred thousand dollars were spent on removing dom- estic stock from native vegetation. Our concerns about the browsing damage were conveyed to the funding bodies 10 years ago. We indicated that unless the brows- ing damage from wallabies and pos- sums could be addressed, much of this money would fail to achieve long-term benefits. How right we were. Some of us were encouraged to place covenants on our native vegetation by the travelling salesmen of the Private Forests Reserve Program and given the assurance that there would be no impediment to managing the wildlife living in these reserves. Signing an agreement that states that you will obey the law of the land, in good faith, when the other party (the Government) has the power to change the law, and does, is not a fair deal. The changes to the law were to ban 1080 and to ban land conversion on the Bass Strait islands, thus preventing the conversion of even non-threatened communities. Because of the Govern- ment's policies, it is now the browsers that are threatening the ''threatened vegetation (and human) communities.'' How do we go forward instead of in circles? We talk about being a food bowl for other nations. On the island, we are limited by legislation as to the ability to expand though conversion. On the other side, we have a severe primary impediment from wildlife browsing brought about by legislation. The recent study done for the 1080 Alternative Program indicated up to $28 million per year in lost production here --- more than our current GDP. We are all waiting on the final report and its suggestions. King Island relies on its image as a quality food producer and the tourist industry hangs off that clean unspoilt look. But reality does catch up on our lack of ability to control the numbers. Yes, we have lost respect for our beautiful native fauna and our children now also see them as vermin and something to avoid on the roads. How was it allowed to get this bad? GREG MORRIS Currie, King Island 2006081-100820 MAJOR TASMANIAN AUCTION ANTIQUES WANTED **INTERSTATE BUYERS ATTENDING** FREE APPRAISALS In the coming weeks Philip Gowans will be in * HUON VALLEY * DERWENT VALLEY * TASMAN PENINSULA * MIDLANDS PHONE NOW FOR A FREE APPRAISAL IN YOUR HOME ENQUIRIES: 62781600 37 MAIN RD, MOONAH www.gowansauctions.com.au
August 12th 2010
August 26th 2010