American academic alarmed
by Ben Hope
Dr Marc Bekoff, an American professor of ecology, is alarmed at New Zealand school children in schools being taught to hate wild animals and even practise cruelty to them.
He blamed government policy as the catalyst saying the cruelty teachings were all part of the country’s war on wildlife, with government goal being to get rid of all predators by 2050.
I’m incredulous that something like this actually occurs, he said.
Killing possums at Drury School
Recently young possum joeys were taken from their mother’s pouch and drowned in a bucket of water during an annual fundraising hunt for a South Auckland school.
Hundreds of adult possums were killed during the event raising money for Drury School with a witness telling the newspaper at least one teenage girl – not a student of the school – was allegedly involved in the drowning of the baby possums.
Dr Bekoff’s criticism received support from a number of New Zealanders experienced in wildlife.
SPCA and hunters incensed
According to reports the practice has drawn the ire of the SPCA, which criticised the slaughter as being inhumane.
But Drury School said in a statement the annual possum hunt was organised by Friends of Drury School, a parent-run organisation. Drury School denied any young children were “involved in the removal or disposal of the joeys“.
Laurie Collins convenor of the Sporting Hunters’ Outdoor Trust said the incident merely reflected the wild animal hatred policies of government.
Government is responsible for the belief that wild animals have o be killed. Youngsters are being taught a violent attitude towards wild life.
Laurie Collins has had a lifetime of experience in the mountains and as a teenager started work with the NZ Forest Service the predecessor to the present Department of Conservation.
Youngsters are being taught they don’t have to share the world with anything. If there’s something in the way kill it. The blame for this appalling indoctrination of kids lies with government and its departments.
Demonising deer and possums
Outdoors author Tony Orman said he was not totally surprised by the report and he shared Dr Bekoff’s deep concern.
He said over 40 years ago his own daughters were told at a primary school that deer were evil and should be killed as they were defoliating the forests.
That anti-deer dogma that’s been around for decades, is factually incorrect. Millions of moa browsed New Zealand’s vegetation and bush for over 50 million years. Deer and possums are browsers.
The 1930 government-run “The Deer Menace Conference” probably gave rise to the “myth of pests and wild animal hatred.”
Professor Bekoff on NZ radio
Information filtering through from New Zealand, motivated Professor Bekoff to publicly take issue with New Zealand youngsters being encouraged to adopt bad attitudes to animals.
Professor Bekoff also did an interview with New Zealand’s “Safe and Sound” radio about how wrong it is to teach children to harm and to kill other animals.
I was incredulous when I heard and saw what was happening in New Zealand and how killing contests are chalked up as fun and how they become family affairs.
I find it very disconcerting when one considers a phenomenon called “the link,” which highlights the relationship between violence toward animals and violence toward humans.
Authorities don’t care about cruelty to animals
Tony Orman said government and bureaucracy seemed not to care about animal cruelty. While recently it tightened laws around cruelty to farm animals, wild animals were not included in the new law.
It’s double standards. Wild animals feel pain just the same as domestic stock, he said.
Laurie Collins said New Zealand’s widespread use of slow-to-kill poisons such as 1080 and brodifacoum, both used by government agencies, typified official attitude to wild animals.
1080 and brodifacoum take up to 2 days and 21 days respectively to inflict a slow, agonising death on animals.
There’s a sick anti-wild animal phobia and it’s frightening impressionable young minds are being indoctrinated with it, he said.
Tony Orman said the “pest dogma” as espoused by government ministers such as Environment Minister Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry showed a complete ignorance of ecology, food chains and equilibrium between species and what actually happens in predator-prey relationships.
Their widespread use of 1080 results within three years or so of a massive population explosion of rats to three times original numbers.
Stoats prey on the rats then also climb massively in numbers. It’s all there in Landcare Research but Smith and Barry are so hell-bent on their demented dogma they charge on causing ecological mayhem,” he said and added. At the same time wasting millions of public money.