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102 responses to “Overflow Thread”

  1. akn

    Well, ok, here I am but not on cats.

    In reply to FN regarding my personal political journey it really started with my attachment to a national park, the one where saw the unmentionable animal, where as a yoof I spent a lot of time with a YMCA based bushwalking club. I felt safe in nature. At around the same time on the teev there was constant footage of US forces defoliating Vietnam; I and others began to make the connection between war on people and war on nature. For many of us active participation in the environment movement blended readily with active participation in the peace movement.

    The forest campaigns I mentioned on the other thread are not the limit of my political engagement in defense of non-human nature. Far from it, in fact. However, they were, as Jules noted, run on very a democratic and co-operative basis; women were present at all of them as agents, not as auxiliaries. The forest campaigns weren’t macho, as you imagine, but built on NVDA principles developed by Gene Sharp who drew on Ghandi and others. You could learn something about how to do politics by studying the Franklin campaign which was the largest campaign of civil disobedience in Australian history. And successful, too.

    FDB: sorry your cat died. As to chooks, fishes and political correctness – what makes you think that eating fish or using chooks for burley purposes doesn’t fit in with protecting non-human nature?

    Finally to GG: thanks for nominating Casey as a stalker but I’m ok. When I left Sydney it was with an AVO in place against a senior Usyd academic who was also a stalker; I put myself on the ‘silent’ electoral role as further and necessary protection which means that threats from people like Casey are empty; I can’t be found unless I want to be.

  2. paul burns

    I should buy an iron and an ironing board. Then I can get Homecare to iron my sheets. (Might stop the top sheet scrunching up at the bottom of the bed. Anybody else have this problem?) One of my carers did ask if I had an iron. I looked at him in blank stupification.

  3. Casey

    I’m not stalking you, you nong. I just reporting you to the RSPCA. They can check it out.

  4. Casey

    Also, it was a person from the cat protection society that alerted me to your comments. I imagine they are putting in a complaint as well. This has nothing to do with stalking but threats of animal cruelty.

  5. Casey

    To be clear, my alerting the RSPCA has to do with your threat to run down all outdoor cats with your car. This has nothing to do with taking steps to cull feral cats. This is something else all together.

  6. Paul Norton

    akn, most readers and commenters would agree with your characterisation of the Franklin Dam campaign, which was an outstanding example of what a democratic social movement can achieve without the use or the advocacy of violence or cruelty. Your citing of this example simply adds to the puzzlement and the consternation many of us feel at your preparedness to advocate and practice cruelty in another context.

  7. faustusnotes

    akn, I think it was me who was raising the lifestyle issues, and I really can’t understand why it remains hard for you to grasp. Owning a cat is a lifestyle choice. For you to stand in judgement of that choice, and assign yourself the right to (cruelly and hurtfully) interfere with it, you really need to show at the very least that you are not making equally destructive lifestyle choices that cat owners could demand you stop. You in fact openly refuse to change destructive lifestyle behaviors.

    Your campaigning isn’t a pass on this, and I really don’t understand why you think that having saved a rainforest in your youth you are now entitled to engage in consumer practises that destroy rainforests.

    Your politics seems to be fundamentally self-exculpatory: in the political viewpoint of akn, akn can never be doing anything wrong, and thus never has to change consumption or personal habits. Rather, all effective politics involves akn forcing other people to change their behavior (including assigning himself the right to be cruel to animals in pursuit of what is right). Thus you find yourself in the unedifying position of telling cat owners to change their environmentally destructive lifestyle from the comfort of your 4WD.

    This might be okay, if a little shallow, if it weren’t for the sneering sense of moral superiority with which you approach every issue. This was very noticeable during The Great Affair of the Feminist Rankings, but it’s even more noticeable here, where you’re claiming the moral high ground through animal cruelty.

    If environmentalism were composed entirely of this form of self-justifying moralism, the world would truly be on the slippery slope to hell. Fortunately most environmentalists are aware of the fundamental foolishness of demanding everyone else change their behavior. You should come down from your marxist ivory tower and have a look around, what you find might surprise you.

  8. akn

    FN, you’re like a dog with a meatless bone, constantly worrying it without any reward.

    Let’s just deal with the 4wd which I drive because the roads around Drastic are so bad that they shook my old , small car to pieces; I use the ute to get places I otherwise couldn’t go with any guarantee of getting back if I was driving conventional. It’s not a recreational vehicle; I’m not into driving any car as recreation; I carry camping gear, a lot of photographic equipment, food etc into fairly remote mountainous country near where I live. I don’t drive on anything other than formed roads and tracks and usually catch the train whenever I need to go into a city. It’s petrol, not diesel, for two reasons: first, used diesels can be much more expensive to repair than petrol; second, diesel exhaust is much more toxic to people than petrol. So the choice to drive a fourbie is practical and as responsible as possible under the circumstances.

    So, yes, it’s a choice to drive a fourbie rather than walk, ride a horse or use a pack donkey to go where I want. I tried the latter otion once but the bloody thing dropped dead on me a long way from anywhere which was a real nuisance.

    Now, the feral cat I saw was more than likely dumped there at 1500 metres and at least two hours drive in any direction from a village by a cat owner. A bad cat owner, to be sure, but I reckon it is up to good cat owners to police the crook ones in the interests of native wildlife and keeping the peace on blogs.

    Casey: oh shit no! First it was the NSW Special Branch, then it was ASIO and now the Cat Protection Society has opened a file on me! I’m really quite concerned because coppers were at least obliged to appear rational whereas the CPS has no such obligation. I know I’m in trouble.

  9. faustusnotes

    you don’t have to go where you want, akn. “Go where I want” is also called “lifestyle choice.” Do you see the problem here?

    And do you eat meat, eggs, fish, wheat, rice and dairy products? Use only recycled paper? Wear wool or cotton?

    These are lifestyle choices. You set yourself up in judgment of other people’s. Are you a hypocrite?

  10. Helen

    Taking camping gear into the mountains where you live is recreation. You seem to have a bad case of the oh-its-OK-when-I-do-its.

  11. FDB

    It’s okay Helen – he’s going up there to keep vigil in case wussbag lefty crybabies are feeding the cats.

  12. Liz

    I feel sorry that the donkey inconvenienced you by dropping dead. Damn inconsiderate beast. But, I guess it’s just a “bloody thing”, so you weren’t too worried.

  13. akn

    No Helen, it’s work of sorts, not just for fun.

    FN: I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 30 years; I stopped when it became apparent that (then) five yo son was ‘hunting’ protein and subsequently overeating because, after I separated from his mother she was the remaining, and not very competent, vegetarian cook. So I fed him meat. In general my spending choices (which are not ‘lifestyle’ choices [and I’m not too sure anymore what anyone means by the term]) are informed by the requirements of economy, equity and justice in no particular order. For example, I avoid Coca-Cola Amatil products because the company has a shocking history of worker exploitation and standover tactics in relation to unionists. See, ethical living depends on what you know and how much effort you put into finding out. I have two hens that provide eggs and grow as much of my f+v as possible with greater or lesser success depending on the how good the season is; I recycle water, use tank water, don’t have solar panels because I’m usually up and down with the sun. Summer is the hardest season as it is damn hot in Drastic and I often deal with the heat by camping out at an altitude that offers relief in places with deep, cold, clean mountain water to swim and store the beer.

    I looked at the CPS NSW website; they don’t spend any money at all on feral cat reduction. Humpf. Some other person’s problem apparently despite last year having an operating surplus of about 60K.

    FYI, cats are an issue for the endangered mountain pygmy possum amongst others.

    If it is any relief for you I’ll be trapping them and killing them as humanely as possible.

  14. akn

    Liz: took me half a day to bury the bastard.

  15. Salient Green

    If no one like AKN,- people who love and respect the natural world,- went into the mountains the only ones going there would be cat dumpers. There are no better recreational pursuits IMHO than getting out bush, even if it takes a fourbie to do it. One doesn’t want to see the bush we love destroyed by feral animals of which cats are the worst.
    I bought an ‘animal relocation trap’ yesterday. Wry smile at the ‘relocation’.
    With varied baits it will trap cats, foxes, hares, rabbits, rats and possums. No fear of catching a possum around here unfortunately and it would be the only animal not ‘relocated’ if one were caught.
    I remind you all that AKN handed his caught cat over to a ranger but taunt away, knock yourself out. He placed some big fat baits and is laughing at some of the bites he got.

  16. faustusnotes

    so akn, you eat meat. Which immediately removes any basis for moralizing about cats.

    Meat-eating is probably the biggest single cause of habitat loss in Australian history. As you know, it is also intimately connected with the dispossession of aboriginal people from their lands. Most industrial practices in the meat industry also leave coke for dead. In Australia, rabbits thrive in areas devoted to sheep farming, which opens up land for them to use and guarantees their spread. Anyone who eats Australian lamb or uses Australian wool is directly supporting an industry that more than any other is responsible for spreading a pernicious animal across the continent. Feral cats, incidentally, are one of the few species that control rabbit populations – rabbit populations spread by people like akn.

    FDB could have taken Stevie Nicks out to a wild area and released her, on steroids, every day for a year and the damage she did would be minimal compared to akn’s dietary choices.

    Which was exactly my point originally. We’re all in this together, we all need to make lifestyle changes together, and we all have activities that place a burden on the natural world. Jumping on one person when you haven’t eliminated the damage your own activities cause is just cheap moralizing – something at which akn excels.

  17. Liz

    Akn, you’re just illustrating who you are, by your obvious baiting.

    Killing a donkey: also hilarious.

  18. FDB

    SG – nobody has been critical of his cat control efforts*.

    You’ve missed the point.

    *It would be hypocritical for me at least – as a teenager I helped cull cats and foxes around my grandparents’ property a number of times – trapped and then gassed with car exhaust in an old water tank.

  19. Golly Gosh

    Faustusnotes,

    You’ve probably now written 10,000 words in the last couple days in which you make bold statements about things you apparently know absolutely nothing about. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think you’ve provided so much as a single reference to support your arguments.

    This paper on the Heirisson Prong experiment in Western Australia refutes your baseless assertions about the impacts of Felis silvestris catus. I can cite others if you wish.

    The black-flanked wallaby case study I cited earlier, plus many other studies, demonstrate that farming and native flora and fauna are generally not incompatible *.

    As you would be aware if you had a genuine interest in this subject matter, the best quality remnant grassland in south-east Australia is at Terrick Terrick and sheep are actually a vital management tool at that site.

    FTR, when I drive in the bush I do not stop the car or suddenly swerve to avoid contact if a rabbit, cat or fox runs out in front of me. I don’t know anyone who does, not least because it would be dangerous to do so.

    I look forward to our resident stalker sending some busybody from the Cat Protection Society out my way. Lol.

    * An obvious exception is the Tasmanian subsepcies of the Wedge Tailed Eagle, which has so far stubbornly refused to adapt to any sort of habitat disturbance.

  20. Salient Green

    Rabbits thrive where the ground is soft enough to dig a burrow or where there are dense lignums, and where there is access to water in very arid areas. I’ve seen them in forests, mallee scrub, reserves. Sheep or opening up country have little do do with it. In fact, years ago I spent two weeks on the biggest fenced sheep station in the world, Commonwealth hill and shot only two rabbits in the whole time. There were however 20,000 roos.
    The damage is done unfortunately in habitat destruction for meat production by farming but continues in the production of humans.
    Feral animals are killing native species where we are not destroying habitat and they would otherwise thrive.

  21. faustusnotes

    Wrong, Salient Green. Rabbits can achieve high density in farmland and the main rabbit-free areas in NSW are national parks.

    Meanwhile, I just read somewhere that Australia has something like 100 million sheep. Do you think that might have an effect on habitats and biodiversity?

  22. FDB

    “Feral animals are killing native species where we are not destroying habitat and they would otherwise thrive.”

    Yes of course. That’s why literally everybody participating in this entire discussion supports measures to control feral animals. Apparently the evidence is pretty thin on the ground that trapping/shooting are effective in the long run, and poison baits will kill native carnivores, so I’m not sure what the answer is beyond a species-specific biological agent as yet unknown.

    Any ideas?

  23. akn

    Liz, I didn’t kill the donkey. It died, for reasons unknown. This was in about 1976 when I had set off on a long walk on sections of what later became the national horse trail. I had to carry all my gear out which was a buggar of a job.

    FN: your claims are hot air besides the fact of my long term material frugality brought on at an early age by sheer disgust at the inhumanity of industrial production and its by product – war. I’m a market refusenik because it doesn’t appeal and never has. Other than that your arguments really are little more than red herrings to distract attention from the phenomenal damage done by feral cats to native wildlife.

    In summary: I saw a puddy-tat where it oughtn’t to be, noted my disgust here on LP and got caught up in a cross fire of irrational commentary driven by people who value cats more than native wildlife. I think the latter devaluation of wildlife is pathetic, disgraceful and downright un-Australian. All of which has hardened me to feral cats so that I’ve bought two traps and intend now to use them on my regular sojourns up the bush. I’ll keep you updated on the capture count.

  24. furious balancing

    “so akn, you eat meat. Which immediately removes any basis for moralizing about cats.”

    Are you for real? Talk about false equivalence….people have to eat, but owning cats is not exactly a neccesity and ensuring it is not killing wildlife is hardly a lot to ask, is it?

    BTW: Do you grow your own veggies FN? if not are you gathering wild plants sustainably…..i mean it really is ridiculous path to go down. What about if AKN is hunting feral goats, deer, or maybe the occassional kangaroo. How about a home grown chook?

  25. FDB

    “In summary:…”

    You summary elides the part which you know most upset people – the part where you grandly proclaimed ALL cats not found indoors to be feral, and declared your intention to deliberately run them over. And while you are doing so, “thinking of” a particular commenter.

    Perhaps you’d like to rethink that bit?

    Not to mention numerous other lurid descriptions of animal torture, intended apparently as “humour”. Caught in the crossfire my arse.

  26. FDB

    And to move from what your summary omits to what it includes – utter bullshit. Nobody values feral cats more than wildlife. Nobody on the entire planet probably, and in this discussion certainly.

    Stop making shit up.

    Stop acting like a tough guy.

  27. paul burns

    akn,
    did you write a book about your donkey trip? You should have.

  28. Helen

    FN, but didn’t you read the whole thing, AKN’s wife is to blame for the meat eating.

  29. Salient Green

    @20, typical of your dishonest style of argument. It doesn’t make me wrong and in fact, given that the best soils for farming are generally softer soils, which rabbits require for burrows, reinforces my point.
    The fact that there are less rabbits in NSW national parks proves that the Dept are doing a good job of controlling rabbits and to try and use it to prove that I am wrong goes again to my opening assertion.

    While I’m getting stuck into your nonsense there’s this from you
    ~” Feral cats, incidentally, are one of the few species that control rabbit populations”~
    That would be the same ‘thinking’, using the term loosely, that brought foxes to Australia and indeed got cats released into the wild in the first place. How the fuck’s that working for us?

  30. Liz

    The donkey died. Note the use of passive voice. The donkey was your responsibility, akn. Perhaps the donkey wasn’t suited to the journey and you just couldn’t be arsed finding out. Just a ‘bloody thing’, which caused you inconvenience.

  31. FDB

    “That would be the same ‘thinking’, using the term loosely, that brought foxes to Australia and indeed got cats released into the wild in the first place. How the fuck’s that working for us?”

    Not really. Foxes were brought here for sport, rabbits for food and cats because they’re adorable and because they kill rodents (rabbits included, but that was never part of anyone’s ‘thinking’).

    By the way, my earlier question wasn’t meant to be a provocation. Do you know of any measures to control cats or foxes that actually could be, or have been shown to be, effective in wild areas? Without also killing native carnivores? I’m sure trapping and shooting work passably well to protect a farm’s henhouse, but that’s a pretty different thing.

  32. Salient Green

    Paul Burns has a good point.
    akn this is the place for longer posts and if you have the time there has to be a rich vein of humour in your expedition, albeit some of it black. I would like to hear about it at any rate if you have the inclination.

  33. akn

    Liz, I didn’t then know much about donkey care; still don’t really, which is why I don’t own one; donkeys go feral too.

    FDB: between your arse and FN’s obsession with what he insists on calling my ‘willie’ things are getting odorous.

    Phuken cats, eh? Watta buncha phuken prawns.

    I’m outta here.

  34. FDB

    Classy.

  35. Salient Green

    FDB you’re just as bad as FN, well perhaps not so deliberately.
    http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/documents/Biosecurity_EnvironmentalPests/IPA-Feral-Cat-Ecology-PA26.pdf
    Page 2, “cats were purposely released in many rural areas to control plague numbers of rabbits”
    That in no way proves that they were very effective.
    You are correct about foxes being released for sport but I know that a lot of the thinking was that foxes were helping to control rabbits, which they were and do. However, cats do far more damage to native species.

  36. faustusnotes

    furious balancing, people don’t have to eat meat, and I am not the one declaring that everyone else’s lifestyle is worse than mine. This has been my consistent point here: don’t moralize about other people’s lifestyles. akn eats meat (because of a woman). This is his choice. FDB and I keep cats – it is our choice. We weren’t sneering at akn for eating meat, but he (and GG) were sneering at us for keeping cats and threatening to burn them alive.

    Salient Green, nowhere did I suggest letting cats loose as a biological control method. I simply observed that feral cats kill rabbits. Wouldn’t that be a point in their favour? (Other articles I saw during that search suggested rabbits sustain feral cat populations, but dynamically one means the other).

    I can’t imagine a dumber idea than releasing cats to control rabbits. But then, growing rice in queensland is also stupid, as is keeping sheep in most of this country. But keep blaming those cats!

  37. Mindy

    @Salient Green – rabbits don’t need to burrow. They can live quite happily under shrubs and hedges and often do when the rabbit population gets high and suitable burrows are all taken.

    Around here feral dogs are more of a problem with the added bonus of being dangerous to people.

  38. FDB

    All I said was that cats kill rabbits. Not terribly controversial I hope.

    It’s a tough call between rabbits, cats, foxes and cane toads which is the worst feral species (my money’s on rabbits) but I never claimed, AND NOR HAS ANYONE, that feral cats are a good thing because they successfully contain rabbits. They manifestly don’t, largely because cats and foxes both do better in woodland with lots of cover (where the native prey reside unfortunately), and rabbits in paddocks, grassland etc.

    I’m not sure about your claim that cats do far more damage to native species. Partly because I’m not sure what you mean. Certainly they do more damage to native species than to rabbits (for the reason above, as well as size difficulties). Or did you mean more damage to native species than foxes do? I’d be surprised if that were true, but then I guess they’re better hunters of small things and birds, and probably more adaptable to tricky terrain.

  39. Robbo

    “sheep are actually a vital management tool at that site.”

    How disgusting.

  40. FDB

    “They manifestly don’t, largely because cats and foxes both do better in woodland with lots of cover (where the native prey reside unfortunately), and rabbits in paddocks, grassland etc.”

    I should add to this that predation by introduced species, in which category I include human hunting/culling, as a method to control or eliminate another introduced species which has “gone native” is always and everywhere (other than on small islands or otherwise isolated ecosystems) a constant rearguard action and an ongoing failure.

    Not suggesting an alternative, just making an observation.

  41. GregM

    Golly Gosh @19

    As you would be aware if you had a genuine interest in this subject matter, the best quality remnant grassland in south-east Australia is at Terrick Terrick and sheep are actually a vital management tool at that site.

    I’m not sure that your opinion is held unanimously. This is from Wiki:

    Terrick Terrick National park was one of the last remaining strongholds for the Plains-wanderer, an endangered Australian endemic bird species. Sadly, land management techniques employed by Parks Victoria has seen the species almost wiped-out, in addition to the creation of dangerous fuel loads, and the prevalance of many noxious weeds.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrick_Terrick_National_Park

  42. Salient Green

    Mindy, yes I’m aware and covered that upthread with my reference to lignums. Little buggers are very adaptable. Back in the early ’80’s in the SW NSW drought they were existing on the roots of desert oaks/ Belah. It was a crying shame to see those beautiful trees turning to skeletons.
    FDB, I appreciate your effort to bring the discussion to a more rational and fact based level. However, I am onto my second marguerita and in charge of producing a delicious bruschetta for our evening meal so probably won’t be in any state to give your questions a good response tonight.

  43. furious balancing

    Robbo – “How disgusting”.

    Why?

    I’ve been to Terrick Terrick and read it’s management plan. Seems to be a successful approach. Grazing can be a useful management approach in SOME ecosystems.

  44. paul burns

    FTR. These critters are the first cats in Oz.

    The First Fleet’s chaplain, Richard Johnson, had with him two small kittens, ‘a little present’ for him and his wife, Mary, which delighted them both and provided them with much amusement on the long voyage out. Once in New South Wales he set his cats free to kill the native wildlife, sending one to Norfolk Island because it dug up his garden, and letting the other loose in Sydney Cove. Both cats were most effective in their slaughter. [Richard Johnson, Some Letters …Pt.1, pp. 13, 25.]

    🙂

  45. Linda

    Hi folks, just de-lurking to say that not only does it appear that akn was only forced to eat meat through a woman’s incompetence, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this same woman is probably a cat lover.

  46. FDB

    “sending one to Norfolk Island because it dug up his garden”

    A feline convict!

    Thanks Paul. I felt sure you’d have the lowdown on settler kitties.

  47. Katz

    Here is the earliest reference to cats in an Australian newspaper:

    A Correspondent informs us, that he accidentally stepped into a house a few days since, in which the strongeft marks of poverty were prevalent, the children were ill cloathed and he feared, but poorly fed ; but mirth got the better of compassion, when upon enquiry he found the family to consist of one man, one woman, two children, four dogs, three cats, five parrots, and a kangaroo !

    Sydney Gazette, 24 March 1803.

    Why was this considered noteworthy? How did the presence of cats, inter alia change this correspondent’s emotion from compassion to mirth? Did the cats eventually kill the parrots?

    The past is a foreign country.

  48. FDB

    Linda FTW! I would put good money on it.

  49. Casey

    I know. For an interesting change of pace come explore EL James and Sixty Shades of Stupid in this totally hip book review:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hqy8zAdfNEU&list=PL2645AE8243821389

    (Hat tip to Pav the Cat).

  50. Linda

    Also, very sorry to read about your kitty, FDB. My two eccentric kitties are an adored part of my family, a trend acknowledged in kinship and family studies. It’s A Thing and it matters.

  51. Golly Gosh

    GregM @41

    Part of the problem being too little sheep!

    You need to remember that due to indigenous land management, parts of SE Australia were park-like.

    Most folk don’t appear to know that in that brief window before the arrival and spread of foxes and cats ( and of diseases they carry- cats are the main vector for toxoplasmosis) and after the demise of indigenous hunter-gathering, many natives animals exploded in numbers in farming areas. Quolls in Victoria were in their teeming millions and invaded early homesteads, living in the roof cavities and under the floorboards. Ladies would refrain from venturing out at nights because the things had a habit of dropping out of trees onto their heads, or so say the accounts of the early settlers. Of course one the once numerous quoll species, the eastern quoll, is now extinct on the mainland and only exists in Tasmania.

  52. furious balancing

    Well really the problem is invasive weeds, (particularly pasture weeds). Careful rotational grazing may assist in managing the weeds but it is a bit more nuanced than simply saying there are too few sheep.

    Ian Lunt recently wrote an excellent post on the pros and cons of grazing , it includes a photo of Terrick Terrick that show wild oats where grazing has been excluded, you can read it here:

    http://ianluntresearch.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/taking-stock-of-fencing/#more-6387

    Also there seems to be a pretty good uptake ideas from Bill Gammage’s book ‘the largest estate’. Might be worth pointing out that not all ecologist agree on everything Gammage wrote.

  53. faustusnotes

    oh yay, akn’s defenders are now presenting a new theory in which the white colonizers would have brought about a paradise in australia through sheep-based management strategies until the cat lovers came along and ruined everything. Quolls falling from trees! The indigenous people would have loved the tips on how to better manage the land! But then along came the cats…

  54. Helen

    Indigenous Australia, where “park-like”, was grazed by soft-footed marsupials. No hoofed animal is suited to Australian soil, they compact and ruin it.

    The “park-like” argument is currently being used to justify every damaging land use, recreational hoonery and dig-it-up-chop-it-down-ship-it-out project under the sun. East Gippsland was not “park-like”, the first European explorers reported it was wellnigh impossible to force their way through the dense temperate rainforest. Australia is a large country and contains a great many different ecosystems.

  55. Katz

    In 1840, after traversing successfully the Australian Alps and climbing Mt Kosciusko, explorer Pawe? Edmund Strzelecki got lost and almost starved to death in the impenetrable jungle of South Gippsland.

    There was nothing “parklike” about South Gippsland.

  56. paul burns

    Presumably more cats came on the Second Fleet and on the various merchantmen between c. 1790-1792, and later and were either brought ashore by the people they owned or came ashore of their own accord.
    They seem to have been kept on ships to bring down the rat population or for companionship or both. I don’t know how soon they got to Norfolk, or when the Johnston’s cats found other cats with which to have offspring, but as Katz shows by the newspaper report @ 47 cats were well-established by 1803.
    Perhaps the Johnstons’ cats never bred at all, but just died off.

  57. furious balancing

    Helen, the issue that land managers grapple with is whether the disturbance from hooves, is greater than the problems associated with invasive weeds. In some carefully managed situations we can increase biodiversity with grazing.

    There is no doubt there is a growing movement (of mostly vested interests) that advocates pastoralism as a quick-fix and they are mostly wrong, but we shouldn’t let that get in the way of using grazing as a management tool, where it is actually appropriate.

  58. Chris

    They manifestly don’t, largely because cats and foxes both do better in woodland with lots of cover (where the native prey reside unfortunately), and rabbits in paddocks, grassland etc.

    So obviously what we need is some big cats that do well in grassland areas. Sheep and cattle might not do so well though 😉

    Re: feral cats – I doubt many cat lovers would have a problem with a policy of compulsory neutering of cats unless owned by registered breeders. Very few urban cat owners want a litter of cats, and I think those that end up with them do so mostly out of ignorance of being cheap and not getting their cats neutered.

    I am a two-cat (nearly always indoors), two chicken and backyard vege grower, plus probably soon to be budgie household. Not sure where that puts me on the enivornmental footprint scale!

  59. paul burns

    Seems the Conservatives are ganging up on Windsor in New England. And one of these dummy candidates is running in Queensland as well.

    http://www.armidaleexpress.com.au/story/1457675/ex-plc-pupil-to-stand-for-federal-seat/?cs=469

  60. Paul Norton

    Helen @54:

    The “park-like” argument is currently being used to justify every damaging land use, recreational hoonery and dig-it-up-chop-it-down-ship-it-out project under the sun. East Gippsland was not “park-like”, the first European explorers reported it was wellnigh impossible to force their way through the dense temperate rainforest. Australia is a large country and contains a great many different ecosystems.

    Yes. That argument also crops up all the time in lobbying regarding fire hazard reduction by people with an ulterior agenda of restoring this or that form of exploitative access to the conservation estate.

  61. paul burns

    Anything that was a meadow-like space with a few trees on it was ‘park-like’ to the 18C eye so far as I can work out. Without bothering to get up and check the text, I think James Cook described Botany Bay as park-like or something similar, and the elite of the First Fleet got very pissed off when they arrived there and found they were in the middle of a bloody swamp.

  62. furious balancing

    Grassy woodlands have been reduced to about 2% of original cover, I think. So very little of what would have once been park-like remains.

  63. Katz

    Port Phillip District’s early surveyor, Robert Hoddle, did many sketches of the District. He was very impressed by the abundance of grass and the lack of saplings amidst the scattering of large trees.

    To an eye accustomed to the large estates landscaped by the likes of Charles Bridgeman or Capability Brown, these scenes would have appeared both pleasant and commercially profitable.

    In this part of the world, if such terrain is left ungrazed or unburned, very quickly eucalyptus saplings proliferate, crowding out the grass.

  64. Golly Gosh

    That the park-like argument may be misapplied by some has no bearing on what I actually said.

    Soil compaction is an issue and I have had some of my land ripped to deal with it. Unfortunately this resulted in massive weed colonisation of the ripped areas. I would’ve been better of not ripping and instead using a direct seeder machine.

    “No hoofed animal is suited to Australian soil, they compact and ruin it.”

    Blanket statements like this don’t apply to all situations. The role of sheep in certain locations, like Terrick Terrick, is supported by experience and this is documented in the peer reviewed literature. Note how after the post-drought rains in Victoria, the plains wanderer was pushed out of Terrick Terrick onto surrounding sheep country.

    National Parks often do a very poor job of conserving flora and fauna. Thankfully private groups like Bush Heritage Australia are picking up some of the slack.

    Unfortunately my comments now seem to be on a five hour time delay- obviously I’ve upset on of the moderators, so I’ll have to re-evaluate whether there is any point continuing to comment here.

  65. Nabakov

    Sounds like a bit of clear thinking is needed to tackle the feral cat problem. Just import giant cane toads to eat them.

  66. adrian

    And then import giant Clive Palmers to eat the giant cane toads…

  67. akn

    Bernard Smith’s European Vision and the South Pacific pointed out that the landscaped appearance of Sydney Harbour was created by Aboriginal burning but that this park like appearance was reinterpreted and emphasised by early colonial artists under the influence of the picturesque conventions of the day. The authority of such picturesque conventions partly drove the foundation of the Royal National Park and the release of deer within the park as roos, wallabies and blackfellas weren’t adequately noble; the damn at Wattamolla was also built in order to mimic the landscape conventions of Capability Brown.

  68. faustusnotes

    Godzilla will solve the problems!

    Golly Gosh, that has happened to me before. It’s likely you’ve been pinged as spam, if hte mods check regularly the problem should undo itself.

  69. FDB

    It’s happened to me too GG – don’t take it personal like. I think if you were being targeted for moderation you would have been told.

    Or maybe you broke a rule not made specific in the commenting guidelines relating to being really mean to FDB.

    Perhaps I flatter myself… *flounces off*

  70. Jumpy

    Allan Savory has an interesting view on reversing desertification by using certain grazing techniques.
    I don’t see any reason that this approach can’t work in Australia.

  71. FMark

    No need for Godzilla, we just need elephants. They’d be at home with Chris’ big cats. Problem solved!

  72. faustusnotes

    The Guardian reports on declassified documents from British Palestine that are remarkably prescient in their analysis of the situation. In 1946:

    Arab leaders appear to be still disposed to defer active opposition so long as a chance of a political decision acceptable to Arab interests exists

    and:

    The wartime report drawn up for British intelligence officials said Arab nationalism had a “double nature … a rational constructive movement receptive of western influence and help [and] an emotional movement of revolt against the west”.

    It concluded: “The conflict between these two tendencies will be decided in the present generation. The first aim of the policy of the western powers must be to prevent the triumph of the second tendency.”

  73. FDB

    FN – so should there have been more kittens or fewer in post-war British Palestine?

  74. faustusnotes

    I think it’s fairly clear that the entire problem is the fault of cat lovers.

  75. FDB

    Well then they can go fuck themselves.

  76. GregM

    Sounds like a bit of clear thinking is needed to tackle the feral cat problem. Just import giant cane toads to eat them.

    Actually that does raise an interesting question. Does anyone know of any research about whether the introduction and spread of cane toads has had any effect on what would be their natural predators, which I expect would include foxes and feral cats, and therefore if there has been any consequent relief for the native animals which are the prey of those predators?

    Oh, and I agree with adrian @66.

  77. paul burns

    [email protected],
    Seems the western powers didn’t read that concluding para. Or did Doc Evatt just decide to ignore it? If he saw it at all.

  78. Pavlov's Cat

    I didn’t kill the donkey. It died, for reasons unknown.

    Oh I don’t know, I can think of one or two possible reasons.

  79. faustusnotes

    GregM, the problem with Adrian’s suggestion is that it will inevitably lead to the creation of one of these.

    Very bad. Very very bad.

  80. Brian

    GregM @ 76, I think you’ll find that most animals that attempt to eat cane toads end up dead. But I believe magpies flip them over and eat out their liver. Crows too have a go. Here’s an article about what Southern Cross University researcher Gillian Marchant found. There is a suggestion that cat food can be used to induce ants to eat baby toads.

    Here’s a crow at work if you’re up to it!

    There used to be masses of cane toads in Brisbane in the 60s and 70s. You’d see them hopping all over the road in the car lights in the wet. Not so many now.

  81. furious balancing

    Jumpy – there are lots of reasons why we should be cautious about Allan Savory’s approach. Particularly in arid & semi-arid environments. This article offers a counter-argument:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2013/04/allan_savory_s_ted_talk_is_wrong_and_the_benefits_of_holistic_grazing_have.single.html

  82. The Feral Abacus

    fb: re Savory’s revival of old nonsense, Painter & Belsky from 20 years ago …

    ‘Although available evidence indicates that whole—plant overcompensation and optimization of productivity rarely occur and may have little or no evolutionary or applied significance, these concepts have been accepted by some popular writers and land managers, and are being used to justify heavy livestock grazing on western North American rangelands.’

    http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.2307/1941780

  83. furious balancing

    Yes, thanks for the link FA. It’s frustrating because there are circumstances where grazing could be useful as a management device, but there is a very vocal group of activists promoting Savory’s approach as if it will both feed the world and save the environment. It makes it difficult to advocate for a more nuanced approach because those activists are very good at taking comments out of context and using them as an endorsement ie: ‘all grazing is good’.

  84. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

    LIQUIDATE ALL ZIONIST FELINE ENTITIES!!!!!!

  85. Paul Norton

    Mahmoud, lighten up you silly fellow.

  86. Pavlov's Cat

    No, no, Paul, he was only joking, in his light-hearted manly way. You know, thrust and parry and, erm, thrust. Russell has reassured me totally during this discussion about all the many anonymous wankers who issue rape and death threats online to feminists, by the way. Clearly they do but jest.

  87. furious balancing

    GregM, I was trying to find an article I read recently about the impact of cane toads on predatory species but no luck so far.

    I did find this which is quite interesting & like the article I’m thinkin of suggests that perhaps things aren’t as bleak as once feared:

    http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/australian-spiders-keep-cane-toad-numbers-in-check.htm

  88. paul burns

    Brian @ 80,
    I wasn’t up to the crow at work. Managed one or two seconds. Still, it was an unusual way to start a Saturday morning.

  89. jules

    Its anecdotal but since the latest round of La Nina in Northern NSW cane toads are back. Not in the numbers mentioned by Brian 30 or 40 years ago, but still in significant numbers. Even at our place.

    In the same time period I’ve not seen a single red bellied black snake round the house or yard. Or even in the bush or on open farms. I’ve seen a couple on the road, but basically that is it. they used to be everywhere, well frequent anyway. Its a similar story with land mullets. I haven’t seen one for a while now.

    We also had a population of Major Skinks round the place. At one point they saw fit to colonise the house, and would share native and exotic furry critter’s with our cat (as well as his food). Since the return of these crusty toads I haven’t seen one.

    There have been taipans and a few brown snakes around in increasing numbers too. We’d rarely see them in the yard but these days there’s a few around. I don’t necessarily agree that Red bellies eat brown snakes – but the red bellied black snake that used to live in the yard (and sleep with the cat) is gone and other predatory poisonous snakes have moved in to replace it. Red bellies prefer to hunt frogs while taipans (and to an extent browns) prefer mammals tho they are all opportunistic and will eat anything if they need to.

    So anyway I blame the cane toads for the loss of red bellied black snakes. And the major skinks and land mullets.

  90. faustusnotes

    I’ll just note that Savory’s ideas are beloved of the watts up with that crowd, which is where jumpy seems to get all his environmental “knowledge.”

  91. furious balancing

    That just seems like an unnecessary personal attack. He posted a link, and there have been counter-arguments offered.

  92. Jumpy

    Furious B
    Interesting rebuttal of Savorys theory,thank you.
    I do however notice,

    Slate’s coverage of food systems is made possible in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

    Seeing as slate takes money for comment from a company that advocates GMO foods, fluoridation and sponsors NASCAR I’ll call it a tie for now which has more enviro-cred.

  93. furious balancing

    I’m not sure what NASCAR, fluoride & GMO’s have to do with grazing deserts. I don’t have links to any of those issues, (though I did once suffer through a NASCAR race in Texas), and I highlighted issues regarding stock on fragile soils several years ago (having seen the impacts with my own eyes) on this very blog, before I’d even heard of Savory.. I’ve also repeatedly discussed where grazing can be beneficial. There is a substantial body of research that examines the pros and cons of grazing – I really suggest you check out Ian Lunt’s blog he does great research on grassland restoration & communicates it extremely effectively and with nuance. I’m just frustrated that every enviro issue seems to now be discussed in a partisan way. I’ve noticed, Jumpy, that you seem suspicious of academia, but the impacts of grazing the outback are easily observed – occasionally you can even witness it in the city when a big wind dumps desert dust on Sydney. Dust that could & should be bound by lichen, fungis and small plants that form the microphytic crusts which in so many places had been destroyed by the hooves of cows, sheep & various feral animals, including goats, camels and horses.

  94. The Feral Abacus

    I’m not bagging Ian Lunt – he’s a very good ecologist – but I’d caution that grassland dynamics along the Great Dividing Range and the eastern seaboard might not be applicable across the continent. Certainly grassland ecologists working in SA’s Mid-North have had results that are often inconsistent with data coming from NSW and Vic.

  95. furious balancing

    Sure, I’m not suggesting that you can apply his research across the continent, of course not. But the piece I linked to earlier that discusses impacts of fencing/grazing discusses complexities within one region. That’s the point… he is highlighting that each system needs to be assessed on its own merits, and that different approaches will need to be applied based on both the native veg and the weeds present. that kind of stuff should go without saying and it’s be nice of it did, but in so many debates about land management a lot of people seem to pick sides – pro or anti grazing.

  96. jules

    You are of course ignoring the political game played by Gillard where she was clearly hoping that Abbott would oppose the levy enabling her to run the line that “the coalition does not care about the disabled” and by agreeing against her expectations Abbott has shown that he is a far better strategic player at the game of politics that Gillard . His move neatly side stepped the attempted wedge and as he has been on his pollie peddle and with proceeds going to Carers Australia Gillard just looked the utter fool for both her timing and her tactics. Further you insult the both journalists and the voters with your “flocking behaviour” as neither are as malleable as you suggest. Labor under both Rudd and Gillard have gone from a whopping Majority in 2007 to being in the wipe-out zone all in just six short years its not through a campaign led by Rupert or any of the RW warriors that you fear but from their own efforts.

    Running the country isn’t a game and a stunt driver like Abbott will not be up to the actual work. Insulting journos – well if they stop insulting my intelligence … seriously tho, you need to read up on crowd behaviour, and the effect of a few individuals can have on crowd behaviour to see just how malleable people really are. Pretending they aren’t may appeal to ignorant romantics, but it ignores 100 years of intense research by people who do marketing and are judged on their results( – which are dependent on people being malleable.)

    You do have a talent for exaggeration Jules! I live in Queensland and I have never heard of the Tattoo nonsense you mention here, as for seizing the property of crims well that is nothing new. Further I think that the people(outside the Latte belt)understand that the Bligh government legacy is the fundamental reason that Newman has had to be tough with the razor. I hope that Abbott finds the situation less dire when he gets into the Lodge other wise it will be tough on the country curing the labor disease at a federal level.

    Perhaps you need to take more notice of what happens in your own state:

    http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2013/05/04/451396_gold-coast-news.html

    It is something new to seize legally obtained property from people on the basis of a crime they have committed or on the basis of mere suspicion of criminal activity.

    You can hide from the issue by proving your ignorance of what is done in your own state (by a govt i presume you helped elect,) if you like. The conclusion I draw from this is that you are either staggeringly stupid or opposed to democracy. I’m tending toward the later option, cos you certainly showed no objection to the NSW govts attack on the right to silence, something even Chris Berg of the IPA objects to stridently. You’re pretending to be ignorant, but secretly you don’t like democracy.

    How can you support such anti democratic activity by governments you support? No doubt you objected to the media regulation that Conroy wants cos its a threat to freedom, but you are silent on real threats to freedom that are not aimed at the media.

    So how can we take anything you say seriously?

  97. Iain Hall

    Jules

    Running the country isn’t a game and a stunt driver like Abbott will not be up to the actual work.

    ALL politics is a game, the most serious game with some serious consequences in play but to deny that is to be ignorant of history or the mature of games.

    Insulting journos – well if they stop insulting my intelligence … seriously tho, you need to read up on crowd behaviour, and the effect of a few individuals can have on crowd behaviour to see just how malleable people really are. Pretending they aren’t may appeal to ignorant romantics, but it ignores 100 years of intense research by people who do marketing and are judged on their results( – which are dependent on people being malleable.)

    You need to stop trying to find excuses for this woeful government and its current misfortunes than this silly conspiracy theory. You see I have studied crowd behaviour and it just does not apply to the current political landscape. We have had more than five years of Labor government and they have made so many mistakes and made so many stupid decisions that they are unelectable. Its their performance that has brought them down and nothing else.

    Perhaps you need to take more notice of what happens in your own state:

    http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2013/05/04/451396_gold-coast-news.html

    It might surprise you but I don’t ever read the Gold Coast News, however having read your link it just proves my point about your propensity for exaggeration because the story is nothing more than a bit of kite flying from a back bench MP and I think that your suggestion that such a thing would ever happen is utterly ridiculous.

    It is something new to seize legally obtained property from people on the basis of a crime they have committed or on the basis of mere suspicion of criminal activity.

    The question is of course just how legally such assets were obtained in these days of Electronic paper trail it should not be difficult to prove the providence of assets if they have been legally obtained.

    You can hide from the issue by proving your ignorance of what is done in your own state (by a govt i presume you helped elect,) if you like.

    Do you follow every detail of the machinations of the government of your state? I bet that you don’t

    The conclusion I draw from this is that you are either staggeringly stupid or opposed to democracy.

    Neither as it happens I am passionate about democracy and have been following our politics here for more than forty years.

    I’m tending toward the later option, cos you certainly showed no objection to the NSW govts attack on the right to silence, something even Chris Berg of the IPA objects to stridently. You’re pretending to be ignorant, but secretly you don’t like democracy.

    I don’t follow NSW politics in much detail to be honest there are only so many hours in the day Jules and my interest in the cockroach state is rather limited.

    How can you support such anti democratic activity by governments you support? No doubt you objected to the media regulation that Conroy wants cos its a threat to freedom, but you are silent on real threats to freedom that are not aimed at the media.

    You draw the longest of bows here Jules just because I am less than interested in the minutiae of NSW politics you draw some rather outrageous conclusions.

    So how can we take anything you say seriously?

    Take what I say however you please because I know that you are enough of an ideologue that changing your position is about as likely as Gillard winning the election.

  98. jules

    You need to stop trying to find excuses for this woeful government and its current misfortunes than this silly conspiracy theory. You see I have studied crowd behaviour and it just does not apply to the current political landscape.

    Where dude, the school of wearing your arse for a beanie?

    If journos were doing their job properly they’d still have a world of room to criticise the government for a variety of reasons and a heap of stupid policy. However we have partisan campaigning from a huge chunk of Australia’s media and that drives the narrative for everyone else.

    I think that your suggestion that such a thing would ever happen is utterly ridiculous.

    Its ridiculous that an elected official thought the idea of registering people with tattoos was even worth considering let alone mentioning in public, and you call it “a bit of kite flying”. that’s sublime in its own way.

    Do you follow every detail of the machinations of the government of your state? I bet that you don’t

    Ones as important as free speech registering tattoos or the govt seizing property without compensation based on suspicion certainly get my attention.

    The question is of course just how legally such assets were obtained in these days of Electronic paper trail it should not be difficult to prove the providence of assets if they have been legally obtained.

    The requirement for proving yourself against mere suspicion goes against a fundamental principle we know as “innocent until proven guilty”.

  99. Paul Norton

    As’ad AbuKhalil, like all good communists (even though he says he’s an anarchist nowadays), disdains to conceal his views and aims:

    Finkelstein rightly asks whether the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel. Here, I agree with him that it is. That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject.

  100. Gummo Trotsky

    Possibly my best post so far this year.

    Hi-ho Rosinante!

  101. Gummo Trotsky

    As penance for that blatant bit of post-pimping here’s some good news from Phil Coorey at the Fin Review.

  102. tigtog

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s time for a new Overflow thread, Gummo! This one’s closed now.