Saturday, 12 April 2008
Toad Day Out
The cane toad, Bufo marinus, was introduced to Australia by the sugar cane industry to control two pests of sugar cane, the grey backed cane beetle and the frenchie beetle. One hundred and one toads arrived at Edmonton in North Queensland in June 1935. Unseasonal breeding occurred almost immediately, and within 6 months over 60,000 young toads had been released.
Queensland MP Shane Knuth has proposed the ‘Toad Day Out,’ similar to ‘Clean Up Australia Day,’ hoping to rid the Sunshine State of the warty , messy , disgusting creatures. Countless residents of Queensland use hockey sticks, golf clubs , cricket bats to take a mighty swing at the toads oftern resulting in semi-decapitation or total, depending on aim and strength.It is not unusual to hear of toads being sprayed with chemicals, kerosene, dettol antiseptic wash, causing the toads to swell and die, another favorite is to douse them in petrol and set them alight. Many times when driving along the roads you will see hundreds of toads gathering and swerving to run over a toad is not unheard of either. Cane toads threaten wildlife and they have poisonous glands and there is no natural predator to help keep their numbers down.
Bufotenin, one of the chemicals excreted by the Cane Toad, is classified as a Class 1 drug under Australian drug laws. This is the same classification as heroin and marijuana. It is thought that the effects of bufotenin are similar to that of mild poisoning; the stimulating effect, which includes mild hallucinations, lasts for less than one hour. Since the Cane Toad excretes bufotenin in very small amounts, and other toxins in relatively large amounts, toad licking could result in serious illness or death.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has backed the proposal as long as the toads are killed in a humane way – by freezing them.
Volunteers taking part in the killing spree will be encouraged to put the creatures in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer, then disposing of them at special collection centres once they are dead.
Cat and dog food is a favorite of the cane toad and they just love to feast on what you feed your pets, congregating to the feed bowls in droves. Nothing worse than chasing one outside and stepping in a puddle it leaves behind, they defecate and pee all over the floors if they get inside. The culling of toads is necessary to protect wildlife but it must be done as humanely as possible, cane toads are vertebrate animals and undoubtedly feel pain.