In 2008, the Queensland Labor Government banned shotgunning flying foxes in orchards in response to the Queensland Animal Welfare Advisory Committee judging that shotguns weren’t a humane killing method. The Beattie Government banned duck shooting for the same reason in 2005.

A cute thing! Quick, kill it!. Picture: Nick Edards

In response, Campbell Newman promised before the last election to reintroduce shotguns in orchards. Why should the pig doggers have all the fun? But there was a legislative requirement that control measures be humane. What to do? Too easy. Get rid of the requirement for humaneness.

As of last Friday, you can now cripple and wound flying foxes without any risk of prosecution for cruelty. Instead there will be a code of practice. This is a familiar trick. Any time you want to do something cruel to an animal, have it put in a code of practice along with a general provision defining all actions done under a code of practice to be outside the welfare jurisdiction. This prevents any uppity RSPCA inspector applying anti-cruelty legislation where it’s not bloody welcome.

Want to cut the toes off emus? It’s in the code of practice. Want to use an angle grinder to sharpen a sheep’s teeth? It’s in the code.

Similarly, if you prefer to kill and cripple rather than exclude flying foxes from your crop? Stick it in a code.

While there are many studies demonstrating the appalling crippling rates when shooting ducks with shotguns, there is only one on shooting flying foxes with shotguns. In 2006, a NSW producer allowed researchers to collect the dead and injured in the mornings after shooting. Obviously, knowing the results would be public makes it likely this is a best case scenario.

Nevertheless, the resulting study makes chilling reading. People shoot flying foxes at night. Most of those shot don’t die straight away but find a tree to shelter in. Even if the shooters find these injured animals with spotlights, they will be reluctant to take a follow up shot which will damage the tree. So the bats hang around until they die. A female with a youngster back in the colony may make an attempt to fly or crawl home, but by then the shooters are long gone.

The researchers, in full daylight and with no time pressure, found some of these wounded hanging in trees. They managed to rescue some, but others were simply out of reach.

Over a fortnight they collected 164 dead or injured animals. Obviously, there will also be the flying wounded; some will recover, some will succumb. The lactation state of females indicated that another 41 young flying foxes would have starved back in the colony after their mums were shot. Fifty animals were found alive, 34 were euthanased and the rest were sent to wildlife carers. One juvenile was heard high in one of the trees around the orchard calling for its mum for some four days after a shoot.

Of course, many fruit growers around Australia made the move into the 20th century… in the 20th century. In the Adelaide Hills, the past three decades have produced nets everywhere. Nets on fruit trees, grapes, you name it, nets everywhere.

What’s wrong in Queensland? Probably not that much. Many growers use nets and don’t need to shoot anything. But it’s time the rest woke up and it’s time politicians stopped catering to the lowest rungs on the red necked ladder.

Flying fox populations have been declining for a century as a result of habitat destruction, mainly for sheep and cattle with our urban areas occupying only about 2 per cent of the cleared land. In Queensland alone, the cowboys have cleared 7.8 million hectares during the past 20 years. Plenty of this was once flying fox habitat.

Two of the four species targeted by orchardists have been officially designated as vulnerable: the Grey Headed and the Spectacled. In the 1950s, the Grey Headed Flying Foxes existed in the many millions. Now their numbers are down to some 400,000. They need friends.

As well as shooters, flying foxes are at serious threat from climate change. As the number of really hot days each year rises, along with the average temperature, the question is: “How hot does it need to get before flying foxes start to die?” and the answer is 42 degrees. On January 12, 2002 in the northern rivers area of NSW, 3,500 flying foxes died of heat stroke in 9 colonies of various species. Since 1994, wildlife researchers have counted lifeless bodies in 19 such disasters.

It’s time Queenslanders who gave a toss let Campbell Newman know. We need new stickers on Queensland’s utes: We give a damn about cruelty and we vote.

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101 comments

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    • seniorcynic says:

      06:27am | 13/09/12

      Nets on trees can trap bats as has happened in some Melbourne suburbs and Manningham council has asked their residents to stop using nets.

    • Carol Booth says:

      09:28am | 13/09/12

      There are safe nets (those with a weave smaller than 10 mm) and unsafe nets that entangle flying-foxes and other wildlife. Netting is the only effective method of protecting crops (and backyard fruit trees) from flying-foxes and birds. But please choose the humane options (any net you can stick your finger through is unsafe).

    • carolb says:

      09:35am | 13/09/12

      There is safe netting (with a weave smaller than 10 mm) and unsafe netting that entangles flying-foxes and other wildlife. Nets are the only effective method to protect fruit crops and backyard fruit trees from flying-foxes and birds. But please choose the humane option - netting you can stick a finger through should not be used

    • GetRidOfCommies says:

      06:48am | 13/09/12

      Your own arguments have worked against you.

      See you used the word ‘humane’ to describe why we need to not shoot these flying rabies filled rodents. Problem is they aren’t human. You are also trying to support your arguments with the discredited pseudo science of climtate change. So your argument is invalid on two accounts.

      For you, it would be better if they destroy our crops and give us all rabies. I know I will enjoy the new sport shooting season.

      Until ban ban ban. That’s all big government types now what to do.

    • marley says:

      08:19am | 13/09/12

      Bats don’t carry rabies.  They carry a similar disease, but not rabies. 

      Where I come from, rabies is endemic in the wild animal population.  It’s never been a reason to go out and shoot every squirrel, skunk or coyote.  And I can’t remember the last time anyone died of rabies in Canada.

    • Chris L says:

      08:50am | 13/09/12

      When was the last recorded instance of someone contracting rabies from a flying fox in Australia? How about a person contracting rabies from any source? Any at all?

      Also, please look up the words “humane” and “human” in the dictionary. You’ll find they are actually two separate words.

    • Jacqueline says:

      10:53am | 13/09/12

      There’s no sport involved in shooting something that can’t shoot back.
      There are always options around using cruelty to ensure that we humans grab the lion’s share of the resources. And there’s nothing pseudo about climate change affecting animals, nor about the bat’s habitat disappearing thanks to human activity.
      Oh and by the way the lyssavirus carried by bats is rarely contracted by humans and Australia is a rabies free country.
      Well done Geoff Russell!

    • Camille says:

      12:12pm | 13/09/12

      It’s not human, lets shoot it! Yeeehaaaaaa.  W**ker.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      12:14pm | 13/09/12

      GetRidOfCommies: “discredited pseudo science of climtate change”

      Yes, and the monumental depth of your ignorant arguments here lends obvious credence to the deniers campaign.

      Rabies, my oh my!! No wonder the shooting fraternity is seen as a bunch of red necks half wits.

    • GetRidOfCommies says:

      12:28pm | 13/09/12

      I don’t think you know what the word sport means. Hunting is a battle of wits, me versus nature. Anyone who has ever shot a duck would understand the thrill and feeling of power you get bringing one down.

    • Anne71 says:

      12:46pm | 13/09/12

      @GetRidofCommies - yes, it takes a really brave, tough man to shoot a duck, doesn’t it?

    • gary says:

      01:26pm | 13/09/12

      @marley
      “Bats don’t carry rabies.  They carry a similar disease, but not rabies.”

      Fact, Opinions, same thing?

      Guess you should call the centre for disease control and tell them your opinion about bats and rabies. alternatively, you could learning about bats and rabies

      “Most bats don t have rabies. For example, even among bats submitted for rabies testing because they could be captured, were obviously weak or sick, or had been captured by a cat, only about 6% had rabies.”

      http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/education/

      Wouldn’t want to bet my life on your opinion.
      Me, I’d rather know the facts.
      Can you see how basing your decision on an opinion instead of the facts can have real life consequences?

      No? I didn’t think so.

    • @GetRidOfSpartans says:

      01:32pm | 13/09/12

      Uh huh, the absolute intellectual and physical challenge of using a gun against a duck. Oh such power!  Must be such a struggle for you, battling against the wits of a duck.

    • Bruce Wayne says:

      02:49pm | 13/09/12

      Reminds me of that chap Katter, and his chums, who use large guns on.. wait for it… hippopotamus. Well there is a clear example of chap/intellect vs wild beastie. Let’s see…. hippo stands in water with mud up to ankles. Wild-beast hunting conservative takes aim from what… 100 metres, maybe, with a 22/330 or better calibre hunting rifle with expensive scope… yep - that’s sporting alrighty…

      Bear in mind that the yee-hahs who voted for Katter Party (1) at the last erection, had a second preference. Bet it didn’t go to the Greens.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      03:39pm | 13/09/12

      GetRidOfCommies: So you can match “wits” with a duck, how very intellectual of you.

    • bananabender says:

      03:59pm | 13/09/12

      @gary says:01:26pm | 13/09/12


      There is no rabies in Australia - period.

      The paper you mentioned talked about bats in the USA. The bats mentioned are insect eating bats not fruit bats

    • Gamer says:

      04:31pm | 13/09/12

      Slight problem with that link, Gary. That’s a U.S group, talking about bats in the U.S. This might be hard to believe, but just because bats in America have rabies, doesn’t mean the bats in Australia have rabies.

    • Get Rid Of Shooters says:

      04:49pm | 13/09/12

      @ GetRidOfCommies

      Gee I hope there is such a thing as reincarnation and I hope you come back as a duck.

      Appears the LNP State premiers have a liking for shooters. Since Barry O’Farrell permitted shooting in national parks and forests in NSW the bush land surrounding my home constantly rings with the sound of gunfire. Recently 12 wallabies were found shot to death for sport. So meaningless and so sad!

    • gary says:

      05:14pm | 13/09/12

      bananabender
      reading comprehension not your strong point is it?

      marley made the statement
      “Bats don’t carry rabies.  They carry a similar disease, but not rabies.  “

      Can you make the statement that bats do not have rabies?
      of course not and the website proves that. But if in spite of the evidence to the contrary you still hold the opinion that is true marley will OK your right to say it. 
      Holding an opinion in spite of the irrefutable evidence that it is based on a lie is quite sad, but many of your fellow conservatives seem to suffer from it.

      Perhaps we should put a name to it?
      How about RAbbott’s disease?

    • kelly says:

      05:32pm | 13/09/12

      bananabender
      Never mind bats, there is no rabies in any Australian mammal
      period, full stop.

      However, the statement that bats don’t carry rabies is false.
      You cannot deny that.
      marley made a mistake and you are compounding it.

    • Little Joe says:

      06:50am | 13/09/12

      There are too many crocs in Nth Queensland.

      There are too many dingos on Fraser Island.

      There are too many roos in Central Queensland

      There are too many bats in Queensland.

      The populations of many of these species were balanced by the hunting practices of indigenous tribes.

      Ps. We also have too many feral cats, dogs, cane toads, pigs, foxes and rabbits.

    • subotic says:

      08:13am | 13/09/12

      P.P.S Queensland has one too many Premiers. And one in particular who would certainly benefit from hunting practices of indigenous tribes. Just sayin….

    • Bruce Wayne says:

      08:50am | 13/09/12

      Also too many LNP members in Punch. Perhaps we can get Neumann to give us an open season on those lumps…

    • Alfie says:

      10:29am | 13/09/12

      Too many Greens in Tasmania.

    • Jacqueline says:

      10:55am | 13/09/12

      But we really have too many humans everywhere and we’re not balanced by anything!

    • Meph says:

      02:25pm | 13/09/12

      @Jacqueline

      Humans only have one natural predator, stupidity.

    • Bruce Wayne says:

      05:00pm | 13/09/12

      @Meph - not sure stupidity is as much a predator as a stumbling block to human advancement.

    • Anne71 says:

      05:04pm | 13/09/12

      @Meph: “Humans only have one natural predator, stupidity.”

      That used to be the case, however, thanks to Health & Safety, warning signs and the nanny state, it has been rendered a toothless tiger.

    • gobsmack says:

      07:12am | 13/09/12

      “Flying fox populations have been declining for a century as a result of habitat destruction”.

      I find this hard to believe.  Given that they eat fruit (thus why they are more commonly known as “fruit bats”), I would have thought that their numbers have increased with the introduction of human orchards.

      They are everywhere in Darwin, where their poo rips through the paintwork on cars.

      A large colony was destroying historic trees in Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens.

      Shotguns do seem a cruel way to deal with these animals but they aren’t also referred to as “flying rats” for nothing.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      12:24pm | 13/09/12

      gobsmack: “Shotguns do seem a cruel way to deal with these animals but they aren’t also referred to as “flying rats” for nothing.”

      I would disagree and say it is a thoughtless manner in which to “deal” with the situation. If your right and the population has increased due to human cultivation. Would it not be smarter to reduce access to the population driver in the first instance. Nets seem a far more long term solution to the problem.

    • Jane says:

      12:25pm | 13/09/12

      Native fruit, not introduced. They eat the introduced crops because of habitat lost, including native feeding grounds.

      Bird poo is more corrosive then bat

    • carolb says:

      12:38pm | 13/09/12

      Do not be deceived by the fact that they roost in colonies, sometimes very large, to think that they are in healthy numbers. Of the four flying-fox species on the mainland, two have declined to the extent of being threatened nationally. They have lost vast areas of their most productive feeding areas - the most fertile areas have been cleared for agriculture or cities. Orchard fruit makes up only a miniscule proportion of their total diet, and tends to be targeted heavily only when nectar sources are in short supply.  There is nothing rat-like about their breeding capacity at all. They only have one baby a year and usually don’t reproduce until three years of age. They need high rates of survivorship to maintain their population. Too many are dying.

    • Bris Jack says:

      07:29am | 13/09/12

      Geoff,
      Bats are the reason I voted for Campbell Newman.
      Have you lived in Gayndah, ever visited Gayndah?
      Ever tried to sell a house with an uninvited resident bat colony at your back door?

    • Jane says:

      12:59pm | 13/09/12

      I live right next to a colony, in fact, they are only meters from my house. I’ve learnt much from watching them. I’ve also done much research on them and learnt fact from fiction. Maybe you should try it to, and discovery how truly amazing this mammals are.

    • stephen says:

      07:40am | 13/09/12

      They’re vermin.
      Flying rats, and now they carry and spread a virus, we want to protect them because if we don’t we may become inhumane.

      Is seems that if suicide doesn’t claim us, stupidity will.

    • Jane says:

      12:30pm | 13/09/12

      Flying Monkey’s more like it, they are on the same evolutionary chain as us.

      Less than 1% of the wild population caries Lyssavirus. Human spread diseases far better than flying foxes.

    • stephen says:

      04:19pm | 13/09/12

      The bats are everywhere, so 1% could be 100,000.
      Anyway, I like to resort the the law of the jungle if anything in the natural world is so injurious : we are bigger and smarter than they, so they go.

      ps   put’em on telly ... Kevin Rudd’s chatty, and may want someone to talk to.

    • Bruce Wayne says:

      05:09pm | 13/09/12

      Actually, if one applies that logic, let’s take it to its’ nth degree.

      Prostate cancer, whilst not spread by human to human contact, is carried by humans. Soooo, if we identify every person with prostate cancer, and eliminate them, thus removing it (prostate cancer) from the gene pool/population, will we have had a win? If the answer is “yas”, then as an addendum to the removal of the carriers, we add to the list to be removed, each person who is a pain in the arse, and therefore capable of reproducing the problems/symptoms caused by the prostate cancer, will we be protecting ourselves into the future?

    • thatmosis says:

      07:42am | 13/09/12

      “We also have too many feral cats, dogs, cane toads, pigs, foxes and rabbits.”  Yes I agree and all introduced species that need eradicating.
        As for the Flying Foxes, they are ruining crops, disease carriers and people protect them. Just shows the mentality of some people who would rather protect a species that can kill humans than protect the humans. Shoot the little suckers now and drive them away from crops and populated areas and make the world a safer place or leave them where they are polluting the water, destroying crops and the potential to kill people, hmmm, tough choice that…NOT.

    • carolb says:

      09:42am | 13/09/12

      Just one human is known to have caught a disease from a flying-fox (humans catch Hendra from horses). If your logic was applied to all animals from which humans can catch disease, there would hardly be a species that was safe. We certainly wouldn’t tolerate horses, which are responsible for several human deaths a year. Farmers can protect crops from fying-foxes with nets, much more effectively than by shooting. There is no need for conflict between health flying-fox populations and human health/crop protection.

    • L. says:

      07:44am | 13/09/12

      “On January 12, 2002 in the northern rivers area of NSW, 3,500 flying foxes died of heat stroke in 9 colonies of various species. Since 1994, wildlife researchers have counted lifeless bodies in 19 such disasters.”

      First, you don’t mention the increase in the number of 42+ degree days over the past 150 years. I’m betting that there was an increase in such high temp days of less than 1 per decade.

      Secondly.. a 3,500 member loss from a Flying Fox colony of over 1,000,000 (Yes, a million in a single colony) isn’t going to be that much of an issuel.

    • MarkF says:

      12:57pm | 13/09/12

      Yes that one had me wondering.  Up here in Queensland through summer 45 plus degree days are the norm and you don’t see the flying fox colonies dropping like flies, the seem to thrive.

      The first time I saw the bats coming up from the creek I thought we had a fire down there they were that thick.  Truly a sight to see.  Of course I’ve also done my time with a shotgun helping a local farmer from getting his crop destroyed.  Flying foxes don’t sit there and eat the whole piece of fruit they just take a bite or two out of one then move onto another piece.  It doesn’t take long for them to destroy someone’s crop for the year.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:55am | 13/09/12

      So invent an humane method then.

      (Just so you know, reducing human health outcomes because the bats spread disease to them is not human either).

    • marley says:

      08:50am | 13/09/12

      @Mahrat - but what are the odds of the bats spreading disease to humans?  Unless you’re handling a horse with hendra virus, I’d have thought the risks are nil.  And most of us don’t handle horses.

      Aside from the more emotive aspects of Russell’s argument, the fact is that bats are important to the pollination of native trees.  Destroy the bats, and you do major damage to the long term health of the environment.

    • FINK says:

      08:05am | 13/09/12

      And there are too many idiots in Canberra.

      The populations of this species was balanced by the hunting practices of effective opposition, but alas they have become all but extinct.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      08:17am | 13/09/12

      Dear people of Queensland: well done for voting this guy in. Please don’t come bleating to Labour to rescue your state from a non-existent public service/ health service, from rampant mining, from troglodytes given the power to ‘take back what’s theirs’. You knew exactly what you were getting; now lie down on your bed and enjoy many a restless night. When you are ready to join civilisation again, maybe we can help to rescue the battered remnants of your state.

    • Cynicised says:

      12:03pm | 13/09/12

      I second the motion.

    • Chris L says:

      12:09pm | 13/09/12

      I think he’s done some things right and some things wrong, same as I feel about our federal government. I do think this particular action is just to appeal to the rednecks among us, especially since netting is far more efficient than trying to shoot each flying fox individually.

    • Keith Hammersmith says:

      12:19pm | 13/09/12

      Labor*  if I presume you are talking about the political party that you support?  How did Labor go by the way racking up insane debt during the biggest mining boom this state has ever seen?

    • Anne71 says:

      12:42pm | 13/09/12

      Don’t blame me, Scotchfinger, I didn’t vote for him.  The former ALP government certainly had its faults, but the idea of Newman - a man who made no secret of his admiration for Joh - being Premier scared the hell out of me.  And so far, he’s fully justifying that fear.

    • andrew says:

      08:20am | 13/09/12

      seems the logical thing to me would be to kill them in the daytime in the colony, when we can see and they are sleeping. Do you remember hearing a story of a knight attempting to kill a dragon at night when it was breathing fire? No they would find its cave, trap it in there and kill it. Same principle

    • Jane says:

      01:02pm | 13/09/12

      As soon as any one goes near them, they wake up. They make excellent watch dogs.

    • Troy says:

      08:50am | 13/09/12

      I don’t think are any circumstances in which we should feel justified to kill threatened species. Rare and endangered species should be protected and I really don’t think a lychee crop or a mango crop is worth the reduction in numbers of an already declining species

    • Jane says:

      12:49pm | 13/09/12

      Well said Troy. Someone with a bit of sense.

    • Troy says:

      08:50am | 13/09/12

      I don’t think are any circumstances in which we should feel justified to kill threatened species. Rare and endangered species should be protected and I really don’t think a lychee crop or a mango crop is worth the reduction in numbers of an already declining species

    • Little Joe says:

      09:02am | 13/09/12

      @ thatmosis

      I am quite sure that my comment will have its fair share of critisism. But over the next few weeks I am quite sure that The Punch will publish a story about global starvation, poverty, low pensions and children going to school hungry while millions of dollars of fruit are destroyed by bats and millions of dollars of livestock are destroyed by feral dogs ..... then feral pigs dig up cassowary nests and feral cats break into enclosed bilby habitats.

      It really isn’t a tough choice is it!!!

    • Chris L says:

      12:14pm | 13/09/12

      “It really isn’t a tough choice is it!!!”

      You mean between nets (which will keep all the flying foxes out) and just shooting the ones you can find (which is unlikely to be all of them)? I think the choice looks pretty simple, except that laying nets doesn’t give that sense of satisfaction that shooting animals brings.

    • MarkF says:

      01:22pm | 13/09/12

      @Chris L

      You seem to be assuming that all farmers are rich and drive around in Mercedes (a common inner city myth) with money to burn.  Some of the farms I used to go shooting on, I met the owners working at the abattoir that I worked at supplementing their income to make it through the year.  The cost of netting hectares of fruit trees for them was a pipe dream at best.

      With the ban on shooting flying foxes some of them just ripped out their orchards as it wasn’t a viable crop anymore.  Maybe if the greenies are that worried about it they should raise money to donate netting to the small crop farmers out there.  I would call that a win/win for both sides.  The farmers get to farm and the greens get their warm fuzzy little feeling.

    • Chris L says:

      03:56pm | 13/09/12

      Not a bad idea Mark. I’d support a subsidy for netting.

    • Alfie says:

      09:04am | 13/09/12

      Flying fox is a French delicacy - ready made market for an entrepreneur.

    • Joe says:

      09:23am | 13/09/12

      If I read the comments I’ve noticed that a little bit more education would be good. First at all only 1% of flying foxes have rabies and every wild animal can carry rabies. Second only one person died in Australia due an injury from a bat. Even if you count the dead from Hendra, what is due contact with horses and not bats, the total stands at 5 in 25 years. More famers get killed due normal work on a farm each year in Queensland only. I don’t want that you change your opinion, but I’m asking you to be open to facts.
      The only what works is full enclosure netting.
      http://www.hsi.org.au/editor/assets/Actions/FruitGrowers_support_ netting.pdf
      “The populations of many of these species were balanced by the hunting practices of indigenous tribes.” How turned this out? How many were killed due white settlers? And if you want to balance the species may use the same hunting tools and not shotguns.

    • Carol Lloyd says:

      09:32am | 13/09/12

      Ah, accusing bats of spread disease is the biggest lie of them all. Bats DO NOT spread disease to humans. If you don’t touch bats you have nothing to fear from them. No sars, eboly, bubonic plaque nor Hendra. You only get Hendra from a HORSE. Don’t see any horses flying around pollinating our forests. Cruelty is cruelty and you can’t hide under the skirts of crop protection nor government ignorance. There are alternatives to shooting that actually work. What a shame that this lazy government value dollars over sustainability. All flying-fox species are in rapid decline and scientist predict that grey-head flying-foxes will gone in 50 years. Who cares I hear you say? We should all care for without our flying-foxes to pollinate and spread the seeds, Australia’s rainforests will sicken and die.  No bats, no trees. Just remember that the next time you want to blast a keystone and essential native mammals.

    • Jane says:

      12:56pm | 13/09/12

      I care Carol and the government should be spending money on educating the public and quashing the lies that help spread ignorance and fear..

    • Carol Lloyd says:

      09:32am | 13/09/12

      Ah, accusing bats of spread disease is the biggest lie of them all. Bats DO NOT spread disease to humans. If you don’t touch bats you have nothing to fear from them. No sars, eboly, bubonic plaque nor Hendra. You only get Hendra from a HORSE. Don’t see any horses flying around pollinating our forests. Cruelty is cruelty and you can’t hide under the skirts of crop protection nor government ignorance. There are alternatives to shooting that actually work. What a shame that this lazy government value dollars over sustainability. All flying-fox species are in rapid decline and scientist predict that grey-head flying-foxes will gone in 50 years. Who cares I hear you say? We should all care for without our flying-foxes to pollinate and spread the seeds, Australia’s rainforests will sicken and die.  No bats, no trees. Just remember that the next time you want to blast a keystone and essential native mammals.

    • Joe says:

      09:32am | 13/09/12

      If I read the comments I’ve noticed that a little bit more education would be good. First at all only 1% of flying foxes have rabies and every wild animal can carry rabies. Second only one person died in Australia due an injury from a bat. Even if you count the dead from Hendra, what is due contact with horses and not bats, the total stands at 5 in 25 years. More famers get killed due normal work on a farm each year in Queensland only. I don’t want that you change your opinion, but I’m asking you to be open to facts.

      The only what works is full enclosure netting.
      http://www.hsi.org.au/editor/assets/Actions/FruitGrowers_support_ netting.pdf

      “The populations of many of these species were balanced by the hunting practices of indigenous tribes.” How turned this out? How many were killed due white settlers? And if you want to balance the species may use the same hunting tools and not shotguns.

    • Carol Lloyd says:

      09:32am | 13/09/12

      Ah, accusing bats of spread disease is the biggest lie of them all. Bats DO NOT spread disease to humans. If you don’t touch bats you have nothing to fear from them. No sars, eboly, bubonic plaque nor Hendra. You only get Hendra from a HORSE. Don’t see any horses flying around pollinating our forests. Cruelty is cruelty and you can’t hide under the skirts of crop protection nor government ignorance. There are alternatives to shooting that actually work. What a shame that this lazy government value dollars over sustainability. All flying-fox species are in rapid decline and scientist predict that grey-head flying-foxes will gone in 50 years. Who cares I hear you say? We should all care for without our flying-foxes to pollinate and spread the seeds, Australia’s rainforests will sicken and die.  No bats, no trees. Just remember that the next time you want to blast a keystone and essential native mammals.

    • Compassion first says:

      09:35am | 13/09/12

      Gosh, publish an article about compassion/protection of animals and just watch all the redneck critics raise their ugly heads. It’s like waving a red rag to a bull.

      Seriously guys, do you realise that humans are not the be all and end all and that there are actually other species with which we share this planet? Oops, that particular animal species is getting in my way - let’s kill them all!

      You never fail to disappoint me with your arrogant and speciesist comments.

    • Anne71 says:

      12:50pm | 13/09/12

      Well said, Compassion first.  The comments I’ve seen so far from the rednecks make me think that, given the choice between them and the bats, I’d keep the bats any day.

    • egg says:

      09:43am | 13/09/12

      So sick. I really hate people sometimes - ones with guns especially, but ones who shoot animals the most.

      I couldn’t even finish reading the article.

    • Lee K Curtis says:

      09:45am | 13/09/12

      For the proponents of flying-fox shooting: How would you like to see 25% fewer native trees in our already depleted landscape? This is what would result from the disappearance of flying-foxes from our ecosytems.
      The hatred of these animals is sadly indicative of how ignorant the majority of the Australian public regarding our wildlife and its vital roles in the survival of our ecosystems and by extension our own survival.
      Please do yourself and your fellow sentient beings a favour and inform yourself prior to making blanket statements inspired by the sensation-hunting media which has no interest in the long term consequences of their short term gratification stories.
      And once and for all, there has only ever been one recorded death in this country resulting from direct contact with a flying-fox.

    • Chris L says:

      12:23pm | 13/09/12

      If the forests end up devastated for the reason you stated you’ll get to hear the very same people demanding to know why the government didn’t do something to stop it from happening.

    • M says:

      12:51pm | 13/09/12

      How would you like to see 25% fewer native trees in our already depleted landscape?

      love too. there all weeds anyway

    • MarkF says:

      01:47pm | 13/09/12

      @Lee K Curtis

      Hello Lee this is a new spin to me.  I can’t say I’ve ever hated any animal I’ve shot.  Whether its helping someone get rid of some flying foxes or hares chewing into someones pumpkins.  Going out West soon to a cousins property to try and thin out the feral dogs and foxes that are causing problems with his livestock and poultry and I don’t hate them either.

      I’ve been called on several times to put down old peoples pets because they can’t afford vet fee’s and there has been no hate there either, only a bit of sadness for the owner and the pet.

      I do miss living down south because there was nothing so yummy as a pot full of well cooked rabbit you had shot yourself.  And no I don’t get off on killing things, but I do get satisfaction out of a shot well done (yes I do range shooting as well).

      The greens can talk all their airy fairy schemes to control feral animals and yes I know shooting only gets a small proportion of them, but at the end of the day something has to be done and every little bit helps.

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      09:53am | 13/09/12

      I must be living somewhere else. I’m confused. Numbers declining? WOT?

      Missing a few fruit bats? Come to Brisbane Mr. Russell. Go to East Brisbane at Dusk. That black stuff in the air ain’t carbon. Come to my back yard where I try to grow a few paw paws, which if left to ripen on the trees (When they taste best) are destroyed. Bites taken out of all with any colour. What’s in the crap dropped into our pool?That my four y/o great grandson is wiping off his foot? The bugs that have killed horses and a few people?

      Declaring open season on flying foxes and ibis’s's (or should that be Ibi?) would be a popular move here.

      Mr Russell, you don’t have to be a red neck to dislike germ carrying, crop destroying, stinking, fouling, vermin.

      You sound like a weirdo greeny psudo intellectual type I met that claims the way to save Earth is by eliminating humans.

      Go back to your tree.

    • Anne71 says:

      12:54pm | 13/09/12

      Wow. No wonder everyone thinks we Queenslanders are all rednecks when people like you presume to speak for us.

    • Shane* says:

      09:56am | 13/09/12

      Geoff, the type of people get their jollies from ‘cruelly’ leaving flying foxes to die are not the type of people who will be put off by legislation.

      Most shooters would want a good, clean, quick kill.

      I’d wager that your vegan diet (that requires vast oceans of wheat and grain to be farmed) results in far more animal deaths in the form of field mice and insects.

    • Compassion first says:

      11:47am | 13/09/12

      Ha ha. That;s an extremely ignorant comment Shane*. Whilst being off topic, what do you think animals farmed for meat are fed? Yep, all the grains that cause the deaths of many more field mice and insects. A vegan diet actually reduces the number of deaths exponentially!

    • Shane* says:

      12:06pm | 13/09/12

      Actually, “Compassion"first, I think you’ll find that 98% of cattle raised in Australia is grass fed… Not grain fed.

      Producing a tonne of consumable beef requires far far far far far fewer deaths than producing a tonne of consumable grain.

      Check out http://theconversation.edu.au/ordering-the-vegetarian-meal-theres-more-animal-blood-on-your-hands-4659 for a full breakdown. You’ll even spot the author of this Punch article flailing (and failing) in the comment section…

      My balanced diet requires fewer animal deaths than any vegan diet.

    • Jane says:

      01:12pm | 13/09/12

      Grass feed you say Shane. Okay, well that requires land clearing, which the majority of farmers do. There goes the trees which were once home to many species of animals, maybe even flying foxes. So where do they go now??????

    • Shane* says:

      01:37pm | 13/09/12

      @Jane, you think they need to clear trees in the vast expanse of Australia’s natural grasslands?

      Wrong. Most clearing happened to accommodate grain and other crops. Cows are perfectly happy on natural grassland.

      Too many vegans/vegetarians are ideologically opposed to the idea that their diet requires more animal death than a balanced diet including red meat. I’m presenting a clear and logical reason why grain and crop production causes more death than cattle farming. In Australia, it is true. But you won’t listen.

    • Chris L says:

      04:08pm | 13/09/12

      @Shane - you’re not counting all the insects that die a horrible death after being pooped on by a cow.

    • Fenriz says:

      10:24am | 13/09/12

      Yes, we should eradicate all introduced species - including humans, as there are far too many “feral” people about the place too.  Wildlife was here first, the rabble came later.

    • Keith Hammersmith says:

      10:39am | 13/09/12

      Perhaps we shouldnt be talking about banning these culls, but rather what caliber weapon farmers are using to shoot these bats. You mention a ‘crying baby’ flying fox at the top of a tree….  really?  in a colony of hundreds of thousands people were able to discern the sound of one baby and translate that squawking to mean it was looking for its mother - who was with out a doubt shot?  Really?  Or perhaps just reading into a situation slightly?
      It is statements like this that make me question all the other ‘facts’ in your argument.

    • Beau says:

      11:04am | 13/09/12

      The associated health risks surrounding flying foxes are grossly overstated. Mostly media driven and the public eats it up.  How many people do you know have been killed by a bat related disease? Hendra and Lyssavirus have killed less than 10 people combined in this country. Maybe look at that in comparison to disease related deaths passed on between humans?
      You could live in a tent under a colony of flying foxes for a year and be fine. We know how Hendra is transferred so Horse owners should take precautions. As for Lyssavirus – don’t touch bats unless you’ve been vaccinated. Not hard.
      Famers should have their crops protected and this should be subsidised. It’s unrealistic to ‘move them on’ from populated areas. They will go to areas with appropriate habitat. They’re not over populated, that’s another myth. There in fact should be millions of them. They pollinate night blooming eucalypts over long distances, spread seed for new tree growth and play an important role in the food chain as prey for large reptiles and birds or prey. If you want to live in a baron country void of a healthy ecosystem by all means shoot them. There’s a reason Australia has the highest extinction rate of mammals worldwide. It’s greed, ignorance and a lack of education. This attitude will come back to bite us in the arse, because humans are just as reliant on the ecological health of this country as any other species.
      And don’t call them rodents. It’s a dim-witted statement as they’re more closely related to primates.

    • Joe says:

      11:24am | 13/09/12

      When I read the comments I’ve noticed that a little bit more education would be good. First at all only 1% of flying foxes have rabies and every wild animal can carry rabies. Second only one person died in Australia due an injury from a bat. Even if you count the dead from Hendra, what is due contact with horses and not bats, the total stands at 5 in 25 years. More farmers get killed due normal work on a farm each year in Queensland only. I don’t want that you change your opinion, but I’m asking you to be open to facts.

      The only what works is full enclosure netting.
      http://www.hsi.org.au/editor/assets/Actions/FruitGrowers_support_ netting.pdf

      “The populations of many of these species were balanced by the hunting practices of indigenous tribes.” How turned this out? How many were killed due white settlers? And if you want to balance the species may use the same hunting tools and not shot guns.

    • Ray says:

      11:50am | 13/09/12

      Animal righters show their hypocrisy by calling for human population growth to be reversed so as to maintain sustainability. They should wake up to the fact that it is essential for sustainable growth that fruit pests such as fruit bats are kept under tight population control. Shooting them with shot guns is one of the few effective means of doing this.

      Besides damaging fruit, it should not be forgotten that fruit bats spread the deadly Hendra virus.

    • Tony Y says:

      01:26pm | 13/09/12

      The science shows that Hendra Virus cannot be transferred from Flying Foxes to horses, check the CSIRO research paper from 1998.
      What is scary about that research was they could only infect horses with Hev from cats (no not a typo, CATS)
      How many cats do you have at home? How many cats are around stables and horses? Better start shooting them as well

    • bananabender says:

      01:59pm | 13/09/12

      Incorrect. Hendra virus is transmitted from horses to humans. We should be shooting horses not flying foxes.

    • Tony Y says:

      02:48pm | 13/09/12

      Just stating that the research infected horses from cats (not even from horses!) so if cats CAN give it to horses but bats cannot, then cats seem a high risk possibilty (higher than bats) of transmitting to humans.
      But don’t worry about shooting the horses - science is about to release a vaccine for horses (at what financial cost for research - or cost to horse owners) so they shouldn’t be infecting humans - so that’s all right then, isn’t it?

    • lawrence of australia says:

      12:36pm | 13/09/12

      No person or group has the right to drill holes in life boat Australia.. Queensland has a long history of disregard for conservation of species and seems to revel in its unethical and bad behavior.  Reviving the cruel killing of an ancient Australian on Threatened Species Day…what a nice touch. Perhaps it’s the heat.

    • Maddy Jones says:

      02:25pm | 13/09/12

      Tony Y, One paper does not prove anything other than transmission was not shown on this occasion. Welcome to science, where multiple repeated experiments are required before one can regard something as “proven”.

    • Tony Y says:

      03:52pm | 13/09/12

      Unfortunately science has been a bit lax here. No more research appears to have been done on transmission except for a few limited tests with insects as a vector. All have failed so therefore by your own argument it is not ‘proven’ that Flying Foxes transmit Hev. Ergo anything that is ‘shown’ to have transmitted the virus (such as cats)  has to be considered a higher risk even hypothetically.
      The other big question about the research is ‘why have mosquitos been largley ignored as a vector’.
      Oh and the original research discarded birds (after no apparent testing) as being a host because ‘transmission of paramoxyvirusus from birds to mammals is uncommon’
      So some pretty poor ‘science’ all around I reckon
      One last thing, I am not new to science having been a mathematician with Shell Research for several years

    • Amy says:

      03:16pm | 13/09/12

      When ever I see an article pop up by you Geoff, I am equally excited and scared. Excited because I enjoy your writing and almost 100% of the time agree with you, but scared because reading the comments (I am a masochist) always leaves me so depressed. It’s so important that you’re here to give animals a voice, I will always listen smile

    • MarkF says:

      05:37pm | 13/09/12

      Oh please I think my eyeballs are bleeding reading this.

      Giving them a voice like the mob calling themselves Without a Voice.  The ones whose idea of dealing with the feral cat problem was to catch the cats, desex them then let them loose in the wild again to kill native animals for another 10 or 15 years?

      I’m all for the environment but common sense has to creep in somewhere.

    • cedric says:

      04:16pm | 13/09/12

      Yeah well, what about ants eh? You never see a humane way of killing ants. I’ve seen blokes out camping, pitched their tent on a bull ants nest. Bloke wakes up in the night, ants all over his arse, what does he do? He slaps the little buggers, and jumps up and down on the tent floor in a frenzy, and kills more of these critters.  Now don’t tell me that’s killing them humanely. Cruel bastards.

    • stephen says:

      04:44pm | 13/09/12

      Every time I see a tree full of them hanging upsidedown, swinging toandfro, I can think of only one word ... Bazooka.

    • Max Rockastansky says:

      05:16pm | 13/09/12

      Disease carrying, destructive pests. Shoot them all. Same as rats.

      Flying foxes do not feel pain when shot, the hydrostatic shock shuts down their nervous system.

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      05:24pm | 13/09/12

      Red neck? From reading this a Red neck could be defined as anyone not off with the fairies.

      Animals, I love; proper animals I mean.

      I don’t own a dog or a cat.

      We are visited by 2 Kookaburras, 6 Magpies, 2 butcher birds and three crows every day. Last spring 2 wild ducks arrived and we had 8 ducklings in our pool for a few weeks.

      We have skinks and possums and a bluetongue. All welcome.

      None of them do any damage or cause any risk.

      If a couple of flying foxes came down I would feed them fruit.

      But two’s company, a skyfull is a crowd; a problem. Even a dozen screeching and ripping into every piece of fruit on the trees are NOT welcome.

      I can’t grab them like I can the cane toads. I can’t lock them out like the dogs. but I could happily shoot them like cats that invade my space.

    • xar says:

      05:26pm | 13/09/12

      The comments seem to suggest biosecurity QLD’s community survey is going to find the level of ignorance around flying foxes and bats to be quite high. It is a ridiculous shame to let such lovely creatures be persecuted because people are ignorant or just enjoy killing things without thought or consideration. Shame on Newman, he should be focusing on providing fiunding for the vaccinations needed to become a wildlife carer for bats/flying foxes instead of ok-ing inhumane treatment.

 

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