Would you brake for a cane toad? A kangaroo? A cat?
Roadkill is a reality of Australian life.
Drivers should slow down, be aware, and avoid killing native animals without putting their own lives in danger. Other animals, though, may not deserve so much care.
You shouldn’t run down kangaroos, for example - but cats could be another matter.
Wicked Campers - providers of psychedelic patchouli and body odour-scented vans to cash-strapped backpackers dependent on two-minute noodles and goonbags - are in strife.
They had stickers on 1000 of their hire vans that read: ``Kangaroo’s: run the f(*&kers down’’ (in some instances it was `run the buggers down’).
Once you quell the red-raw rage that comes from the inappropriate use of apostrophes, you’ll realise it’s also a fairly abhorrent idea.
Boss John Webb defended the stickers.
He said his kangaroo-loving clients risked rolling the campers when they swerved to save the life of our emblematic animal. So he advised them to mow them down instead.
That excuse was never going to stop the righteous animal activists of the world from having a crack. OK, they’re right that it was stupid, inappropriate and probably encouraged our backpacking brethren to target poor roos. Not to mention a roo is likely to leave you in a bad, bad way if you hit it. So, overall, stupid.
But they don’t have to be so earnest about it.
There may be a place for a `run the f***ers down’ campaign, perhaps with a little less outright aggression. But it’d have to be far more strategic.
Certainly any pegless clothesline, Leatherman and Teva-toting visitor to our shores - or any grey nomad or Britz van driver for that matter - should learn it is acceptable - nay, desirable - to mow down cane toads. Make that one a national sport.
Cats? Ah, cats. Ferals are not worth slowing down for - but the problem is the difficulty telling whether the slinking creature in front of you is a wild beast that will single handedly eat every last surviving purple-crested bandiroo, or if it’s Auntie May’s sole, toothless companion.
But hypothetically speaking, if you can see that it’s the former rather than the latter, the world is a better place without it.
Hares aren’t killers, but they are pests, so don’t feel too guilty if one of them goes under the wheels.
Foxes you should never feel too bad about - although baby foxes are bloody cute, the sight of a chicken that’s met one of the deadly ginger bastards is most decidedly not.
The main problem is you just don’t generally have time (especially on country roads) to work out whether the moving thing up ahead is friend or foe.
And I’m not sure how many people would, even once they’ve identified that the potential roadkill is something that should be eradicated, have the intestinal fortitude to deliberately run it over.
Roadkill. It’s a fact of life. But all drivers should be trained - maybe using one of those movie-style shooting practice ranges where different silhouettes pop up - what is worth even attempting to avoid.
And judging by the amount of decomposing roos I’ve seen on the side of the road lately, plenty of drivers could use a refresh. But no one should feel they need to jam on the brakes, putting their own life at risk, to avoid hitting one of our many deadly and destructive pests.
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