Friday, September 29, 2017


During a farming life of over forty years a dominating facet was a war against Possums more correctly named Trichosurus vulpecula an Australian assisted immigrant introduced around the second  quarter of the 1800s to begin a fur trade. Such a modern abomination was all the rage back then before petrochemicals created  the clothing options of the present day. Of course all that is superimposed on how many of those SJWs now  holding their weapons trained on that exploitive extraction by a finite resource based industry.

 My total war on Possums began in the early sixties when as an itinerant shepherd working dogs on native clad hillsides, a major potential impediment to success came from the furry marsupials hiding in scattered flax plants.
Too often dogs suddenly became diverted by the scent of the pest and conversion to possum hunter overcame the sheperding task at hand.  So moving and directing scattered small mobs of sheep into larger mobs to be headed to the gate for a next move, often at the direction of a barking huntaway then became fraught.
When the alternative became the task for a distracted dog it rapidly   became almost deprived of it's bark from possum fur placing a temporary gagging from a clogged voice box and without a bark a huntaway is as useful as a soggy ice cream cone on a wet day.

That became a first reason to kill the Australian interloper.

Offensive behavior next reared its ugly self as a destructive facet of home gardening both decorative and in food provision. Particularly in spring when new growth and emerging plants are so attractive to the marsupials brought to NZ by well intentioned persons who in ignorance of just how prolific and fertile the protected species from the West Isle would become in this verdant and eco friendly land,  a very personal and increasingly murderous cohabitation became a  further hazzard for the possum families.

Then farm ownership with mixed beef and sheep became threatened with Possums as a vector in the spread of Bovine  Tuberculosis or Tb. Closely related to a scourge of humans in previous centuries,  that in our lifetime saw most children given an inoculation on their upper arm that left a significant scar.
Living in bush and exotic plantations that proliferate in and on the margins of much of NZ pastoral enterprise, possums move out of the woodlands onto pasture for food and alas those marsupials infected with TB become walking suppurating pustules smearing grass with live Tb organisms to be ingested by grazing cattle who in turn become infected and not able to be passed fit for human consumption. I have never farmed Deer but they are also susceptible to such infections.
Bovine TB in the latter half of the 20th century threatened the very survival of NZ beef and venison.
industries as many trading partners wanted to exclude produce from nations with endemic Tb.
Badgers are a similr vector in Europe

A concerted campaign of herd testing and a concentrated attack on posums has seen the  almost elimination of Bovine Tb in NZ.

So arose a third reason for all out war with poisoning, shooting and trapping of the hoard that had often seen a farming life punctuated with an almost nightly campaigns. I claim some degree of success, in two decades in The Wairarapa with seven neighbouring properties all moving into and out of movement control of their herds from Tb reactors discovered in the annual test, we remained Tb free with the highest Tb Free status acheivable over that time.
A most economical and effective control substance in possum control has been and remains 1080 or sodium fluroacetate,  a much misunderstood and maligned, yet still widely used toxin.

Through all this almost intractable problem one serious concerted opposition factor has been present, the almost insatiable mood in international opposition to humans wearing fur that has gained so greatly from ill informed A through Z listers who identified farmed mustelids the providers of most now banned fur apparel options as garments of fashion.
Possum fur was included as an unjustified condemned fur in spite of fact based status the animal was a declared pest that threatened many species of bird life along with the well documented threat to livestock farming.
Ignorance outweighed reason.
Then in a major step forward, Possum fur became a popular blend of thermal clothing as Merino/Mink developed in NZ and rapidly became established and avoiding the opprobrium applied wrongly to its fur status, gave renewed impetus to a fur industry that was promised in 1837.

In recent news PETA, a bunch of moronic collaborators with mindless opposition to man living alongside animals for many facets of enjoyment and survival from a symbiotic coexistant relationship.
Horses that can provide a challenge to human endeavour in Rodeo have been condemned as being exploitated when the alternative might well be an early death at the knackers. Likewise Bulls and calves without any consultation as to alternatives for them, are condemned when they are used in a sport based on range life with minimal fences and yards.
Now some will find an ambient understanding of animals being exploited in Rodeo and should a  prohibition come to pass then show jumping, cross country, dressage,  police mounts, steeple-chasing horse racing, harness racing with sulkies, huskies pulling sleds and who knows what else will become a means for a public image from activity human/animal survival has thrown up, and will offend these social justice warriors. Golly gosh even using St Bernard Dogs to find avalanche victims and other highly  trained dogs finding survivors of earthquakes could become subject to elimination.

Most of the sheep in the world have been developed to retain their fleece of wool beyond a winter protection from cold and a resulting harvest is needed for the comfort of the animal with a bonus of providing fibre for spinning and weaving into garments and coverings for floors and walls. Natural beyond the beliefs of most,  wool is indeed an answer to the prayers of conservationists world wide as an ultimate sustainable activity in a world increasingly in the sights of a growing number questioning, often irrationally what such terminology actually tries to achieve..
The Morons at PETA have embarked on a crusade to outlaw "shearing of sheep" and if thats not sufficiently deluded thinking then just slaughter all wool bearing sheep as eventually things will end badly.
If becoming "cast" on their back unable to regain their feet it will end with dehydration and death. Should  that excruciating end be avoidedanother equally fatal end awaits from possible overheating or inability to travel for fodder will likewise cause premature demise. Add in a high probability for Flystrike when Flies lay eggs in moist fleece and emerging maggots in their lifecycle will cause rapid dehydration and death for the unwilling host, additionally and far more "gross"  some fly species find additional nutrient from invading the carcass through healthy skin surfaces while natural orifices can also enable invasive attacks.

Some sheep species will survive a no shearing regime with early shedding and very short and sparse wool cover, however a majority of NZ breeds have been selectively bred for wool production to a level that sees certain longwool species being shorn twice yearly or at 8/9 month intervals.

In support of their unwarranted attack, PETA used Australian examples of bad tempered shearers mistreating  sheep, very rare in NZ shearing activity in my over forty years of observation and rapidly leading to a quick end to a career as a shearer,but why would PETA allow such minor fraudulent footage from being used in their latest foray of sensationalized attention seeking.

The latest adventure by PETA into the real world should hve been ignored by a media with a skerrik of common sense, but sensing a click bait opportunity, alas the hopeless gave the irrelevant oxygen.

Had I the power, I would place all the PETA morons on say the Auckland Islands with a knife some fishing lines and hooks, a few seeds and let them discover where Human progress actually came from. Should death come from their disastrous ignorance then that would be a message truely worthy of publicity in an increasingly sad MSM.


Anonymous said...

That's not a post, that's a novel.

Lord Egbut

Anonymous said...

Spot on, my Lord, and a rather incomprehensible novel at that.

The Veteran said...

Incomprehensible only to those who care nowt about farming.