Toxic toad hunt proposed in Australia

April 2, 2008 7:18:37 PM PDT
An Australian politician on Wednesday proposed designating a special day for residents to hunt and kill what he called one of the world's most disgusting creatures: the poisonous cane toad. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has said it backs the plan by Queensland state lawmaker Shane Knuth to launch "Toad Day Out," but only if the creatures are killed in a humane way, such as euthanizing them in a freezer.

"Obviously we're not idiots. We understand a lot people will be highly reluctant to fill their fridges and freezers with dying cane toads, but at the moment that is the only humane way that we can recommend," said Michael Beatty, the society's spokesman.

The toads were imported from South America to Australia's northeastern state of Queensland in 1935 in a failed attempt to control beetles on sugar cane plantations. They now threaten many local species.

Knuth said he wanted "a special day that Queenslanders, especially children, could all play their part."

"The toad is probably the greatest environmental vermin and probably the most disgusting creature known to man," he said.

Knuth has long campaigned against the pests. Last year he suggested a bounty of 36 cents per toad.

Queensland's Department of Primary Industries said it was important that native frogs are not mistaken for toads during any hunt.


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