Name and Shame Time

Gareth MorganEnvironmentLeave a Comment

I get pretty sick of faceless organisations whose senior people fail to stand up and face the music when they make blunders or outrageous claims. Despite unleashing its obscene affront to New Zealand’s native heritage a week ago and inciting the expected outrage, not one member of the SPCA has stood up personally to be accountable. Don’t you hate it when corporate types hide behind a logo? Those of us objecting to the SPCA’s outrage have to stand up personally and take the opprobrium from their apologists, so a level playing field demands they do as well.

So that there be no misunderstanding let’s repeat the logical flaw in the SPCA’s latest assault on New Zealand’s natural heritage.

The SPCA says the reason it objects to toxins (all toxins apparently, so fly spray included) is because the victims death is “cruel, inhumane”. There’s no disagreement from me that the death is one of suffering. But to appreciate the flaw in this as an argument (and it’s the only argument they’re mounting) against aerial 1080, consider the alternative we’re left with if the SPCA was granted its wish. It is just as cruel, just as human-instigated, and just as “inhumane”.

The experts in conservation (including for instance the taxpayer-funded Department of Conservation, Environment Protection Agency and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment) have assessed the balance of evidence to tell us that without aerial 1080 our battle for the birds and fauna will be lost. That is the expert consensus, and the basis on which the political parties involved in successive governments have formulated the aerial 1080 policy – including the Greens, National, Labour, NZ First and ACT. The SPCA has zero expertise in this area and as far as we’re aware has not commissioned any expertise to contest this consensus.

The logical outcome then of following the SPCA’s advice on 1080 would be to subject our wildlife to a cruel and inhumane extinction. It would be human-instigated because we are the ones who introduced these mammalian pests, who have subjected our defenceless wildlife to predation on a scale that guarantees its extinction. We are the sponsors of this cruelty, no excuses.

So what the SPCA is saying then is that subjecting our wildlife to cruel and inhumane slaughter is preferable to subjecting the introduced pests to the same. By some pious, faux authoritarian decree these people think they have the right to tell us which form of cruelty to impart. The lack of logic is gob-smacking.

While the SPCA provides a second order and extremely weak claim that someone should spend money “developing humane alternatives”, this a complete straw man for a number of reasons. Firstly, many of us including the government are doing just that, but as yet alternatives do not exist and quite possibly never will. Arguably gene drives (genetic modification) holds the best hope in future, but there is much work to be done there. And the pace of destruction of our species is accelerating because we have not used aerial 1080 enough. This was the conclusion of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and as far as I’m aware no evidence at all has been produced to contest that finding.

So, take it as read that the SPCA hasn’t a clue in terms of any alternatives and of course it is not offering to help fund any either. Apparently, it would rather spend its donation funding on the Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) policy, supporting stray cat colonies that roam and slaughter our wildlife at will.

Let’s repeat the point, lest you didn’t grasp it already. When humankind sets one set of animals out to destroy another the SPCA is normally the first one to object. So cock fights or dog fights are understandably unlawful. But to the extent that without aerial 1080 we cannot arrest the proliferation of human-introduced mammalian pests (and a wandering cat is one of those Bob Kerridge) then we are as guilty as sponsoring a cock fight, we are deliberately subjecting one set of animals who have not evolved defences, to the whim and appetite of predators that we have introduced and set upon them. Not acting makes us guilty of the cruelty that the SPCA objects to – it’s just another means and on another set of animals being preyed upon.

And – this is most important – the only way to act given current technology is aerial 1080. That is the unanimous opinion of the organisations batting for our species, listed above. The SPCA has nothing, absolutely nothing to add to that state of knowledge.

Who then are these nutbars that have led the SPCA in New Zealand so far astray from the charter followed by SPCA’s internationally? Who in its outfit is playing God and telling us all that one form of cruelty should be preferred over another, that we should prioritise the lives of introduced pests over our native species that are defenceless in the face of this slaughter?

The profiles of the leadership group follow. Can I suggest you get in touch with any of them you may know maybe by Googling their contacts directly and tell them what you think of (a) their perverted preferences around cruelty, (b) their callous disregard for NZ’s wildlife, and (c) the SPCA’s ongoing collection of donations under false pretences that it applies to a set of assaults on New Zealand’s ecology.

You will notice that none of their profiles demonstrate any expertise in environmental protection or in the psychology of cruelty. Presumably then they have taken professional advice on both to arrive at their positions on TNR and 1080. How about you ask them for those analyses?

1. Chairperson – Gordon Trainer – accountant, Auckland.
2. CEO – Andrea Midgen – corporate executive, Auckland.
3. Board Member – Bice Awan – health and disability expert, Wellington.
4. Board Member – David Broderick, banker and manager, Canterbury.
5. Board Member – Geraldine Brookman, solicitor and charities expert, Christchurch.
6. Board Member – Siobhan Hale-Pennington solicitor and health and safety expert, Wellington.
7. Board Member – Robyn Kiddle – Charitable Organisation CEO, Auckland.
8. Board Member – Bobbie O’Fee – accountant, Palmerston North.
9. Board Member – Natasha Whiting – HR professional, Auckland.

We come now to the question which Forest & Bird has asked of these people. Are they just naïve do-gooders suffering from a logical bypass or is there a more sinister intent underlying the decision-making in this organisation?

In my view it is the latter. Here’s why. I have dealt with this outfit over its disgusting practice of TNR that supports cats wandering and killing for kicks. Their predilection to prefer the rights of introduced, wandering cats over all other forms of wildlife makes them, in my book, complete dropkicks. There is no excuse for it, SPCAs overseas do not practice this – we have in my opinion serious ignorance and callous disregard for wildlife pervading the leadership echelon of the SPCA.

Finally, some folk have run an argument with me that the SPCA does good work. Let me say I agree with that 100% but, it is no excuse for its ecologically destructive practices. To condemn New Zealand’s defenceless wildlife to an horrific extinction through advocacy in areas well beyond its area of expertise is utter incompetence.

I would be the first to donate to the SPCA if it stuck to what it has expertise in – cruelty to livestock and domestic pets (just look at the mug shots of its leadership group to see where their priority lies), and kept well clear of assaulting our natural heritage using a contradictory argument on cruelty that can’t withstand scrutiny.

Through TNR and opposing aerial 1080 the NZSPCA has degenerated into an instrument of ecological terrorism.

Name and Shame Time was last modified: January 14th, 2019 by Gareth Morgan
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Gareth Morgan