Retired sprint cyclists to donate their muscles to charity.

Professional sprint cyclists will donate their unwanted leg muscles to charity upon retirement to give recreational riders a new level of speed and power.

“Retired cyclists don’t need their leg muscles,” announced a spokesperson for the charity.

“This initiative allows those riders to donate their muscles to a recreational rider and to see those muscles re-used. Sprint cyclists work extremely hard to build their extraordinary muscles so it is great to see those muscles will not go to waste. It’s also another way for cyclists to give back to their sport.”

Thousands of local riders have already signed up for the program, and have requested muscles from one track star in particular.

“Robert Forstemann.”

“Every local rider wants Quadzilla’s thighs. Even though he’s still competing, he has promised to donate them to the charity when he retires from international competition. The muscles are so big we actually plan to divide them and distribute them to about 10 different people – no single amateur rider can handle thighs that big.”

“We’re also offering Thighs of the Realm, from Sir Chris Hoy and Elis Ligtlee, who is a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. Muscles were also donated by Shane Kelly, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, plus Kristina Vogel, Anastasia Voynova and the recently retired duo of Stephanie Morton and Anna Meares.”

Road cyclists have also agreed to participate in the program. German sprinter Andre ‘Gorilla’ Greipel will donate his calf muscles when he retires to concentrate on his singing career. Dylan Groenewegen and Erik Zabel are offering their pistons, and Mario Cipollini’s muscles come with a free waxing and tanning kit.

Each set of muscles comes with a diet and workout guide to help maintain the muscles, as well as a free pair of custom-made jeans which will actually fit over the ample legs.

The program is so popular organisers are requesting muscles from current riders, and may expand the program’s remit to include other body parts.

“We’ve made contact with Peter Sagan, whose muscles have been requested by road cyclists, sprinters, puncheurs and mountain bikers. Marianne Vos, Wout van Aert and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot have been swamped with requests, and everyone wants Mathieu Van der Poel’s legs, heart, lungs…

Image: http://www.gettyimages.com

Australian Labor Party: The Clayton’s opposition.

The current Australian Labor Party is the Clayton’s opposition: the opposition you have when you’re not having an opposition.

The current Labor Party draws its inspiration from Clayton’s beer, which was a non-alcoholic beer whose slogan read: ‘Clayton’s, the drink you have when you’re not having a drink.’

Clayton’s existed to offer Australians, particularly men, the chance to avoid drinking beer but appear to be drinking beer. Clayton’s looks exactly like beer and allowed patrons at pubs or social gatherings to avoid teasing or criticism from their peers. At the height of Clayton’s popularity, men in particular were expected to drink beer in every social setting, and to drink a lot, or risk having their masculinity or sexuality questioned. Indeed, the saying went;

‘Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.’

The current federal Labor Party embodies the spirit of Clayton’s beer because it offers the appearance of an opposition party, but in reality it is not an opposition party.

In reality, the current Labor Party offers no genuine alternative to the current government. The Labor Party supports the LNP in many policy areas, even those which contradict with the founding principles of the party. Labor continually contradicts itself on climate policy, and it has been unable to protect the rights of workers or to increase wages.

As a result, the Australia voting public is fooled into thinking it has a functioning opposition party and an alternative to the current government, but in practical terms it doesn’t. A recent reshuffle of the federal Labor government placed different members in different portfolios, but only time will tell if this makes any real difference to the operation of the party. Their current slogan is “On Your Side”, but whose side is that?

In many cases, Labor gives the impression of being beholden to the right wing elements of the party.

What is a right wing Labor member?

A Liberal?

What is an ineffectual opposition party?

A Clayton’s opposition party?

Image: Matt Palmer

Ban cat breeding in Australia.

It’s time to outlaw the breeding of cats in Australia. It’s time to reduce the number of cats in the country and start protecting native wildlife.

Cats are the single most destructive introduced species in the country and continued breeding will simply add to the number of cats and to the destruction of native animals. Cats that are bred in Australia primarily become pets or show cats and statitics indicate that most pet cats contribute greatly to the destruction of native wildlife.

Cats are estimated to kill about 1.5 billion native animals per annum in Australia. This destruction is the work of domestic cats, stray cats and feral cats. All of these cats are derived from pet cats. Feline species have never been native to Australia.

Breeding cats have the potential to cause great ecological harm because the animals are not de-sexed. While cat breeders may argue that they are responsible animal carers who find a home for all of their litter, the statistics indicate that many baby cats become stray or feral. Furthermore, once a kitten or cat is sold, the breeder has no control over the actions of that cat.

Cat breeding caters to a niche market. The cats are sold to people who desire a particular breed over another because owners believe a certain breed makes a better companion or a better show cat. There are currently 48 recognised cat breeds in the country, as well as various cross breeds. Owners insist on buying a particular breed, and this necessitates cat breeding. But no one needs a particular breed of cat – they can always choose from the remainder of the 48 breeds offered in Australia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 1994, only 26% of domestic cats were confined both during the day and night. This means 74% of cats where roaming happily, hunting and destroying native wildlife. In the same year, 42,126 cats were dumped on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Only 3% of the cats were reclaimed and 74% were put down. Allowing the breeding of cats simply adds to the potential number of cats which will be dumped, stray or feral.

Cat breeders would no doubt object to the introduction of this law. They operate a legal business which generates income, but the animals they introduce to the Australian landscape cause unparalleled damage to the country’s wildlife.

What about other animals?

Opponents of such a law would argue that a blanket ban on the breeding of other animals must then also be introduced. If not, this is an unfair imposition on cat breeding businesses and an act of discrimination. However, the simple fact is that other animals do not cause as much damage to Australia’s wildlife.

People will import cats.

If people can’t obtain a cat of a certain breed of cat within Australia, they will simply import one from overseas. Authorities must therefore ban the importation of cats into Australia to support the ban on breeding.

Feral cats threaten at least 124 Australian species which are in danger of extinction, and cats are a major reason that Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world – not per capita – outright. Attempts to reduce this destruction are ongoing and include feral cat eradication, stray cat control, de-sexing and domestic cat containment. These methods all carry their own complications, but banning cat breeding is a less complicated strategy.

Feral cat eradication

Feral cat eradication programs continue throughout the nation, with limited success. Feral cats occupy an estimated 99.8% of the Australian continent, can weigh up to 9 kilograms and have directly contributed to extinctions of more than 20 Australian mammals. The destruction continues because feline species are excellent hunters and are intelligent and thus hard to trap. They exist in many inaccessible areas and current eradication methods are not working well enough. It is thought there are more than 6 million feral cats roaming the country, and importing more cats into the country potentially adds to this number.

Stray cat control and elimination

Stray cats are no one’s responsibility. They roam urban and rural areas, killing native wildlife. They were all once domestic cats, or the litter of domestic cats.

Domestic cat containment

Most cat owners are responsible.

False.

Statistics disprove this theory.

A small percentage of owners keep their cats inside or provide an enclosed cat run in which their cats can play while outside the house. Many allow their cats outside during the day, where they are still able to kill. Others argue their pets are allowed only as far as their own garden, but even in a private garden, a cat can and will kill native wildlife. Most pet cats are allowed to roam free and kill with impunity, and importing cats into the country creates more pet cats, and more potential killers.

De-sexing

Many cat owners think de-sexing is enough. In many cases, de-sexing simply allows owners to absolve themselves of responsibility for the destruction their pets cause. Even a de-sexed cat will kill many native animals during its lifetime if it is allowed to roam freely.

Banning the breeding of cats in Australia will not solve the cat problem. It will, however, limit the number of cats in the country overall and will support existing efforts to reduce the deadly impact of Australia’s most destructive introduced species.

Image: Jae Park

Companies reject offer to partner with Australia’s Liberal National Party.

Numerous companies have rejected offers to link with Australia’s federal coalition after discovering that the party intended to use their brands to promote a message of whiteness.

Companies selling products as diverse as toothpaste, electronics, food, cosmetics and laundry powder received offers of brand partnerships from the Liberal National Party (LNP) and other parties, but quickly and adamantly rejected them on ethical grounds.

Companies such as Buttercup, Civant, Skin Doctor, Colgate, Oral B, Harvey Norman and Persil were approached, but quickly and emphatically declined the offer.

Whiter skin

The LNP approached a number of companies in the cosmetics industry whose products promise to whiten a user’s skin.

“Many of our members received an offer to team up with the federal coalition,” read a statement from the cosmetics industry.

“The LNP wanted to align themselves with products such as Meladerm, White Lucent cream and Skin Doctor Whitening Cream, all of which promise optimal whitening of a user’s skin. The coalition were desparate to associate themselves with products which could make the Australian population whiter.”

“Our industry emphatically declined the offer and asked the coalition to never contact us in the future.”

White Thick, Mighty Soft

Buttercup claims the company was approached by the Prime Minister himself. Scott Morrison was reportedly excited to create a marketing campaign around the bread called White Thick.

“Mr Morrison sought a brand affiliation with the White Thick loaf,” explained Buttercup.

“He said it created positive associations with whiteness, and that the word Thick describes their intellectual approach to government, as well as the physical stature of Craig Kelly and George Christensen, and close ally Clive Palmer.”

The PM apparently also liked the phrase Mighty Soft because it reflects the LNP’s acquiescence to Rupert Murdoch and the fossil fuel industry, and their fear of the extreme right wing voters they work so hard to appease.

White Goods

Morrison also made overtures to companies such as Harvey Norman, Bing Lee and The Good Guys, because they sell white goods.

While Gerry Harvey is said to have shown some interest, the directors of Bing Lee and The Good Guys swiftly declined the offer.

“We were amazed the PM would make such an offer to a company named after a Chinese-Australian family, but then Mr Morrison told us he always thought Bing Lee was named after a former Aussie fast bowler. When he recovered from his shock, he told us the party was very interested in companies who were able to merge the words ‘White’ and ‘Good’ – he thought that was quite clever.”

Another white goods retailer told the LNP,

“No. You’re not the good guys!”

Laundry company Persil also attracted the attention of the current ruling party.

“The LNP were very keen to adopt our famous slogan “Whiter than White” because they said it embodies their core ideology and their vision for Australia. We rejected their offer because we simply produce laundry detergent and that has nothing to do with race or politics.”

Separate whites and colours

Many more laundry brands have since come forward with reports of overtures from the LNP, as well as other fringe parties and candidates such as Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party.

“Essentially they were excited by the habit of separating whites from colours, and they said this is a practice they would like to see adopted in Australian society in general. They claimed that mixing whites and colours forces colours to leak and stain the whites, therefore ruining the white ones forever.”

“We reminded the party representatives that separating whites and colours in broader society is the definition of apartheid – and they reacted with horror at the use of that word, claiming that the Australian government has never used that word to describe its policies. They didn’t deny the existence of apartheid in Australia, just the word itself.”

“Semantics aside, our industry made it very clear to Mr Morrison and his colleagues that this is a marketing strategy we would never endorse.”

Whiter smiles

Whiter smiles are something the LNP would also like to see, not just within its own membership, but in Australian society in general, according to the oral care industry.

Companies such as Oral B and Colgate Palmolive were contacted on the basis that their products keep things white, and that whiteness represents the epitome of teeth. The oral care industry was also swift in rejecting the branding offer and sternly rejected any associations with the undertones of white supremacy within the current Australian government.

“We did, however, remind Mr Morrison of the importance of flossing and brushing daily, especially if he wants to maintain his famous smirk.”

Image: http://www.gettyimages.com.au

What about Sydney?

Where are the Emus in Emu Plains,

Did they run off to Emu Heights?

How many red ferns remain in Redfern, and

Were other body parts thrown in Liverpool?

Was the view ever beautiful at Bella Vista?

Do learned gentlemen ply the waterways at Wiseman’s Ferry?

Does life smell sweeter at Lavender Bay, and

Is it Christmas year round in Merrylands?

Do coral reefs fringe Blair Athol, and

Is the water still fresh at Freshwater?

Can I go skiing at Glen Alpine, and

Is Neutral Bay popular with the Swiss?

Will I see acres of greenery at Greenacre, and

Are many children conceived at Rooty Hill?

Are horses still fed at Haymarket, and

Will I get shot at Hunters Hill?

Where is the forest in Frenchs Forest, and

Must I speak French in La Perouse?

How many real men live in Manly?

How many Roses grow in Rose Bay?

What time is Mass at Quakers Hill, and

Do they shear sheep at Warwick Farm?

Do any black heathens live in Blackheath, and

Will I find love at Kissing Point?

Can Skippy be spotted at Kangaroo Point?

Do whales still frolic at Whale Beach?

What’s so great about Alexandria, and

What’s new in Newtown?

Will a field of lilies great me at Lilyfield?

Do any banksias thrive in Banksia?

Can I take lunch at Breakfast Point, and

Does Morning Bay’s beauty wane by midday?

Has all the rush been cut from Rushcutters Bay?

Does anyone care about Sans Souci?

Do any republicans live in Queenscliff?

Should I avoid Edgecliff if I suffer from vertigo, and

Is adrenaline promised while traversing Ropes Crossing?

Are there any orchards at Orchard Hills,

or any wattles at Wattle Grove?

Do high achievers live in Pennant Hills, and

Does the world end at Ultimo?

Australia’s biggest fear.

Australia is afraid. It is home to the world’s deadliest snakes, to poisonous marine stingers and deadly crocodiles. It suffers through annual floods, fires and cyclones, and dangerous spiders lurk in its undergrowth. But something else terrifies Australia: History.

Australians are afraid of their own history. A deep fear of acknowledging its past paralyses Australia and prevents the majority of its citizens from making public statements about the colonisation of the land and the suffering of Aboriginal people.

Politicians are afraid to acknowldge the truth of Australian history.

The current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is afraid. In 2020, he publicly declared that there was no slavery in Australia. He later qualified the statement with obfuscation in order to extricate himself from a PR disaster, but he never acknowledged that slavery did exist in Australia.

On a separate occasion, the PM dismissed the suffering of indigenous Australians when he said,

“You know, when those 12 ships turned up in Sydney, it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either.”

He was referring to the First Fleet, which carried colonisers from Great Britain and began the dispossession of Aboriginal land in 1788. There were only 11 ships.

Scott Morrison is not stupid. He attended an academically-selective high school and he holds university qualifications. He is also a master of marketing (many Australians argue that’s all he is). Morrison knows the consequences of telling the truth. He knows he has to appease the ignorant, racist, lowly-educated constituency which keeps him and his party in power.

Slavery occured in Australia. It was called ‘Blackbirding’ in some places, and called ‘education’ in others – it was never called slavery.

Blackbirding lured indigenous Australians and people from islands north of Australia to the mainland with the promise of work and high wages. Upon arrival at the farm, the workers were not paid for their work, were treated horrendously, forced to work in stifling tropical heat and horrible conditions, and were prevented from leaving or returning to their homelands.

When indigenous children were stolen from their families, they were ‘educated’ in the ways of the white man then sent to work for white families. Girls were normally set to work as domestic servants, while boys were forced to be farmhands. They were not paid. This is slavery.

Wave Hill walk-off

Another example of exploitation led to the Wave Hill walk-off. Some Australians learned about it in their history classes, some learned about it through the Paul Kelly song: From Little Things Big Things Grow.

The original inhabitants of Wave Hill, the Gurindji people, sustained the vast cattle station. In return, children under 12 were forced to work, accommodation and rations were inadequate, Aboriginal women were sexually abused and forced into prostitution for rations and clothing. There was no safe drinking water, nor sanitation or rubbish removal. In August, 1966, the Gurindji walked off under the leadership of Vincent Lingiari.

Furthermore, many indigenous Australians are still trying to recoup unpaid wages to this day.

The Prime Minister is not the only politician with a selective memory. The current opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, recently omitted a crucial paragraph from a speech about indigenous Australian soldiers. Albanese recognised the indigenous Australians who have fought in many wars for Australia, but it was later discovered he had omitted the following paragraph:

“A continent for which their ancestors had fought so desperately during the frontier wars-wars we have not yet learned to speak of so loudly.”

Albanese was happy to mention overseas wars, but left out the paragraph about the war on Australian soil between British colonisers and indigenous people. He left out the paragraph which concedes that Australians do not talk about colonisation – do not talk about the truth of our history.

Why have we not yet learned to speak of it so loudly?

Albanese’s office later claimed the omission was unintentional. Maybe it was, or maybe Albanese and the Labor party also feel desperate to appease the racist majority-especially since a federal election is expected this year. Thus, the current leaders of both of Australia’s major parties have failed to publicly acknowledge the truth of Australians history.

The national broadcaster is also afraid. The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) initially referred to January 26 as Invasion Day and not Australia Day in 2021. The label Invasion Day recognises the colonisation of the land, as opposed to the peaceful settlement myth perpetuated in some history books. The ABC soon removed Invasion Day from all official publications and replaced the term with Australia Day.

History is political

Politicians determine the curriculum taught to Australian school students. Until recently, Aussie school kids learned that Aboriginal people were ‘primitive’ and ‘savages’. That they were simply ‘nomads’ who wandered the continent living hand-to-mouth, devoid of science, culture or technology. Students were also taught that Australia was ‘settled’ and not ‘invaded’, that the British were ‘settlers’ and not ‘colonisers’.

Textbooks soften the truth. Many Australians learned that indigenous people died in large numbers due to the introduction of disease for which they had no immune system, and not as a result of murder. Many politicians fought, and continue to fight, to keep this version of history in the school curriculum, and while the teaching material has changed, it is not always becoming more truthful.

Apartheid

Apartheid existed in Australia. Most Australians don’t know, or don’t want to admit, that this is true. The incident at Moree pool proves the existence of apartheid. Aboriginal people were officially excluded from the public swimming pool in the rural NSW town of Moree. Summer gets very hot in Moree. A group of Aboriginal activists visited the town in 1965 and attempted to enter the pool with local indigenous children. Three hours of debate and tension followed, during which fights broke out and non-Aboriginal locals threw eggs at protestors.

Moree Council eventually rescinded the by-law and Aboriginal people were allowed to swim at the pool. Aussies are happy to criticise South Africa for its apartheid, but are largely reluctant to admit its existence in Australia. Or, as one white South African once told me,

“South Africa is not the only country with apartheid, the mistake they made was giving it a name.”

Why is Australia so afraid of its history?

Why are so many Australians afraid to tell the truth about their past?

Racism.

Australia is a racist country, and the worst of this racism is directed at indigenous people. Racism justified the invasion of Australia by the British. The notion of Terra Nullius, or uninhabited land, justified the dispossession of the land from the original inhabitants. If no one lives here, they believed, then it can’t be stolen – it belonged to no one. Terra Nullius is supported by notions of cultural and racial superiority. The colonisers saw people on the land. They interacted with them. However, they claimed the land was uninhabited because it was devoid of structure and buildings which in European minds constituted habitation.

Racism is not going away. News outlets carried images of a large group of Caucasian Australian men celebrating their membership of a neo-Nazi group on Australia Day weekend this year. Many citizens and even elected politicians have publicly declared their support for Trump and his rhetoric. Fringe political parties with a platform of racism and bigotry, such as Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, are winning more votes in elections – which is why mainstream parties are so keen to appease the racists.

Lies

Australians are also fed lies about the consequences of telling the truth. Australians have been convinced that officially acknowledging the truth will cost them their homes, as indigenous people will make endless land rights claims and take back possession of suburbs throughout the nation.

Image:www.worldatlas.com

Defenders of free speech are destroying free speech.

The very people who decry the loss of free speech in modern society are destroying the ability of people to speak freely. Extremist views stifle reasoned discussions on important social issues and this prevents problems from being properly addressed or solved.

Extreme commentators at both ends of the political spectrum complain that their opinions and right to free speech are being quelled in modern society, while their own words stigmatise anyone who attempts to raise legitimate questions regarding a contentious issue.

Free speech crusaders throw around phrases such as ‘political correctness’ and ‘cancel culture’ and complain that they’re “…not allowed to say anything anymore.” They claim that the ‘thought police’ are denying them their right to express a personal opinion. In most cases, however, those opinions are blatantly racist and are often disguised as humour and casual racism which is borne of ignorance, and is deeply hurtful.

It was never right to be racist, it was just more accepted.

Immigration

Immigration is a perfect example of the death of free speech at the hands of extreme commentators. Extremists have hijacked the issue, and anyone else who attempts to publicly discuss the topic runs the risk of being branded as a racist or a bigot.

Donald Trump used racism. He famously promised to stop Muslims from entering the United States and to build a wall to stop Latinos entering the country, and these views contributed greatly to his election victory in 2016. He expressed the views that many extremists held in the United States, and he discussed immigration as a threat to the USA, to white Americans and to American values and their way of life.

Extremists have equated immigration with racism and xenophobia.

It is consequently difficult for anyone to raise the issue of immigration in the United States and other countries. Anyone who questions current immigration policies, for whatever reason, will be labelled a racist or a bigot. But mature, intelligent and measured discussions about immigration need to take place. Leaders and citizens need to ask how many people can safely live in a particular area. People need to ask if a landmass has enough resources to support a certain number of people, taking into consideration birth and death rates, existing infrastructure, employment opportunities and other factors which determine the success of immigration policies. These discussions are made difficult or impossible due to the hijacking of the issue by ignorant extremists.

Donald Trump is also famous for shutting down discussions with people who opposed his views. There is no better example of killing free speech.

LGBTQI+

The LGBTQI+ community also bear the brunt of intolerance and hateful speech. Issues such as gender fluidity, trans culture and same-sex marriage draw endless commentary from free speech crusaders, and prevent issues from being discussed.

Same-sex marriage is a contentious issue. Every country which has raised the prospect of legalising same-sex marriage, including those which succeeded, endured a divisive debate on the issue, and the defenders of free speech once again destroyed free speech.

Two prominent Australians weighed into the debate in Australia. Tennis legend Margaret Court and footballer Israel Folau exercised their right to free speech but consequently tarnished the debate. Court and Folau opposed same-sex marriage, and declared this publicly. This in itself was not a problem. However, they supported their views with statements claiming that all gay people will go to hell, that same-sex attraction is the work of the devil and that same-sex marriage is a dangerous threat to the social fabric and the family unit.

Anyone else who expressed opposition to same-sex marriage was accused of sharing the views of Court and Folau. Anyone should be allowed to express an opposition to same-sex marriage, but that is difficult to do when the likes of Court and Folau dominate the topic.

Trans athletes also provoke strong debate. Should people who are born male be allowed to play sport with and against females – if they identify as female, or if they have physically transitioned to female? This is a complex debate including issues of fairness and safety, and any decision must be made after a mature, evidence-based and open discussion. This discussion is impossible to conduct when some people label trans people as the devil’s work, an abomination, a disgrace and subhuman. When such hateful views are expressed freely, reasonable people cannot express their views on the topic, for fear of being associated with the bigots.

Gender-neutral language also divides the population. Gender fluid people prefer to use the words ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ and ‘them’ instead ‘him’ and ‘her’. A problem arises because they and them are plural pronouns, but they’re being used in a singular context – to refer to one person.

Linguists will point out that this is grammatically incorrect and confusing, while bigots will claim that is is outrageous, unnecessary…and worse. As a result, can anyone oppose the use of ‘they’ and ‘them’ to refer to individuals, without being labelled homophobic or transphobic?

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the threat to free speech at the hands of those who claim to defend it. Anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists abound online and express views contrary to expert medical advice. Extreme bloggers and social media influencers, celebrities and even elected politicians are expressing wild and unfounded theories about the pandemic, while defending their views as free speech. In reality, they are putting human lives at risk.

Free speech is a foundation of democracy and an open society. It must be defended. It must also be conducted with evidence, acceptance of opposing views and reason.

Image: Christian Bruehner

Ban the importation of cats into Australia.

Prevention is better than cure and this adage should apply to the importation of cats into Australia. Cats must be prevented from entering Australia from other countries because they remain the single most destructive introduced species in the country. Continued importation will result in the destruction of more native wildlife.

This article relates to the importation of new cats – cats that have never been to Australia before, and not to cats from Australia returning from overseas with their owners.

Feral cats threaten at least 124 Australian species which are in danger of extinction, and cats are a major reason that Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world – not per capita – outright. Attempts to reduce this destruction are ongoing and include feral cat eradication, stray cat control, de-sexing and domestic cat containment. These methods all carry their own complications, but banning the importation of cats into the country is surely the least complicated strategy.

It’s simple. Tell every Australian and every international visitor that it is not possible to import a cat into the country. No exceptions. If Australians insist on having a pet cat, they can source one from inside the country.

Cats can currently be imported into Australia from other countries under various conditions. Cats from locations such as New Zealand and Norfolk Island do not even need to serve a period of quarantine, provided they have been approved as healthy in the place of origin.

According to the Department of Agriculture, people can bring cats into Australia without even obtaining a permit, provided the cat is coming from a country such as New Zealand and the exporter signs a Statutory Declaration that:

  • identifies the cat by breed, sex, age and microchip number.
  • verifies that the cat has been continually resident in New Zealand since birth or direct importation from Australia, or for the 90 days immediately before the date of export if the animal has been imported into New Zealand from any other country.
  • verifies that the cat is not derived from a domestic/non-domestic hybrid.
  • verifies that if a female cat, the animal is not more than 40 days pregnant or suckling young at the time of export.

These conditions ensure that the animal does not bring diseases into the country, but ignores the fact that cats have the potential to cause enormous damage to Australian wildlife once they arrive – no matter how healthy they are. In fact, it could be argues that a healthy, active, agile cat is more able to hunt and kill wildlife.

Cats from other countries must spend a minimum of 10 days at an official post-entry quarantine facility and arrive with an official permit.

All of these measures carry associated costs, and bringing a cat into Australia is very expensive. If Australians are determined to spend money on animals, they can adopt a koala or donate to many of the organisations dedicated to the care and protection of Australia’s native wildlife. After so many native animals were lost in the 2019/2020 bushfires, now is a perfect time to contribute to the protection of Aussie animals.

Various strategies are currently employed to protect wildlife from cats.

Feral cat eradication

Feral cat eradication programs continue throughout the nation, with limited success. Feral cats occupy an estimated 99.8% of the Australian continent, can weigh up to 9 kilograms and have directly contributed to extinctions of more than 20 Australian mammals. The destruction continues because feline species are excellent hunters and are intelligent and thus hard to trap. They exist in many inaccessible areas and current eradication methods are not working well enough. It is thought there are more than 6 million feral cats roaming the country, and importing more cats into the country potentially adds to this number.

Stray cat control and elimination

Stray cats are no one’s responsibility. They roam urban and rural areas, killing native wildlife. They were all once domestic cats, or the litter of domestic cats.

Domestic cat containment

Most cat owners are responsible.

False.

Statistics disprove this theory. A small percentage of owners keep their cats inside or provide an enclosed cat run in which their cats can play while outside the house. Many allow their cats outside during the day, where they are still able to kill. Others argue their pets are allowed only as far as their own garden, but even in a private garden, a cat can and will kill native wildlife. Most pet cats are allowed to roam free and kill with impunity, and importing cats into the country creates more pet cats and more potential killers.

De-sexing

Many cat owners think de-sexing is enough. In many cases, de-sexing simply allows owners to absolve themselves of responsibility for the destruction their pets cause. Even a de-sexed cat will kill many native animals during its lifetime if it is allowed to roam freely.

Banning the importation of cats into Australia will not solve the cat problem. It will, however, limit the number of cats in the country overall and will support existing efforts to reduce the deadly impact of Australia’s most destructive introduced species.

Image: Jae Park

Tobacco companies to pay for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

The tobacco industry will cover the cost of the COIVD-19 vaccine roll-out across the world due to the link between cigarette smoking and damage to human health. Wealthy cigarette manufacturers have until June 30, 2021, to pay the United Nations (UN) a levy, the exact amount of which will be set once the total cost of the vaccine roll-out is known.

“Cigarette smoking ruins human health,” began a statement from the UN and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“People with poor health have weak immune systems, and viruses survive in bodies with weak immune systems. If there are more unhealthy people on the planet, viruses such as COVID-19 are more difficult to prevent, control and eliminate. For that reason, the tobacco industry will pay for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine, which will help protect the health of all citizens.”

The tobacco industry has reacted strongly to the shock announcement.

“This is an unprecedented and unacceptable imposition on what is a legal industry. Never before has one industry been forced to bear the cost of an international crisis, and the tobacco industry will fight this levy through the proper channels.”

The UN and the WHO, meanwhile, reminded the tobacco industry that cigarette smoking damages the health of smokers, non-smokers and the planet, and that the ongoing pandemic has reminded everyone of the importance of protecting the health and wellbeing of the world’s population.

The tobacco lobby also argued that other industries should also be forced to pay the levy.

“The justification for imposing the levy on the tobacco industry is that our products damage human health. If that is true, then fast food outlets such as McDonalds, KFC and Jollibee should also pay the levy, because consumption of their products leads to poor health outcomes.”

The UN explained that the fast food industry may also be charged the levy once the total cost of the international vaccine roll-out has been determined.

Governments throughout the world have declined to comment publicly on the decision. While they are expected to be pleased that someone else is covering the cost of vaccinating their citizens, they are wary of making any statement that might upset the powerful tobacco lobby.

COVID-19 vaccination has already begun in some countries, and the program will continue across the globe for the remainder of 2021.

Image: Julia Engel

I Hate Cyclists.

One fine day in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

Bill: G’day

Bob: G’day, sorry I’m late, big night last night.

Bill: No worries. Are we gonna make it on time?

Bob: Yeah, we should. That light’s still green, hold on.

Bill: Nah, that’s definitely red.

Bob: Oy, watch where you’re going you clown, get off the road!!! Bloody cyclists. I hate cyclists.

Bill: Hate, that’s a strong word.

Bob: Yeah, I bloody hate cyclists.

Bill: Hate? – you hate terrorists.

Bob: Yeah, but at least terrorists kill their own…

Bill: Hate? – you hate drug dealers.

Bob: Well, not necessarily, especially after last night, man, what a buzz.

Bill: Hate? – you hate murderers

Bob: Yeah, but I could murder a kebab right now.

Bill: Why do you hate cyclists?

Bob: They ride on the road

Bill: Isn’t that because they’re not allowed to ride on the footpath?

Bob: Yeah, but they should just ride on the cycle paths.

Bill: True, but sometimes there are no cycle paths, or the cycle paths just stop.

Bob: So, that’s not my fault, I didn’t build the cycle paths. Oh, wait, there’s a bottle-o, I forgot to bring something, mind if I pull over?

Bill: No, go for it.

Bob: Won’t be a sec.

Bill: Hang on, did you just park over a cycle lane?

Bob: Yeah, so what – they can just ride around me.

Bill: What, onto the road?

Bob: Yeah…

Bob: Nice drop this.

Bill: Bob, I still don’t get it, why do you say you HATE cyclists?

Bob: Mate, they’re grown men…in LYCRA.

Bill: I suppose you wear jeans or footy shorts when you go to the beach.

Bob: Piss off!!!

Bill: But HATE, it’s such a strong word, I mean, you hate politicians, that’s fair enough.

Bob: You bet, especially those bloody Greenies, building cycle paths everywhere, waste of taxpayers’ money.

Bill: What about politicians in lycra?

Bob: The worst

Bill: I could understand if you hate paedophiles.

Bob: Of course I do, they’re scum…Then again, how do you know he did it? I mean, do you still think he’s guilty?

Bill: What?

Bob: Well, an ex-PM vouched for him, and I was listening to the radio the other day and that guy, what’s his name, he reckons he was never guilty.

Bill: But I still don’t understand why you HATE cyclists.

Bob: They cause traffic jams.

Bill: Surely cars cause traffic jams, plus, if more people cycled, there’d be less traffic. Anyway, do you think we’ll make it on time

Bob: Yeah, no worries, we’ll cut through Centennial Park.

“Bill, Bob, Hi, so glad you could make it.”

Bob: Hi, sorry we’re late, traffic was murder.

“No worries – you’re just in time. Come and join us, we’re all going for a ride.”

First published in The Beast magazine, February 2021.

Image: Roman Koester