From: Associated Press
Published April 11, 2005 12:00 AM

Federal Lawmaker Advises People in Northern Australia to Bludgeon Toxic Toads to Death

CANBERRA, Australia — A government lawmaker advised people in northern Australia to bludgeon to death toxic toads that are advancing toward the region's main city, Darwin.


Cane toads were imported to the northeastern state of Queensland from Central America in 1935 to control beetles on sugar cane plantations.


Since then, the toads, which release noxious secretions from glands on their back when threatened, have hopped all the way to Australia's northeastern coast and south into parts of New South Wales state, killing much of the native wildlife that eat them.


Small endangered marsupials called quolls have been hard hit by the cane toads. Authorities are so concerned about the quolls' survival that they've transported some to toad-free islands off Australia's northern coast.


Liberal Party lawmaker David Tollner, whose electorate is in northern Australia, said Monday the best way to stop the spread of the animals is to hit them on the head, as he did when he was a child.


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"We hit them with cricket bats and golf clubs and the like back then," he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.


"If people can be encouraged to do it, rather than discouraged, the better our chance will be of stopping the cane toads arriving in Darwin and other parts of the top of Australia," he added.


Animal welfare groups say bludgeoning cane toads to death is inhumane, and the best way to kill them is to freeze them.


Source: Associated Press


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