Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hope for the weka?

Enviropreneur Roger Beattie has pushed for the right to raise and farm NZ protected weka for the dinner table. It's the best approach for conservation: while the Department of Conservation's funding depends on animals being endangered, a farmer's profits depend on his being successful at breeding and raising animals.

Meanwhile, exotic African animals are finding new hope in Texan game farms. Maybe if somebody can smuggle some weka out of the country and over to Texas, they'll be able to there start a commercial breeding operation.

Here's Roger tearing a strip off former Labour Conservation Minister Chris Carter. Shame National decided to keep Labour's policy on this, as on more than a few other issues.

7 comments:

  1. We'll know Weka made it once we can buy a 'Grand Weka' burger at McDonald's.

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    1. So long as they don't put an egg or beetroot on top...

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    2. Philistine! A burger isn't complete without both of those tasty additions, and of course bacon makes everything better.

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  2. I do see the argument with my head, but my heart hates the idea. I also have a concern that if farmed weka proves popular, that might create incentives to hunt for wild weka. Or are we saying that we don't care if there are no wild ones? And so, that if an animal has no commercial potential (tuatara?) we don't care if it falls into extinction?

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    1. I don't think Roger, or anyone else, is saying that conservation in the wild should be abandoned. Rather, that farming wildlife can be a useful part of any species management effort.

      I wouldn't be so convinced that tuatara has no commercial potential. Is it so hard to imagine a private breeder figuring out how to encourage successful reproduction in captivity and then supplying an international pet market? Wouldn't surprise me if you could get really good money for a tuatara on the pet market.

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    2. Fair point - I'd love one as a pet, and I guess there is no objective reason why they deserve any more protection against ill-treatment than bog-standard moggies and mutts get.

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  3. The thing that always surprises me in Australia is that there are birds that look just like weka hanging around. They're swamp hens apparently, I'm trying to work out what's going on with that. I wonder how unique weka actually are.

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