RSPCA of Australia offers beer for cane toads
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2007:
SYDNEY–” Hops for hoppers plan likely to croak,” the Sydney
Morning Herald headlined on February 27, 2007.
A year after the Royal SPCA of Australia began offering cane
toad hunters a free beer for every toad delivered to RSPCA shelters
alive, the offer has reportedly had few takers–while hunters
continue to club cane toads, shoot them, spear them, and sometimes
lick them, to get a potentially lethal high from a poison they
secret that has reputed psychadelic effects.
Native to the Amazon rain forest, 101 cane toads were
released in Queensland in 1935 to combat cane beetles, native to
Australia, who were attacking sugar cane crops. Ignoring the cane
beetles, cane toads instead became the most successful predators of
mosquito larvae Down Under.
Grown to full size, however, cane toads also consume native
amphibians, lizards, ground-nesting birds, small marsupial
mammals, and fellow non-native species including mice, rats, and
Despite decades of aggressive persecution, there are now an
estimated 100 million cane toads in Australia, who have established
a presence as far as 2,000 road miles from their release point.
Seeking to discourage cruelty to cane toads, Lindsay
Wilkinson, interim executive director of the Darwin branch of Royal
SPCA of Australia, in January 2006 told Australian Broadcasting
Corporation talk show hosts Anne Barker and Mark Colvin that the
proper way to kill toads is to treat them first with anesthetic
“Just run a 25 millimetre strip down the back of the cane
toad,” Wilkinson said. “The cane toad will quickly go into a deep
sleep. You pick the toad up, and place it into a plastic bag, and
you put it in the freezer.”
Wilkinson warned that children exposed to the usual methods
of killing cane toads might progress to using similar methods to kill
feral cats, also widely demonized in Australia, and eventually
develop “psychopathic tendencies” toward fellow humans.
Two months later, when use of hemorrhoid cream to kill toads
did not catch on, Wilkinson partnered with Cooper’s Brewery and the
Cavenagh Hotel in Darwin to offer a glass of Cooper’s at the hotel in
exchange for each toad.
“No coupons for squashed toads,” Wilkinson warned.
Wilkinson said that the RSPCA would kill the toads with
sodium pentobarbital, applied to the toads’ skin, rather than by
injection as for mammals.
Two beers were claimed the first day. Then the offer seemed
to be forgotten-until the RSPCA shelter in Cairns in early 2007
announced a similar deal, partnering with the Red Beret Hotel in
Redlynch. The Cairns deal, however, offered two beers for a bag of
20 cane toads, and received no takers at all.