Naughty Korner: No room in my freezer for toads
WITH the State of Origin series now under way, it seems an appropriate time to have a discussion about the menace of cane toads.
Aside from the fact that they are the mascot of our beloved Maroons, there is very little to love about these leathery bags of poison with legs.
Since being brought here in the 1930s, a population of just over 100 cane toads has turned into more than 200 million.
Instead of killing cane beetles like they were supposed to, the cane toads instead decided to multiply and conquer, killing everything from goannas to quolls in the process.
Understandably, this has led to all sorts of scientific studies on how to control the threat - other than the popular backyard method.
At this point, I should point out that there are now certain recommendations for the way cane toads should be disposed of.
Which brings me to the topic of a recent study by the University of Sydney, which actually looked into what would be the most humane way to exterminate a cane toad.
The uni's School of Biological Sciences went to the trouble of implanting small data loggers into the brains of cane toads in order to measure their pain responses.
The toads were chucked in the fridge for a few hours before being transferred to a freezer.
According to the university: "The toads quietly slipped into unconsciousness as they froze, and their brains did not register any evidence of pain during the process."
While I am glad to hear that the guinea pigs of this experiment didn't suffer, I wonder if it is all really worth the effort.
Perhaps it's all part of the guilt of knowing that humans are ultimately responsible for this problem?
Toads are not only multiplying like flies, but the process of evolution is also making some of them bigger. Soon, they will be so big, that you won't be able to get any more than two or three in the freezer before you run out of room for the icy poles and frozen peas.
While I don't doubt the university's findings, I do doubt that the average Australian would be willing to set the footy pies aside for a couple of stinky toads.
Perhaps I've misjudged the Australian public, but I also doubt whether the average Joe would care too much if the odd toad suffered a moment's pain from a fatal whack over the head.