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Animal capitalist conservation or non-native tax

Promote native animals over environmentally unfriendly animals. This can be done through subsidies,
giving grants and assistance to breeders of native animals, while factoring in the cost for environmentally unfriendly animals (eg taxes).

As it stands, if someone purchases a bunny for example, the bunny might escape and can multiply fairly quickly and put pressure on the environment.

So lets see the potential:

  • Benefits
  • Problems
  • Market for native animals
    • Current market
    • Potential market
  • Industries
    • Current industries
    • Potential industries
  • Regulation and laws
  • Example campaign
  • Other notes

Benefits

By having more competition and supply, the market would make conservation cheaper in terms of feed and research. That’s the primary aim of this capitalist proposal.

Cultural tourism would get a boost as people overseas view Australia less of an European country but more of an Australian country with native animals integrating with people.

Accidental loss or deliberate release of native animals might be a boon by adding to the ecosystem over non-native animals. However, this is highly frowned upon by many conservations and zoo for a primary reason: unbalancing the ecosystem. But currently, a rabbit, dog, cat or even a camel could escape the enclosure and may multiply, putting pressure on the ecosystem.

Finally, the quoll won’t be seen as a misspelling of quill/quell in my spell checker.

Problems

Premature allowance of native animals by law. People may take it upon themselves that the wildlife is up for grabs. This is fraught with many issues with the minimum: Non-domesticated, high stress, diseases and lack of understanding of creating a suitable habitat. This is illegal.

Accidental loss or deliberate release of native animals may be bad because it puts pressure on the ecosystem. This might be illegal.

Misunderstanding of keeping domesticated native animals. People might feed milk and vegetables to a quoll because it looks like a rabbit (Assumption) when it’s actually a carnivore. This might be illegal under animal cruelty(?)

Illegal breeding to make a quick buck on the potential high insatiable demand. Poor welfare conditions among other problems are actually already illegal.

Solutions

Chipping all domesticated animals. It would be easy for officers to determine if the animals are wild or domesticated.

Make select animals for sale with education of what’s legal. For example, quolls are in such supply that only conservations and breeders are allowed to keep them.

Market for native animals

Current market

Native animals are not sold. However, there’s an exception for some variety of native birds.

As for non-native animals, typically those are European animals. They are available for sale, adoption, trading and more.

Potential market

There’s already some basic demand; people enjoy seeing them at the zoo, their currency and even in the backyard (We have had lizards much to the delight of my mother and unfortunately rabbits). With a good campaign and awareness to mitigate problems and create demand, the native animals would be prized very highly for a variety of uses. Here’s some:

  • Food (Kangaroo is slowly becoming popular)
  • Pets (Wombats, quolls, lizards, etc)
  • Zoo (Increased selection of animals)
  • Conservation projects (Cheaper due to economies of scale)

Industries

  • Animal feed
  • Breeders
  • Veterinarian
  • Pet shops
  • Conservations
  • Zoo
  • Food industry

Current industries

Much like the current market, to cater for breeding animals for pets and food, those are typically European. Due to regulations, native animals are not considered at all.

Potential industries

With a new market to cater to, there’s lots of potential for industry in terms of breeding, feed, veterinary services and much more.

Unfortunately for the non-native animal industry, it may see loss of potential. However, with a good conversion program I believe it’s possible for industries to switch. Employment and business losses would be minimal.

Regulations and laws

Domestic pets

If a stray kitten lands on your door step; that’s pretty adorable, you would probably get some special kitten milk and nurse it to health.

If a stray baby possum lands on your door step. That’s many levels of scary because of strict government regulation of people interacting with
native animals. Seriously, a possum is not even endangered yet if you handle even a baby possum, you’re liable for penalties.

I believe regulations should be relaxed and should be imposed on non-native animals gradually instead. While my example above may lead you to believe that the baby possum is wild, it could actually be domesticated and quite fine to have as a pet like a kitten.

“It is illegal to handle or interfere with any native animal, including possums without a permit.” Living with Possums in South Australia – Strategy – Circular 38.4

Why is there regulation for such a common species? More here:

Breeders

Conservations should not have exclusive rights to breed animals. Licensed animal breeders who also have the knowledge and know-how should be able to apply for a licence. Further, I believe that people should be allowed to have accidental breeding of native domesticated animals too.

Example campaign

This is how I would perceive it to work:

  1. Education.
    • People must realise that taking animals from the wildlife would be dangerous. Rabies, stress, potential injuries that can be fatal and more. Domesticated animals are more tame and good company. This also happens to European animals; I have heard from a friend about her timid dog being stolen.
    • Cats and puppies and rabbits are common themes in Europe and America but are not natural in Australia. They can destroy environment.
    • Possums, koalas, kangaroos are different to puppies, cats and rabbits. Some of them can eat as much as a dog, others have sensitive diets like eucalyptus for koalas. Advise interested buyers to talk to shops or a hotline
  2. Demand.
    • Create some demand by encouraging available animals to be used on TV shows with subtle effect of using native food.
    • Demand should be purely about available animals to prevent creating unnecessary demand for endangered or troubled species.
  3. Supply.
    • Get pet shops to allow preorders, brochure of legal changes (If the possum becomes legal, list it then).
    • Provide education to breeders and producers of what to supply with a strong long term plan to reduce ‘business uncertainty’ issues.
    • Offer subsidies to breeders and producers. This would make maintenance more cheaper. The subsidies can come from taxing non-native consumption, eg pet sales, feed, etc.

Other notes

There’s savings in avoiding mandatory de-sexing. If the animal escapes, then shock and horror, it boosts the population.

Addendum (more reading)

Update:29th July 2010

Domestication

For those that doubt wild animals can be domesticated and that cats, dogs, and other predominate domesticated animals are natural; here is a list here of animals domesticated in the last century: Domestication#Modern_instances. Even a cockroach can be domesticated!

Update:30th July 2010

More relevant links:

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