Of chocolate and bunnies

So, how many people’s waist lines are going to grow at Easter with a chocolate overload? My guess is quite a few given how many people, despite it being in their final hour of trading for the day, I saw at Countdown last night with chocolate in their trollies. I would further guess that all of this is good if you are looking forward to seeing whether or not a suggested shortage of chocolate materializes.

Yes, it is true. Demand for cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate is at an all time high. The suppliers in the tropical parts of the world cannot keep pace, and in some countries that export cocoa, the suppliers are even resorting to illegal clearance of forest that is protected and clearing those parts for cocoa crops. People cry foul over palm oil, but I do not hear very much screaming over cocoa.

Three years ago there was a shortage of cocoa to make chocolate with. People were talking about “Chocogeddon” as a shortage fuelled by unprecedented demand on the crop in Africa threatened to choke supplies. Three later, there is a glut in Africa and demand is at lows not seen for years. The rampant consumerism that goes with it at this time of year and at Christmas is completely counter to what both occasions are supposed to be about – and why I almost delight in being happy when either Easter or Christmas are done for another year.

So, will I have any Easter chocolate this year? I have had Easter eggs this year, but probably not many more, mainly for weight loss reasons than any particular desire to cut back on chocolate consumption.

I imagine it must be a pretty tough weekend to be a member of Save Animals From Exploitation, which I seem to recall a couple of Easters ago chiding farmers for the huge numbers of rabbits they shot dead in Alexandra’s annual bunny hunt. I found S.A.F.E.’s ignorance hilarious on one hand and disturbing on the other. Anyone familiar with why rabbit shooting is so widespread in New Zealand would know that rabbits are a noxious pest under the Resource Management Act because of their high breeding rates, the fact that they were introduced and compete with grazing animals for vegetation. In doing so they expose the surface of the surface, which allows an all smothering mat of a weed called Hieracium to cover the ground. Hieracium is nearly impossible to get rid of and therefore poses a major problem on grazing land. It is also a noxious pest under the National Pest Plant Accord, which makes it illegal to sell, distribute or develop Hieracium.

Because of statutory requirements to keep pest levels at a predetermined level, farmers have two choices. They can either do the control work themselves or let a Regional Council pest control do it and send them the bill. To this end, the Great Alexandra Bunny Shoot in some respects is also an attempt at pest control.

Anyway, happy rabbit shooting.

1 thought on “Of chocolate and bunnies

  1. Rabbits, noxious mamals, were introduced by immigrants who knew little about the ecology of NZ, and food webs.
    In the same way, immigrants introduced rats, wallabys, deer, chamois, pigs goats, stoats, ferrets, cats and the dreaded possum, all of which are also noxious pests.
    Introduced by various waves of immigrants probably as as a source of animal protein, which is understandable.
    After all, the science of ecology was only introduced and understood in the 1960’s.
    Nowdays, we have sheep cattle pigs and chickens as our animal protein sources, and they are controlled and fenced in.
    There is little need for the wild animals anymore.
    To protect the remaining pockets of our unique original ecosystems we should endeavour to rid those remaining ecosystems of the introduced animals, and in particular possums.
    It is very concerning that the one very effective possum control method of using 1080 by aerial drop, particularly to areas inaccessible to man, is condemed by the hunting lobby.
    1080 is a unique poison in that it is effective against mammals leaving other classes of animals generally unaffected.
    New Zealand is unique amongst land masses in that the original ecosystem before the arrival of man, had only one mammal, a bat, endemic to the land pushed up from the ocean depths from the sediment washed off the coast of gonwanaland. Therefore there is only one place in the present world uniquly suited to the use of this method of noxious mamal eradication, and that is Aotearoa New Zealand.
    New Zealand has a unique vegetation, and unique ecosystems involving hirds, many of whom are ground dwelling and cannot compete with mammals filling their niches.
    The suggestion by the sport hunting lobby groups that possums can be controlled by shooting and trapping is unhelpful and ignorant of the science and ignores the land inaccessibility issues.
    We must ask ourselves the question, Are New Zealation’s unique ecosystems worth preserving? If the answer is yes, then we must rid ourselves of possums. If it is no, then our wild places will be changed irrevocably forever.
    I say, yes! Preserve some of our unique ecosystems. Use 1080!


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