This policy concerns free living introduced species, such as camels, rabbits, cats and foxes, and doesn’t deal with exotic species currently found in pet shops; these are dealt with in our companion animals policy.
The AJP supports the humane and non-lethal treatment of all animals regardless of where their species originated. We will support and develop programs that are in-line with this position and focus on restoring eco-systems via methods harmonious to nature such a rewilding.
Evolution has produced not just big animals like us, but also small creatures; microbes like bacteria and viruses. Some of these little critters can make us sick or even kill us. But they are not conscious so AJP has no qualms about killing them by any means available, from soap to antibiotics.
Predators and prey are also the result of evolutionary processes but the conflicts between their interests are obvious. A bird wants to live and enjoy its life, just like a cat, but evolution has set them in conflict. We could choose to favour predators at the expense of prey, or vice versa. Or we could try and be even handed; both want to live. The compromise position of AJP is for population control on either or both, if necessary. Cats, as efficient hunters and breeders can be a particular problem in Australia. AJP doesn’t blame them, but does believe that populations should be controlled by non-lethal methods. Conflict with wildlife can further be reduced in urban areas by feeding. Many in the public already do this. Vegan cat food has made considerable progress in the past 20 years, but is still not a guaranteed solution. Some cats won’t eat it and it is probitively expensive for some budgets. Both problems are solveable, and we aim to support solutions while recognising that they will take time to develop and implement.
Populations of non-predators can also exceed their natural food supply and again, AJP policy aims for non-lethal population control. Frequently we don’t just kill introduced animals which we think are overpopulated, we torture with cruel and inhuman methods of killing; everything from myxomatosis to horrid poisons and inhumane weapons like shotguns.
Whether an animal is introduced or not has no special role in our policy. All animals want to live and enjoy their lives. We understand that evolution has no ethical goals, it is a blind mechanism. We, on the other hand, are happy to elevate ethical concerns and, in effect, improve on nature. We do this every time we fight to prevent the natural results of a bacterial infection. We do it when we fix birth defects and engineer new cereals with improved characteristics. The natural results of evolution are frequently tragic for our own species and we are happy to improve upon them. We improve on nature constantly for the benefit of our own species, why not for other species?