Sunday, December 12, 2004

Invent a product - Create a need?

A package from our New Zealand correspondant inspired this post.

'Possomdown' is a product containing 40 percent fur of the brush tailed possom, the wildlife vector of bovine Tb in NZ. It is marketed with the purchaser then cosily identified as an ecological 'saviour' of forests, and native birds.

The sales literature reads:

"About 80 million of these nocturnal marsupials cause enormous ecological damage to our forests and native birds, including the national icon, the Kiwi. Possumdown knitware is the first ever commercial blend of possum fur and superfine merino wool. It is the said to be the first new blend of natural fibres in the world for oever 100 years and is unique to New Zealand"

"By purchasing this product, you are helping to save our forests from devastation"

How can this help our problems with meles meles - the badger?.

The badger is a nocturnal mammal, causing enormous ecological damage to the balance of the ecology where its numbers have reached saturation point. No hedgehogs, slow worms, ground nesting birds, bees or wild wasps. It causes damage to ancient monuments and domestic properties, farm buildings and forests. And it is a reservoir of m.bovis - tuberculosis which is not confined to badgers and cattle (the tested sentinels of the amount of disease around) but spills over into many other species - including human beings.

Unfortunately (for the badger) it has acquired 'cult' status, and its ancestral home a grade 1 listing.

Our correspondant suggests a sales pitch along NZ lines, to save the badger from a horrible debilitating death from Tb (which it will have spread around) and keep it healthy and useful. He points out that in his part of the UK, the healthiest badger he's seen in years is on the collecting box of the local Wildlife Trust. Ones he's found dead or nearly dead on his land, are in a dire state.

Sporrans made from British badger fur. (Fashion accessory for a safer wallet??)
Artists brushes made from British badger fur. (not Russian)
Shaving brushes made from British badger fur. (not Russian)

Why is it OK to import and use 'foreign' badger material, but not use home grown?
That's hypocrisy.

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