January 23, 2009

Bagpipes fail to deter bats

An Australian orchard grower said fruit bats are decimating his crop and not even the drone of his bagpipes can scare them away.

Bob Johnson and his wife, Sue, said the Queensland state government passed environmentalist-backed legislation last year to stop orchard growers from shooting bats, leaving them with few options to protect their crop, the Brisbane Courier-Mail reported Friday.

Johnson said he tried playing his bagpipes to scare away the bats but they were unmoved by his Scottish musical stylings.

Our income has literally been eaten by a veritable plague of bats, he said.

The Johnsons said their usual fruit crop weighs in at 36,327 pounds, but this year's crop weighs only 3,873 pounds.

Bob Katter, an independent member of the Australian House of Representatives, said he supports allowing orchardists to shoot trespassing bats.

Even the most brainless greenie would have to say it is not unreasonable to cull flying foxes that carry diseases that can kill humans, Katter said. The state government knows the danger and if it refuses to authorize guns it is in clear breach of its duty of care if a human dies from lyssa or Hendra virus.