I’m no biologist but I think I know homo sapiens well enough to realise that any attempt to shift blame for declining water quality from agriculture to trout, will always sound more convincing when it doesn’t come from the chairman of New Zealand’s Federated Farmers.
This week’s Peeing in the Wind award goes to Lachlan McKenzie, outgoing head of that august body, who’d clearly decided that any suggestion of vested interests was best countered by dramatic rhetoric:
“We can easily and graphically see the effect of stoats, possums and rats on our terrestrial environment… but what if we have an equally disastrous species in our waterways devouring native invertebrates, increasing algal growth and forcing our native fish to the brink?”
Unsurprisingly, the case for the defence was quickly mustered, Univ. of Otago Zoology professor Colin Townsend landing the deftest blow:
“Unless Lachlan McKenzie has witnessed trout emerging from streams and churning up the land with their big fat hooves, he will find it difficult to shift responsibility from cows to trout.“
And the lesson is, I think, the bigger the claim, the more independent must be the claimant. For when it comes to cynicism, the human race taints everything it touches in a way that makes cattle and trout look like rank amateurs in comparison.