When Pepper, the dog , and I walk past the dam on our morning constitutional the ducks don’t usually take any notice of us.
But for the past week or two they’ve taken fright and flown away.
Is this just conicidence or do they remember last year’s duck shooting season and know that it’s opening day today?
If you are a sensitive soul like Poneke who can’t/won’t kill flies or Fairfacts Media who lets mice go after he’s caught them, you may be better not to read this.
Animal welfare is of paramount concern on our farms, as it is with all but a tiny minority who shouldn’t call themselves farmers. But although we treat animals well we don’t operate a catch and release policy for pests.
We kill them quickly and cleanly but we do kill them.
So does Pepper. His mother was a golden labrador, we suspect his father was a sheep dog and the result is a playing rather than working dog.
He’s not just ornamental though, he catches flies, rabbits and for the first time today he caught a possum.
Pepper accompanies me on my morning walk, and probably covers at least twice as much distance as I do because he’s always dashing off to investigate smells of interest en route.
This morning he disappeared down a bank and shortly afterwards I heard high pitched squeals. Moments later he appeared with a freshly killed possum in his mouth.
Possums compete with native birds for food, eat young growth of trees and sometimes birds eggs and chicks. They also carry TB which can infect farm animals.
They are pests so I was pleased Pepper killed one this morning, but just to show I’m not entirely heartless, I was also pleased he did it quickly.