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About us

Our commitments

IT’S A TRAP! has an ongoing commitment to supplying a diverse range of the best quality products that we can obtain, combined with practical information to assist our customers to humanely manage their feral, pest and invasive animal problems themselves. We commit to using the business to assist survival and protection of Australia's native fauna and flora species, natural habitat, farm land and vulnerable livestock from destruction by feral and invasive animals. We commit to listening to, and learning from, our staff, customers and suppliers.

How we got here ...

By simple necessity.

Foxes were killing some of the newborn Damara lambs on the Kyneton organic farm, especially the defenceless first-born of twins while the second twin was being born. Something had to be done. Traps had to be found. I thought if I had this serious feral predator problem, others must have the same problem. The two Maremma dogs were guarding all the 150 chooks from foxes but the lambs were hit. Feral animals were disrupting the farming plans.

The business started by co-incidence and having a light globe moment after stumbling onto a trap maker/trapper at the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo in country Victoria in February 2009. I asked him if I could sell his traps from my farm. He said yes.

The part-time micro-business immediately began at ground zero on the farm and soon expanded at local weekend markets, agricultural shows and the website for national online sales, marketing and distribution. It grew. The trap range was progressively tested, refined, improved and expanded. It evolved. It still evolves and it still grows. Good traps do not go out of fashion and feral animals are here to stay. Improvement is a continuous process. It is still a buzz to find a great new product. 

As a kid carrying the ferret box and net bag for years, my father, Roy Wawn, taught me rabbiting as I followed him around the hills on farms north of Melbourne, Whittlesea and Arthurs Creek are remembered. In those days, farmers were grateful for ferreters removing rabbits from their land and access was easier than today. Dad sold his rabbit skins by the hessian bag load to the famous Jack McCraith in Essendon. The skins ended up as Akubra and military hats. We sell the biography of Jack McCraith in the shop today - a fascinatiing history of a period of Australian life and overcoming adversity in a tough industry. Jack was the rabbit king of Australia for many decades, starting in the rabbit business as a 15 year old in the Great Depression. He was a crack shot with firearms all his life.

We had the secret weapon - Roscoe the fox terrier cross would run down and smother the escapees from nets over the burrows with great enthusiasm. The understanding that rabbits were feral in Australia and that they caused massive erosion as well as pasture and habitat loss came later. Rabbiting was something you just did for food and fur.

It was also my job to feed the chooks and ferrets after school. Anyone who has done that knows that ferrets chomp on your fingers. Blow your lungs out on their nose and they eventually let go. Mum did the home cooking - rabbit casserole, rabbit pie, rabbit everything with backyard veggies, fruit, herbs and eggs. It was good, chemical-free food, also free fresh meat for the taking.

A lot of Australian families survived on rabbit meat, either trapped or shot yourself or bought from the street Rabbitoh carried along by the trusty Clydesdale horse and cart. Today, rabbit is an expensive delicacy, if you can get it.

In the first years of trap selling, I did the trap apprenticeship on the job. You get to understand the nature and behaviour of different animals and what people needed and wanted to fix their feral and invasive animal problems. Customers are an entertaining source of information with their animal stories. We are a two-way information exchange here.

After a career in graphic design, copywriting, industrial/commercial photography, print management, website development and marketing for other companies, these visual communication skills are put to good use for building IT'S A TRAP! This name was the bleeding obvious choice to me for this trap business. It amuses customers no end. They remember it.

That was some career change but it was good to break out of the confines, expectations and choking traffic of Melbourne to discover a new meaning to life in country Victoria. Should have done it years before. Today, Melbourne is great for visiting and then fleeing back to home in the paddocks. Kyneton rocks.

Selling traps from the farm meant people drove up to the shed from near, far and wide. Some arrived in their white shoes and BMW's direct from Melbourne, dodging the fresh Jersey house cow deposits in the grass (and occasionally from a large borrowed Braunvieh bull), standing out in the paddock in all weather to talk traps and then driving off with useful information, carrying away a trap or RatZapper to fix their pest animal problems with a dose of practical rural reality.

It would have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall inside their car to hear some of the conversations as they left the farm. Not a classic suburban shop look but the farm did the job.

After two years of my home-grown version of retail, it had become obvious that the time had come to take an almighty leap into the unknown and go main street with the traps. The business as an outdoor trap shop had outgrown the farm location. No-one else had a specialist retail trap shop in the country but so what. I could do it. And I did. No written business plan in sight, it was gut instinct and experience. Business plans came later.

It's called serendipity. Old, disused and derelict commercial premises were found for sale five minutes drive away in the main shopping street of Kyneton, 85 km north west of Melbourne. The business was relocated literally overnight to 174 - 176 Mollison Street, Kyneton, Victoria. I found out later that this location was Kyneton's big old rabbit processing factory from 1944 to the 1970's.

IT'S A TRAP! opened as a retail store, warehouse and distribution centre (instead of wrapping customer parcels on the kitchen table) the day after the commercial property was purchased on Remembrance Day, Eleventh of the Eleventh, 2011. My father was a driver in New Guinea in World War Two. The date had meaning. Signing the property contract was a very adrenalin-filled moment of total commitment. My heart was in my throat and I waivered for a heartbeat then signed. No sailing back now - the boats had been burnt and I had jumped single-handedly into the very deep end. The only direction available now was forward.

These old buildings had not been cleaned literally for years and the windows were covered over. Rain was cascading through the unrepaired warehouse roof. After a big sweep out, wiping of the shoptfront windows and nothing much else, the shop doors opened in one room of the large Kyneton building on the following day, 12 November, 2011. I lobbed myself right into the main street of Kyneton's shopping area into a great collection of old disused buidlings that had been hiding in plain sight for years.

Cage traps sat on the freshly swept shop floor tiles and a plastic folding table turned into an instant shop counter. There was no electricity to be connected that side of Christmas. Luckily it was Summer, not a Kyneton sub-zero Winter. Almost three months after moving in and the electricians ripping out the dodgy old wiring and rewiring the whole place, the electricity authorities decided to finally approve the connection. No matter - this was BLISS compared to selling traps out in the paddock. And electricity or not did not make much difference to the business at that stage. It was just an indoor paddock, for a while.

There was good natural light, wireless technology for credit card transactions. Websites and email were accessible via the smart phone.  There was shade and doors to let a breeze through. The A-frame sign was stuck out on the footpath. Instant shop! Battery-powered communication devices were charged up at the farm at home when the night shift was done or paperwork, marketing and ecommerce.

The shop started being open only for three days a week as there was a lot of running around to do initially for quoting by tradespeople for repairs and materials and meeting new trap suppliers around the state. This was a one-woman band at this stage. Three days turned into four days a week and later it was Monday to Saturday trading as things settled in.

People came in to the trap shop from all over the place, sometimes just innocent bystanders surprised and drawn in by curiosity. Probably had something to do with the life-sized big boar with attitude and studded collar sitting up on top of the up-ended fox trap, perched up on the back of the farm ute out the front of the shop. (Old Warty enjoys his role as a chief show stopper and he immediately became the talking point at the local pubs). This curiosity effect still happens today and people still take photos. IT'S A TRAP is Australia’s number one retail trap shop, quirks intended.

A bigger range of traps, deterrents and lures were now available in the shop and were also shipped out to customers around Australia from website and phone sales. So we are national. It will be international when the all-new website development is complete.

There are three old buildings here plus 1,000 square meters of open space on this commercial property, right in busy downtown Kyneton. And it has a rear laneway to boot so that customers drive in the front gate, park onsite and then drive out the back through the back gate to the side street.

One of the buildings here is a ruin. The missing chapters of the small unused 1850’s bluestone building's history are still being uncovered. No-one around in Kyneton today can remember this building having its roof on which was probably brown slate shingles originally, discovered from the bits dug up in the soil. Its bluestone walls still stand like the pyramids and will last another 150 years, probably because it was built very well by government money in the first place.

Following some detective work and locals telling me and then a Jones descendent coming into the shop, this building was constructed by Caroline Chisholm (1808 - 1877 - she was on the old five dollar note until the Queen bumped her off when the one and two dollar notes turned to coins - the ruling monarch from over there always gets the gurnsey on Australia's smallest note denomination).

Caroline Chisholm, nee Jones, married Captain Chisholm of the English military. He had been wounded in India. She agreed to the marriage on the proviso that he allowed her to continue her philanthropic work after wedlock, and he supported her. Good on him. She had this bluestone building constructed after convincing officials to spend government money to build the first Registry of Kyneton's Births, Deaths and Marriages and the Titles office of those early goldrush times around 1855. Official records were not kept before this.

We also heard that this building was later used as the secure bullion room to store gold when there was a Cobb and Co coach coming in on an overnight stopover and to change horses when transporting the gold down to Melbourne from the Castlemaine and Bendigo goldfields further north.

Mrs Chisholm and her family chose Kyneton to live in at this time, after they had previoulsy left Sydney then went back to England to regain their health. When they came back to Australia, it was to Kyneton. Two sons from her five children had a store selling provisions in East Kyneton. The jockeys of the day thundered down High Street and veered right into Mollison Street past our shop front. This was the horse racetrack in those days, down the main street. Now there is the substantial Kyneton Racetrack on the edge of town near the Campaspe River for country race meetings.

In the 1830’s, being a woman well ahead of her time, Caroline Chisholm did the same thing that she did earlier in Sydney where she previously set up the first Registry Office to keep records of people arriving off sailing boats from England and everywhere else coming to the new colony. No-one was keeping proper population records until she came to the colony and organized it. NSW owned Victoria in those days. There was no Murray River border.

Caroline Chisholm was responsible for many remarkable things in Sydney and in Kyneton. This included also convincing the government of the day to construct a series of shelter sheds as accommodation for the struggling gold miners arriving penniless from around the globe at Hobsons Bay, Bay Street, Port Melbourne, Victoria. They acquired a barrow and pick, then walked up Mt Alexander Road, wheeling their belongings up to the far-flung, bustling Mt Alexander goldfields north west of Melbourne town in those pioneering times.

This perilous journey was made more bearable after the 11 shelter sheds were built by Mrs Caroline Chisholm who persuaded the government of the day to fund their construction. The shelters were built a days walk apart at isolated towns like Essendon, Keilor, Diggers Rest, Gisborne, Woodend, Kyneton, Castlemaine and Bendigo.

After World War 1, between 1918 to 1924, this bluestone building was used by the RSL, until the wives found out what was going on there at night. Apparently it was used as a knock shop in the weatherboard addition out the back. This addition was demolished a long time ago. Sections of the faded kalsomine ochre-coloured paint on the bluestone walls mark where it used to be.

The two old Miss Hogan sisters lived there and sat under its front verandah on the footpath and chatted to people walking down the footpath in the 1930's, as was done in the days when everyone knew everyone in Kyneton.

In the early 50's, this bluestone building was a boot shop.

The old plumbing paperwork shows some owners of this collection of buidlings, in 1939 A. Watkinson, in 1941 W. J. Grieg. Then came Harry in 1944.

The bluestone interior shows that this was a typical symmetrical four room building layout with a central hallway. There are two stone pilasters at ground level on the street side that indicates it was built as a type of shop or commercial front with business being done through the front window under the verandah. Accommodation may have made up the rest of the internal part of the building. The double stone work is outstanding and forms part of Kyneton's unique bluestone heritage from Australia's Gold Rush times.

This  building will be renovated back to what it used to look like on the outside, including verandah, eventually. If only its walls could talk. It is now named Caroline Chisholm House in honour of a remarkable person. The Chisholm's died impoverished back in England after devoting their life to helping others.

The larger double brick building on the property (this one has a roof) was built around the 1920's. It houses IT'S A TRAP’s retail shop, warehouse and distribution centre. It also has a colourful past that includes an illegal drug laboratory shut down by an overwhelming show of force with a big police raid in the early hours of March, 2011. It was painted in an ugly cream colour when I moved in. This badly painted factory-style building was an A-grade eyesore until I later had it soda blasted to remove the paint to reveal its original red bricks with cream trim.

I inherited the clean up after moving in. The dust from the floor sweepings of the drug stuff ate into the skin on my hands. And they put this into their bodies. At least the drug cooks did not blow this roof off. Nearby shopkeepers could not figure out what the weird smell was in the area from time to time.

In earlier times, this much larger commercial building and yard was a truck shop, a tyre shop, a hardware store, a tile shop, shed manufacturing and Ogden’s timber yard with two drive-in entrances off Mollison Street that show damage to the brick entry by drays drawn in by heavy horses. Its original purpose and who built this one in the 1920's is not known, yet.

A row of eight substantital concrete ribs buried parallel in the yard behind the shed were discovered this year. Accoring to a local tradie, they were for the logging trucks to drop off their logs. Then Clysdale horses would drag the logs over these ribs into the sheds to be cut up for timber.  

The most famous owner, for 35 years, had the whole property including the land of the new house at the rear boundary, the bluestone building and the decorative old red brick house next door which is currently a solicitors office. 174 - 176 - 178 Mollison Street was the busy rabbit, chicken, fox fur processing factory and iceworks of one enterprising Harry E. (Espitito) Portelli. How the wheel turns - we sell rabbit traps here today.

Harry came out from Malta in 1944 and set to work in Kyneton. He  built ice works here and made the best ice in the area. He had a competitor around the corner in Piper Street. Harry's workers delivered ice around town to everyone who had an ice chest to keep food cold. The big ice block sat on a rack in the top compartment and the cold dropped down over the food. These ice chests looked like wooden fridges with two doors. The ice melted and the next weekly delivery of a big block of ice was made by the ice man with horse-drawn cart or van.

The freezer was used to freeze wild rabbits and ship them out for meat back to Malta where he came from and to Britain where rabbits came from in the first place, sent by the boat load, maggots and all. After the ware in the late 1940’s and early 1950's, Australia exported more rabbit meat to Britain than sheep meat. Business boomed. Hungry Britain, during and after World War 2, took every bunny that Australia could send it.

A few lengths of the original overhead circular chain with hooks to hold dressed rabbit carcasses were found buried in the bluestone building on the property. These are being kept for part a small collection of old traps that are on display in the trap shop. If you have any old traps that are no longer needed, they will find a good home here to show people some of the history of Australian trapping.

Harry started business by getting rabbits from properties in his Indian motorbike with sidecar. He later had travelling freezer trucks that supplied him with trapped or shot rabbits from local chillers and operated by many regional hunters. These freezer trucks supplied gutted rabbits that were trucked back to Kyneton from as far afield as NSW, back in the day when there were feral rabbits as far as the eye could see, before the introduced Myxomatosis disease cut back the massive rabbit numbers, before bureaucracy changed regulations and before China started breeding and exporting (tasteless) rabbits in the 1970's.

Harry had gangs of men (some still living in Kyneton), numbering around 15 to 20, processing rabbits that were suspended on the long overhead circular chain in this warehouse area. Rabbits were big business. Harry did very well.

Rabbit skinners were on piece work, paid per rabbit. A gun skinner in the rabbit processing business could skin seven rabbits a minute, six hours a day while standing knee deep in rabbit heads. Skinners had gnarled hands. They did a sort of crazy shuffle to keep up maximum skinning speed all day long. Everyone else in the business depended on the speed of ths skinners output. Many in the tough rabbit industry hit the slops at night and always fronted up for work the next day.

The concrete floor of the shop and warehouse slopes slightly towards the back, where it was hosed down and drained of rabbit blood and bits at the end of the day. The drain went straight into the soil out the back yard and had a few flies interested. There were some protests about the maggots and smell from neighbours. Rabbit processing operated under the corrugated iron roof, Winter and Summer.

The current trap shop in Mollioson Street was the rabbit coolroom and the warehouse area next door was for the proccessing of rabbits. Harry lived in the old basic one bedroom 1930's residence out the back, made of plywood, timber, masonite and corrugated iron. No insulation in sight. Kyneton's winters have a bit of a reputation and Summers get serioulsy hot. There were no mod cons in his home, nor did Harry have a wife. The residence has been progressively renovated over the succeding decades. Harry later lived in the grand old red brick bulding next door on the corner of Mollison and Mair Streets, now Victorian Heritage listed.

The big freezer that Harry built here for the rabbits had ammonia pipes for freezing and sawdust insulation in its walls, according to John Conlan, Kyneton local business person and former world champion shearer. Only ther freezers large concrete slab remains today. This animal processing business was one of the largest employers and bigger businesses in Kyneton in its time. Harry amassed significant amounts of Kyneton real estate with the rabbit business proceeds.

Local Kyneton school kids bought their freshly trapped rabbits to Harry to be given sixpence a pair. One of the locals who brought his catch in as a kid said sometimes Harry would sniff these rabbits, say they were "off" and pay half price, even if they had only just been freshly caught that morning.

Someone else said they built their house in nearby Taradale from income earned from the trapping and sale of wild rabbits. Someone else again said as a kid near Gisborne, he saved enough money to buy his first car from the sale of rabbits. He trapped and cleaned them then waved a raw dressed rabbit out in view of the passing motorists on the old two lane Calder Highway. People got the message, stopped and bought his rabbits, lots of them, for years. A lot of things that were normal, useful and beneficial then would be illegal today.

Many farms in the Kyneton region had a timber rail supported by forked posts out the front. Never-ending trapped rabbits caught on the farms were slung over the rail in pairs and covered with hessian to keep the sun and flies off. Harry's timely truck would always come around like clockwork to collect these rabbits and pay cash on the knocker to the farmer, or more likely to the farmer's wife and kids, for the fresh bunnies to bring back here and process them.

One of the retired locals came in to the trap shop to say he started his first job right here at the age of 14, helping the men with the processing of rabbits. Life was different then.

Ironically, IT'S A TRAP! is selling rabbit traps (Bunny Banks) and the other traps in this same building. Harry Portelli would be pleased. He died after 35 years in the rabbit processing and export business. Some of his descendants still live in the area. The large tiled mural on the side of the old council buildings nearby on the corner of Mollison and Hutton Streets in Kyneton was done by Kathryn Portelli.

A few stories are around about the old cash rabbit business and the goings-on.

Laurie Turner had the old bluestone building for a while in the late seventies - early 1980’s. He had a bitter dispute with the Macedon Ranges Shire Council Planning Department after repairing and fitting out the whole building. They would not issue him with a Certificate of Occupancy.

They bureaucrats said change the building or they will declare it unusable. Laurie was adamant that the building was OK. With the council ultimatum, angry Laurie took to the building. He made it seriously unusable, ripped off the entire roof and verandah and gutted it. Not a thing stood but the four heavy walls of the bluestone ruin which is how it still stands today. Who won that brawl?

Later, the council of the day then approved the demolition of these bluestone walls to make way for a car yard. According to the Kyneton Historical Society records, one brave councillor stood up and protested this demolition approval saying that this important building was part of Kyneton's bluestone heritage and it must be preserved. He eventually won the battle and saved this historical building from obliteration. Good on him, whomever he was. It is the only bluestone shop and dwelling in Mollison Street.

Bit by bit, these old buildings on this land will be restored back to what they used to be in a previous era of Australian history, including verandahs that used to be over the footpath of both buildings. They will not be sanitized, corporatized or neutralized. They will progressively work their way back to their original old Kyneton look.

Animal hunting and trapping has a much longer history than that of buildings and black and white Australia. It goes back to the evolution of humans, woolly Mammoths, sabre tooth tigers and earlier. It paid to learn the necessary skills to get a feed for yourself and your family and stay alive in the daily hunting and gathering survival process. This long evolution of hunting from millions of years back is probably still built in to human DNA today.

People today, including Australians, hunt and trap for food. There is a term called Subsistence Hunting - taking feral animals to feed your family. There is another term called Conservation Hunting, to take destructive feral animals out of the Australian landscape so that the native animals and plants can have a chance of survival rather than extinction.

Trapping and hunting feral animals and preserving habitat, native birds and animals are not mutually exclusive endeavours.

Bring in your pest and animal yarns and see what is the latest and greatest to fix the problem or to equip yourself for fishing and hunting. Buy online to have our traps, pest deterrents and shooting accessories delivered to your door, wherever you are in Australia.

Trapping and deterrent technology has come a long way since the early days. Like many people, I have an interest in humane trapping and without poisons. Poisons have indiscriminate and unintended consequences such as an agonizing death of pets and wildlife that either pick up the poisons or eat the poisoned carcasses - unplanned secondary kills.

I also have concerns about the enormous loss of defenceless Australian native wildlife and species extinction caused by imported feral birds and animals let loose in the bush and towns - notably cats and foxes killing native birds, reptiles and small mammals by the many hundreds of millions each year.

Some people and do-gooders still let kittens loose at the edge of forests or feed foxes and feral cats - ignorant or stupid or both about the consequences of their actions and the heavy loss of native wildlife that they cause by helping ferals to survive and breed up in the bush.

According to Prof. Tim Flannery in an ABC Radio National interview with Phillip Adams in December 2012, 20 million feral cats (all breeding up and doing nicely for themselves) spread across Australia to eat around 70 million native birds and animals a day. Millions of feral foxes add to this native species loss. They are not thriving on fresh air.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries website says that such high fox numbers are beyond extermination. They can only be managed in your area. Same for feral cats - here to stay, a man-made environmental disaster being made worse by misguided people still feeding or releasing cats in the bush.

Feral Indian Myna birds aggressively gang up and push native birds and their eggs out of nests and hollows, muscle in and take the nest over. They gang up and push possums out of tree hollows as well. If they are not using the tree hollow for themselves, they will fill it with rubbish so that no other species can use it.

These birds are on the top 100 most invasive animals on the planet and they are spreading further across Australia like the feral cane toads, another imported crop control measure gone horribly wrong. Feral pigs, camels, goats, horses, deer, birds and cats continue to cause immense and sometimes irreparable environmental damage to habitat and native species of animals and plants.

The feral animal issue is a huge one in Australia and it is a national disgrace. Hopefully, our traps, along with interested and motivated individuals who use them, including Land Care groups and hunters, will help the Australian native animal survival rate to some degree.

I also like to think that our traps help Farmers save a lot of valuable and vulnerable livestock from the various feral predators and the distress that it brings to see and have to deal with their lambs, ewes, poultry, even cattle, that have been carefully bred and raised, then be mauled, mutilated or killed by wild feral animals. Farmers can lose their livelihoods from repeated and unsustainable stock losses to wild dogs and foxes, sometimes 30% and more of lambing losses.

These murdering canine predators are excellent killing machines in the Australian bush, as are feral cats. They hunt to kill and do it very successfully and repeatedly every day.

Large packs of wild dogs have been seen in Victoria surrounding hunters around campfires at night, moving in for the kill.

City people are generally insulated from this gruesome carnage, nor do they have their livelihoods seriously threatened by repeated feral animal attacks on livestock. Some people, not all, hold generalized and blinkered Disneyland views of cute cats and cartoon caricatures of foxes and other ferals, oblivious to consequences from the daily destruction that introduced and out-of-control ferals cause to Australian native animals, livestock and landscape. Species extinction of many native animals is what is going on. They don't stand a chance against predators that they have not built up defences against through evolution.

In the real world, good traps, firearms and responsible people who use them have an important role to play in Australia, in the country and in the suburbs when black and white decisions have to be made between ferals and native animals or livestock. That is why we are now selling ammunition and knives.

A customer came in to the shop and discussed his idea of instead of the Australian government handing out hundreds of millions of dollars as food aid to impoverished countries, subsidise Australian hunters and food processors to trap or shoot and process wild goat, rabbit, deer and pig meat from the millions of healthy feral animals that destroy the local environment. Keep most of the cash donations and instead feed the starving by professional destruction and exporting of feral animals in Australia.

The world's human population is over seven billion and will be many more billions by 2050. Feeding this population will be interesting. Perhaps first world people and bureaucrats in the future may not be so fussy about which animal species they choose to eat and which healthy feral animals will work their way up the food chain. Hunger and starvation will decide that.

Some cultures eat camel meat and horse meat (France), even carp, in countries where these animals are not feral. Australia is overrun with feral animals that go to waste. Meat is meat when you are starving.

Providing this feral meat may also help reduce the loss of other animals in serious decline such as the few remaining great apes, orang-utans and other endangered species in the wild that are still poached for meat by many starving people, especially in times of famine. Instead, those people could be given Australian-donated smoked and salted meat to eat from healthy feral animals trapped and processed here.

Instead of the current practice of culling feral animals in Australia by government-approved shooters and letting the carcasses just rot, collect, process and export the best. This food can be preserved as smoked or salted meat which is similar to dried beef jerky as protein rather than giving all-cash donations to people who n eed help. No freezing or electricity needed.

If you have to take an animal’s life, the ethics of it should be not to waste that life but to utilize all the good, edible meat with nose-to-tail eating and use the hides. The liver has the most nutrients of all and is the first thing that an alpha pack animal eats when they kill another animal. Offal is rich in life-giving minerals.

It has come to light that dodgy food processors in Europe were buying up or catching large numbers of free-roaming Irish horses for five years and substituting the cheap/free horse meat for more expensive farmed beef that comes with all the conventional farming overheads.

The horse meat ended up being bought and eaten by consumers from mainstream food outlets such as supermarkets, restaurants, fast food shops, hospitals and other large suppliers of meat products. It seems no-one got ill from the underhand meat substitution practice over the years. The scam was more of a culture shock after the event and a deception for financial gain. When you trap or shoot your own meat, take it home to process and freeze it, you know exactly what you are eating, same as growing and eating your home-grown fruit and vegetables.

Drying, smoking and salting meat to kill bacteria and preserve it is not new. Meat and fish have been preserved this way for millennia by various cultures, well before shops and trading were invented. Food was precious and never wasted. These simple, safe and ancient food preservation techniques pre-date cities, electricity and refrigeration. They are still in use by some cultures.

With manufacturing and mining employment in declline, how many people could these feral-processing enterprises employ in Australia and how many feral animals could it remove from the land which would help vulnerable Australian native animals and livestock to survive? Kill two ferals with the one stone.

Harry Portelli just did it right here on these premises after the war years, from our very own buildings, by processing and exporting millions of trapped or shot feral European rabbits at Mollison Street, Kyneton, for 35 years.

So it can be done.

Robyn Wawn
Macedon Ranges