Thousands of toxic toads killed in Australian fest

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March 29, 2009 12:18

 
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Thousands of poisonous cane toads met their fate Sunday as gleeful Australians gathered for a celebratory mass killing of the hated amphibians, with many of the creatures' corpses being turned into fertilizer for the very farmers they've plagued for years. Hundreds of participants in five communities across northern Queensland snacked on sausages, sipped cold drinks and picked up prizes as the portly pests were weighed, measured and killed in the state's inaugural "Toad Day Out" celebration. "To see the look on the faces of the kids as we were handling and weighing the toads and then euthanizing them was just...," Townsville City Councilman Vern Veitch said, breaking off to let out a contented sigh. "The children really got into the character of the event." The toads - which can grow up to 20 centimeters in length - were imported from South America to Queensland in 1935 in a failed attempt to control beetles on sugarcane plantations. Trouble was, the toads couldn't jump high enough to eat the beetles, which live on top of cane stalks.

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