Eat a Koala stickers spark outrage

Want
to succeed in business and real estate development?

Eat
a koala.

That’s
the message promoted by an angry Australian businessman who contends that local
government is more interested in protecting cute marsupials than
“saving” business.

Queensland
local Graham Parker has designed and distributed car stickers encouraging
Australians to “Save the Redlands … Eat a Koala,” making reference
to his area’s wild koala population and struggling businesses.

“The
stickers I have been making are a protest against the council’s single focus on
koalas and lack of interest in protecting businesses,” said Parker of Capalaba,
near Brisbane.

“Redland
City Council spent $193,000 on a koala communication strategy which included a Facebook page and a communication officer, but only
$170,000 of council’s economic development budget was allocated for business
retention and expansion.

“The
‘Eat a Koala’ stickers are not meant to encourage people to eat the furry
little critters, they are just highlighting the other extreme and opposite
point of view to the council’s,” Parker said.

But
the stickers — and accompanying Facebook page of its own — have unsurprisingly
caused controversy in the district with animal welfare groups and local
politicians condemning the campaign.

“These
stickers are very irresponsible and are sending out the wrong message,”
said Michael Beatty, spokesman for RSPCA Queensland.

“We’re
trying to protect the koalas, and I would imagine a great deal of the Redland
community would be in favour of protecting the koala too. I’m presuming some
idiot who thought it up thinks it’s funny, but it’s not.”

The
“Eat a Koala” campaign drew questions for its poor taste in more ways
than one.

“You’d
have to question the motivation behind anyone making a sticker that urges
people to eat koalas,” said one comment on a website dedicated to koala
welfare.

“I’ve
heard they taste terrible anyway!”.

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