Loving Nature, Killing Nature, and the Crises of Caring thesis

In March 2011, Carla Meurk submitted her thesis, Loving Nature, Killing Nature, and the Crises of Caring: An Anthropological Investigation of Conflicts Affecting Feral Pig Management in Queensland, Australia, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the School of Social Sciences at The University of Queensland. The study deals with the pursuit of a long-term and effective feral pig management strategy in the region formerly known as Douglas Shire of Far North Queensland. The thesis investigates the sociocultural factors that have contributed to a management impasse over feral pigs within its broader historical and contemporary context.

Meurk contends that management activities are fragmented due to under-resourcing, disputes over tenure, issues related to the availability and acceptability of pig control technologies, and the physical environment and geography of the Wet Tropics that places restrictions on access to parts of the region. A consensus that pigs are a pest has not translated into a common agreement on an appropriate management regime. By making explicit that environmental management is, necessarily, an activity that reshapes both the environment and identities, Meurk suggests that management planning be reframed to incorporate the preservation of cultural diversity, and continued reproduction of social relationships that are dependent on the environment, as core aims.

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