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MURDERS FOR MILLINERY. Sir Harry Johnston, the famous traveller, presided at a recent meeting in London called to support a Bill to close British ports and British markets to tho skins and plumes of certain birds. Sir Harry said if there wero no insect.--, ticks, molluscs, and worms to carry the germs from plant to plant or from the blood of one animal to that of another, about, two-thirds of the world's diseases would come to an end. -Nearly all the rare and beautiful birds they wished to preserve were insectcaters. "Plumage hunters," he, continued, " who work for the great plumage tradi.ig houses of England. Holland, ISelg'Uui, France, and Japan, and formerly in. the ['nited States ,(where a piohibitory Act is now 'in force), obtain* these pi.inr, car the most part that they tiny ' ho s_id in civilised ,countries as decoration;; for I lie heads and dress trimmings ol rich and thoughtless womim. Women would look just as heifitiful, and appear infinitely wiser su-.d betler-educated, if they did without those, adornments.- They should limit their choice to the feathers of the variety of birds and skins or plumes of which will not bo excluded 'by the proposed Bill." l'r.. J ruru-s Buckland said that if birds, which were the natural enemies ■of .forest insects, were annihilated every tree wouid-perish, and man would be powerless lb prevent'the calamity. Yet the plumage trade was reaching" out its tentacles into'the innermost recesses of the forests of tlie world, and drawing in tho skins of every one. of these feathered guardians. A matter of very grave concern was tiie enormous number of fly-catching and parasite-eating birds that wore being killed annually for their plumage in Central Africa. In a warm country the kingfisher fed almost ' entirely oil insects, of which it ate 150 > day. and that the skins of 216.660 kingfishers should be offered at the last six London feather sales Ivas asking for trouble. During the past 12 months the figures of some of the species sold were: — Crowned pigeons, 21,318; macaw wings, 5794 pairs; quills of Ihe white crane, 20,715; humming birds, 4112; birds of paradise, 17,711. Great Britain, said Mr Buckland, . could do a noble deed by freeing the bird from the clutches of greed.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8795, 16 February 1914

Word Count

BIRDS IN PERIL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8795, 16 February 1914