Letters to the editor

The Riverina's generosity is saving the sight of children around the world thanks to The Fred Hollows Foundation.
The Riverina's generosity is saving the sight of children around the world thanks to The Fred Hollows Foundation.

One million thanks

If humanitarian and ophthalmologist Fred Hollows was alive today, he would extend a heartfelt thanks to the people of the Riverina for donating more than $51,000 to The Fred Hollows Foundation in the past 12 months.

The generosity helped the foundation deliver more than one million eye operations and treatments in 2016, a record result in its 25-year history.

One of those was seven year old Nabiritha from rural Kenya, who was born with bilateral cataract blindness.

Nabiritha was just four months old when her mother Emily knew something was wrong with her daughter’s eyes.

Nabiritha’s condition was completely avoidable, however the cost of cataract surgery was out of reach for the family who earn just $2 a day as farm labourers. 

Through the generosity of donors, Nabiritha received cataract surgery at Sabatia Hospital in western Kenya. She returned home the following day, able to see.

I would like to personally thank each and every one of our donors for helping change the lives of many millions of people living with avoidable blindness.

When we started the foundation 25 years ago, Fred would never have imagined it would grow to make such an enormous difference, none of which would be possible without the ongoing support of our wonderful donors.

Gabi Hollows, The Fred Hollows Foundation

Poisoning on rise

A vet at the University of Adelaide has reported that the number of dogs being poisoned by rat baits quadrupled in May. Baits use smell to attract rats and mice, and dogs also find this smell irresistible and will eat any baits they find. 

Rat bait contains anti-clotting agents, which mean the pet can bleed to death internally. If your pet survives, veterinary treatment can involve surgery to release trapped blood, and is lengthy and expensive.

Poisons, glue traps, and other lethal measures are horribly cruel, and killing rodents won’t keep mice or rats away for long (when animals are killed/removed from the area, more will move in to use available resources) and can actually result in a temporary spike in the food supply, causing remaining rodents to accelerate their breeding. This creates a vicious killing cycle. 

To keep your home or business rodent-free over the long term, you’ll need to contain all food sources and prevent mice and rats from accessing areas where they are not wanted. 

Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia

National approach needed

The news that another child has been injured after rolling a quad bike once again reinforces the need for a greater effort to be made to stop quad bike deaths and injuries in our rural areas.

Having grown up on a farm, I’m well acquainted with how widely used the quad bike is by country families and workers, including by adults and children alike to get around their own property as well as between farms. But as a personal injury lawyer, I’ve also come into direct contact with the life-changing nature of a quad bike injury. 

One of my clients was 14 years old when she came off a quad bike without a helmet and then suffered a permanent brain injury. Her choices in life will inevitably be very different now.

Research has shown safety measures like roll bars and helmets can help keep our quad bike riders safe. 

It’s time all Australian governments came together on this issue so there is consistency across every state. But even with the best regulations in the world, accidents are still a key risk. 

That’s why a national campaign is also needed to reinforce the message that wearing a helmet on a quad bike is an absolute must. A helmet could very well mean the difference between life and death.

Danielle De Paoli, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers