Incoming from Sword Devlin, Purveyor of Crossword Puzzles to Royalty, the Rich, the Famous and even to Commoners Like You: news of the retirement of Andy, Adelaide Airport’s Biosecurity Beagle, and indeed the last Biosecurity Beagle on the Australian mainland.
Andy the beagle, who single-nosedly detected about 2.3 tonnes of biosecurity risk material over a career which took him across Australia, will return to Sydney to live with his original handler.
It’s no secret that beagles are good at sniffing things out. It’s obviously quite difficult to quantify just how much more powerful their sense of smell is than ours, but I’ve seen a lot of estimates of around 10,000 times. Given this astonishing statistic, I’m astounded that they’re not instantly killed by their own Beaglegas, but maybe there’s some sort of innate immunity thing going on there.
But I digress. Often.
The fact is that Andy has been sniffing things out across Australia for over six years and is now ready (between naps) to sniff the pavements and parks of Sydney. And who knows what he will find there, given his record over the last few years:
2.3 tonnes of biosecurity risk material confiscated.
718kg of undeclared fruit and fresh vegetables.
432kg of meat including dried organs.
8.9kg of viable seeds and live plants.
In the last few months he’s been involved in the South Australia Fruit Fly project, preventing fruit flies from annoying South Australians. And we all know what irritating little bastards they can be (the fruit flies, not the South Australians) (although…).
Useful but little known beagle feature – pull that
little tag on its head and the whole thing deflates for easy storage.
Andy will be replaced – as many of Australia’s Biosecurity Beagles have been – with a Labrador, because as his handler tells us:
“There is a saying with sniffer dogs that labradors will work to please but beagles will just please themselves.”
Well, yeah. I mean, it’s a beagle. But you weren’t moaning when he found that half ton of illicit beef, now were you?
Because while they may be lazy, difficult to train, easily distracted, difficult to handle, distressingly flappy eared, obstinate, surprisingly unintelligent, constantly hungry, selectively deaf to many commands and requests, and just generally massively frustrating to own or work with on virtually every single level, beagles do have a really good sense of smell.
Far better than your average labrador.
Thus, I predict a massive upsurge in dried organ trafficking and fruit fly numbers coming to South Australia real soon now.
It’s worth noting that Cape Town International Airport does still employ a Biosecurity Beagle – you can see him patrolling the baggage carousels in the International Arrivals hall – and he’s probably the reason why nothing illegal ever happens in South Africa. Just saying.
Thanks for all your hard work protecting the South Australians from viable seeds and fresh vegetables, Andy.
Enjoy your well-earned retirement.