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Why the Bulletin speaks out against the ACT kangaroo executions

Unjust, immoral, brutal use of state power ignoring all pleas for mercy – very strong arguments against human capital punishment that have saturated our media in recent months.

Apply this to the ACT which is ‘state murdering’ the really innocent. Thousands charged and executed at a time. Tens of thousands of petitioners for mercy ignored. It has been going on for five years and against all evidence promises to continue.

Taxpayers are urged to be relaxed and comfortable about paying for this slaughter. They’ve been primed with a government campaign badged as ‘science’ that nevertheless can’t seem to document any evidence of wrong-doing. A true ‘kangaroo court’.

Regional Friends of Wildlife filed a complaint about the process with the ACT Commissioner for the Environment. For a year that office asked the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services for data related to the requirement that a ‘kangaroo management plan’ needs to apply adaptive management principles. That is, they need to document or monitor benefits or harms before proceeding.

In April the Commissioner wrote to the friends group: “Monitoring of herbage mass/composition has been intermittent and not sufficient to allow for adaptive management.”

Why does “herbage mass monitoring” i.e. grass growth, matter? Because the ACT’s chief architect of the cull, Dr Don Fletcher, has stated in court (ACAT 2013) it is his fairly unique belief that more grass, higher grass, is better for biodiversity, full stop.

So the charge is that kangaroos eat grass! Then the public is told this is a threat to all the little grassland creatures, as the responsible Minister says. Only Dr Fletcher, during the same 2013 ACAT, unhelpfully called saving endangered species as a charge against kangaroos, “PR”, public relations.

What if the government decided to ‘cull’ most of the horses in the ACT horse paddocks because they eat grass and they are said to be a threat to endangered species and reptiles and birds?

They kill the horses and then put cows on the paddocks to keep the grass down for bushfire management, because cows are easier to manage than the horses.  Would you call this a just, moral and effective program worth hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars? This is the absurd logic being used to kill and traumatise most of the kangaroos left in the urban parks and nearby lease lands of the ACT.

Why are they doing this instead of contemplating wildlife corridors?  You tell us, but please don’t say it’s to ‘save them from starving’.

There is a colonial mindset in the background, that signals it’s also quite OK to empty the countryside of ‘Skippies’  for petfood.  Such thinking showed up recently when friends from the US visited. Like most tourists, they really wanted to see our wildlife. At a coastal resort they came across a young boy petting a young kangaroo. Father of boy comes up and says ‘pests!’

Putting no value on the lives of common wildlife also encourages the cruel and mindless: A friend recounts walking on Red Hill recently and being horrified to witness two blokes urging their dogs to chase and maim kangaroos while filming this fun. Who cares?  They’ll be shot soon anyway according to government plans.

By Maria Taylor

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