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Cowra Council responds to public upset on kangaroo plan


ALERTED BY ANIMAL Liberation NSW, members of the public have contacted Cowra councillors protesting council’s decision to proceed with a plan to cull 30 of an estimated 300 kangaroos in the Cowra Peace Precinct area.

As severe drought and fires hit eastern Australia, wildlife has been forced closer to settlements seeking some food, water and shelter. Finding kangaroos around built-up areas is also the outcome of habitat loss and from continuing persecution on production properties. That includes a commercial industry for skins and meat that few Australians either know or acknowledge.

Animal Liberation notes Cowra Councillors have said the kangaroos are hungry and that there is little or no evidence to support increased traffic accidents relating to kangaroos or wallabies. The animal organisation has charged that councillors ignored advice from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services and council’s own director, Environmental Services.

The Cowra Guardian newspaper reported that the council’s director of environmental services had advised in a report preceding the vote: “This cull may cause more distress by disturbing the stability of the mob and there are no guarantees that this cull will reduce the frequency of traffic incidences,” summarising advice from NSW National Parks and Wildlife

Following feedback from the public, debate into the proposed cull is continuing with Cowra council agreeing to explore other options to ‘manage’ the kangaroo population, without automatically going to the lethal option. (The Bulletin always supports the notion of sharing: supplementary feeding in extraordinary times might be one solution). Debate was to resume at council’s December meeting.

Australians are hypocritical as they look away from the world’s largest land-based wildlife slaughter, while criticising other countries.

Kangaroo slaughter makes us a nation of hypocrites
By Megan Davidson, The Age

“It’s not just this proposed Cowra kangaroo cull; put into a national perspective, Australia’s shameful commercial and non-commercial slaughter of kangaroos and wallabies, is the largest slaughter of land-based wildlife in the world,” said Animal Liberation’s Chief Executive Lynda Stoner.

“How can we consider ourselves a nation of animal lovers, hypocritically opposing the killing of whales while at the same time actively engaging in widespread kangaroo and wallaby slaughter.

“This carnage has continued since the 1950s, and is entrenched with systemic and often hidden cruelty towards adults and the collateral cruel death of millions of abandoned joeys.”

The slaughter is shrouded in misinformation, often under the banner of ‘conservation’, and is being driven across Australia by government policy, industries which derive a commercial benefit, and many rural producers who continue to support lethal measures to suit their own agendas.

Like our indigenous people, our native animal species are the true custodians of our great country and yet they are forced to fight for the basic right to even exist against competition from introduced species such as cattle and sheep and the fulfilment of human greed and dominance.

Animal Liberation Regional Campaigns Co-ordinator Lisa Ryan said, “the current environmental challenges brought about by human activities which are now evident across NSW, requires compassionate, ethical and evidenced-based decision making, not ‘quick fix solution’ which involve further slaughter of native animals under the banner of a ‘License to Harm’ ”.

What does this say about us?

What have we become as a society that we are prepared to slaughter Australian native species because they are ‘hungry’ or how they ‘look’ rather than use our human intellect to devise sensible solutions and learn how to peacefully co-exist with other animal species we share this planet with?

The vast majority of compassionate people do not want public money being used to kill hungry animals. Culling has been proven to be ineffective and shooting 30 kangaroos will cause extreme distress and will greatly disturb the stability of the mob.

NSW has a shameful record in the lack of protection for our native animals. In June 2018 the NSW government announced changes to the way kangaroos are managed as part of a package of drought relief measures.

Then in January 2019, [benefiting National Party ministers before an election] the NSW south east kangaroo management zone was expanded to include Bombala; and from January 2020, the Griffith commercial kangaroo management zone will also be expanded east to the south east commercial zone and south to the Victorian border.

Victoria meanwhile, has acceded to farmer and commercial pressure for a new pet food industry based on kangaroo meat.

A code of practice that cannot be enforced

Ryan noted that this December the public is being asked for input to a revised National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes, (Ed note: codes of practice have no legal clout). The exercise is being conducted by researchers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) under contract to taxpayer-supported and animal industry-funded AgriFutures Australia.

Ryan says AgriFutures Australia in support of the kangaroo-killing industry has admitted that the consultation is partly an attempt to show the world that killing Australia’s kangaroos is a “clean and green” enterprise.

We would encourage everyone who is concerned about the plight of kangaroos and wallabies to contact Cowra council to voice their concerns about cruel and ineffective ‘lethal’ control measures, and to lodge a submission to the current revised draft National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes by 22 December 2019.

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