DURING A TWO-YEAR period when my partner and I managed a large cattle station in northern SA, we experienced the extreme stress of prolonged hot and dry conditions. It is an experience I will never forget, and it continually informs my work as an ecologist.
The recent announcement to help farmers through drought — by making it easier to kill kangaroos and to use their meat to poison dingoes — is counterproductive, unethical, and has no basis in science.
Many Australian farmers are leading the way in wildlife-friendly farming, and are running successful businesses while protecting the wild animals on their lands, such as kangaroos and dingoes.
Wildlife-friendly farming is growing worldwide, driven both by forward-thinking farmers and by growing social demand that farmers treat wild animals with compassion and respect.
Promoting archaic methods of farming based on persecuting wild animals risks damaging the reputation of Australian farmers and reducing social support. The Australian society as a whole tends to empathise with the hardships farmers can face and favour supporting farmers through difficult times.
[But] to remain viable, like any other profession and industry, farming must operate within appropriate social norms. Instead of scapegoating wildlife for 200 years of unsustainable farming methods, the Australian government should support farmers transition to a 21st century approach. This includes:
- protecting dingoes who are Australia’s apex predator that benefit vegetation through their effects on wild herbivores;
- ending land clearing to promote the health of soils and perennial vegetation; and
- ensuring stocking densities that the land can carry in the long term.
— Arian Wallach, UTS Centre for Compassionate Conservation
The NSW government
is seeking “volunteers” (their words)
to help kill the wildlife
ABOVE: Red Kangaroo hunters photographed with their ‘Trophy’. (IMAGE SOURCE: oxhuntingranch.com)