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Updated: 2013 Kangaroo Cull — No science, no compassion

2013 killing program — is it just to keep the budget allocation?

Stop Press: ACT kanga management update

by Maria Taylor

On 12 June, ACT Administrative Appeals Tribunal President Linda Crebbin granted a stay on the immediate killing of almost 1500 Eastern Grey Kangaroos in seven Canberra nature reserves.

Instead she recognised the standing of two environmental and animal welfare groups, Animal Liberation ACT and the national Australian Society for Kangaroos (ASK) to ask for reviews of the licenses granted by the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna to kill the animals.

Lawyers for ASK and Animal Liberation argued that they had specific, scientific and public interest concerns. They questioned whether the Conservator in granting the licenses considered the full extent of available  data on ACT kangaroo densities, carrying capacity and also non-lethal management methods.

The ACT government’s closing argument, put to Ms Crebbins in an hour-long presentation that also told her what she should and should not do e.g. “disturb or critique management plans”, focused on the damage that a stay would inflict on the cull program, hardly mentioning the role of the Conservator, the actual respondent.

The government argued that it had already spent $190,000 on setting up the cull program since the beginning of the year, a good part of it on public relations and planning, and that a shooting contractor had been engaged (and might go away).

$6,232 was spent on kangaroo counts, $11,900 spent on corflute signs, another $9,700 spent on thermal camera, tarps, photo planning and stationary, according to a document presented by the parks director Daniel Iglesias.

Yet licenses were only granted in mid May and legally they should not be presumed. This is the fourth year of kangaroo killing that the government paints as a natural event and a vital part of park management.  Mr Iglesias told the Tribunal that opposition to killing animals cannot interfere with government policy or the way he manages the reserves.

However Ms Crebbin noted that parks managers and the government ecologists who advise them on kill numbers, should have planned for the  possibility of a review as allowed by law, and that if money is spent, if might be “wasted” if the conservator disagrees.

In handing down her decision she concluded that the issue came down to whether the parks are best managed with or without a cull.

––– Maria Taylor

Editorial comment: Watching the ACT parks director Daniel Iglesias and his Greens Minister conducting a page one media blitz in the Canberra Time,  on ABC television and elsewhere in the past two weeks raises some troubling questions.

The stories all piled on reasons (unfortunately without research data or evaluation) for killing and burying kangaroos, supposedly on behalf of biodiversity as if kangaroos are not part of biodiversity.  It begs the question: how easily have Territorians been propagandised to accept what they once found abhorrent and cruel? 

Not so long ago in 2008 when this cycle started at the Belconnen naval station, there was major outcry from Canberra to Tokyo. Now the narrative is ‘how dare anyone oppose this good management plan and if they do they must be outsiders and troublemakers, or a bit nutty, and silenced at all cost.’

Isn’t this a little bit how totalitarian states operate?  

Leading to a federal election

The Animal Justice Party (AJP) told the Bulletin “We will not deliver any preferences at the September federal elections to the major parties or to the Greens if there is any killing of kangaroos in Canberra by the ACT Government in 2013.

The AJP calls for a moratorium on the killing of kangaroos until the following five major concerns are resolved.

First, the significant difference in kangaroo population estimates between the ACT Government and independent research; second, the failure of the ACT Government to demonstrate any ecological benefits from kangaroo killing in past years.

Third, significant evidence of brutality during the ACT Government kangaroo killing program; fourth, the failure of the ACT Government to consider proven no-harm measures such as the translocation of kangaroos from unsuitable habitats;

Fifth, the failure of the ACT Government to provide wildlife corridors and habitat improvement for all Australian native animals in the ACT.

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8 thoughts on “Updated: 2013 Kangaroo Cull — No science, no compassion

  1. I think they should use the meat from all(not just some)of the excess kangaroos as poison baits to kill foxes, cats, feral dogs and other vermin in the National Park system. These animals are destroying our ecosystems.

  2. The people responsible for this cull should review and stop this decision immediately. This very cruel practice has no scientific basis whatsoever and the excuse that it must be carried out before the end of July, 2013 because of the joeys is ridiculous, the joeys are already there. They will still have to be either beaten to death or have their heads cut off. The whole idea of this destruction of our precious wild life and the barbaric practise with the little ones is truly sickening.

  3. A message to all the cruel and disgusting people who make revolting comments regarding the Kangaroos. The Kangaroos have more right to be here than you, they are native to Australia. How about all the people who think it’s humane , go and watch what happens, take some time to think about the loss of their family members. How would you feel if someone came into your living room and shot all your family and any babies were dragged and bashed or decapitated. YES, think about that. Australia is a disgusting Country in the way it treats it’s wildlife. Australian’s go on about the Seal killing and the Whale Slaughter…. Australia is as cruel and vile as the rest of them. The cruelty to Kangaroos it shocking, if the same happened to Dogs and Cats there would be an uproar.

  4. @ Leim, I have some news that may surprise you, Kangaroo’s are not human… that our treatment of them is not humane is not that surprising really when you look at it like that. In fact we treat them like ANIMALS, as we probably should….. The only shame here is that we dont’ get to eat them, they are yummy!!

  5. Any animal that hasn’t starred in a movie or TV series; been converted to a soft toy for tourists to buy in souvenir shops; or stepped out of the pages of a children’s book can count on absolutely no support whatsoever from our so-called animal liberationists. In practice their concern for the suffering of sentient creatures extends precisely to the boundary fence of popular mass culture and not one inch further. It is anthropocentic at best and closet human-supremacist at worst. The folks from Animals Australia, Animal Liberation and the Animal Justice Party might be willing to form a “human shield” to protect 1200 eastern grey kangaroos (current population 11,000,000 plus) but ask any member of one of these groups to even NAME one of the many genuinely endangered small kangaroo species and see how far you get. Our NSW senate candidate for the AJP thinks a native animal is “any animal that was born here” and takes pride in the fact that the AJP “doesn’t discriminate” between indigenous and introduced animals, or apparently between overpopulated and endangered indigenous species. With 12,000,000 feral cats engaged in an ecological rampage across the country and an excess of grey kangaroos in ACT nature reserves threatening the continued existence of critically endangered small reptile and ground bird species the logic of non-discrimination is the logic of annihilation for the endangered species. Anyone who doesn’t know that preservation of natural habitats is at the heart of any genuine concern for “animal rights” or that the protection of critically endangered species is the absolute priority when it comes to animal protection is showing a contempt for Nature equal to that of the most rapacious property developer.

  6. As the Bulletin’s previous story on the Queanbeyan Nature Reserve shows, Eastern Grey Kangaroos and endangered grassland species co-exist very well. There is no evidence to support the nonsense that ACT or NSW kangaroos are a threat to anything except seemingly themselves —-with the commercial trade and having come under the spotlght of the so-called wildlife managers who seem to see management as equivalent to dealing death on various fronts.

  7. Sophie, your comment is a perfect illustration of a style of argument employed by both “animal liberationists” and climate sceptics, namely denying that a problem even exists no matter how much evidence is provided by scientific experts in the relevant fields. “Eastern Grey Kangaroos and endangered grassland species co-exist very well”, and this is apparently true REGARDLESS of the
    actual population levels of animals in a specific locale?
    How very remarkable! Co2 is not a pollutant, it’s good for plants right? Exactly the same style of argument.The problems ecologists encounter when attempting to engage animal liberationists in a rational dialogue are exactly the same as those encountered by climate scientists when dealing with “climate sceptics”. Namely the standards of “proof” required by a fool are so much higher than those sufficient for a rational human being that the argument is simply not worth the effort.

  8. Unfortunately you have entirely missed the point with the ACT cull. Unlike with climate change here is there is no body of evidence, no evaluation of outcomes, or any ‘scientific’ data, not just press releases, that has been made available to the public that justifies years of killing a protected native species. You might want to look at the evidence presented at the recent ACAT

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