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Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
What does the slaughter of kangaroos by the government of Australia have to do with whales?
Only six months ago, so many of us were elated to see the government of Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett elected to the Parliament of Australia.
A great many Australians voted Labor because of the promise to take a strong stand against illegal Japanese whaling. Unfortunately the strong anti-whaling stand got wimpified pretty darn fast and has now been reduced to posturing and posing.
Ahh politicians – the incredible jellyfish that walk like men with promises spewing from their sleazy lips up until the moment that they get elected and then it’s – "up yours suckers, and thanks for the votes."
That’s when they begin to dance to the tune of their real masters, the banks and the corporations. And if not making good on their campaign promise to protect the whales is not bad enough, the Australian government is now handing the Japanese whalers a public relations gift in the form of a kangaroo slaughter.
Not that the Japanese care much for kangaroos – they don’t. But they can smell out hypocrisy, and for the Australian government to be slaughtering defenseless kangaroos while condemning Japanese whaling is to be blunt – hypocritical.
Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett obviously is no longer worried about burning beds and is defending the slaughter by saying the kangaroo cull is based on “sound scientific management principles.”
That sounds vaguely familiar. Ah yes, I remember now. According to the Japanese Cetacean Research Institute the slaughter of the whales is based on “sound scientific management principles.”
Like Japan, Australia has not produced any scientific evidence backing their position that culling kangaroos is necessary. Indigenous animals are not a threat to the environment. Sheep and cows on the other hand are destructive meadow maggots and land lice, but there is no culling programs for them. Instead the national symbol of the nation is on death row in what is the largest slaughter of a terrestrial wild land animal on the planet.
Peter Garrett himself quite rightly pointed out that the slaughter of the whales is barbaric and cruel and was especially upset about the image of a whale mother and calf being hauled up the slipway of the Japanese factory ship the Nisshin Maru. Yet the slaughter of the kangaroos is horrifically cruel and joeys are bashed to death with a metal pipe or decapitated.
The Japanese media pounced on the Australian government endorsed kangaroo massacre like pesky Victorian flies on pedestrians with images and stories “exposing” the hypocrisy of Australia. And it’s not a fair accusation because most Australians oppose the killing of the kangaroos.
As for Peter Garrett, his political ambitions have blinded him to the cruelty endorsed by his own government policies while he pontificates about barbaric Japanese whaling operations. It’s bad enough that millions of kangaroos are slaughtered across the nation but this week it is the Australian government killing 400 kangaroos simply because they are on Department of Defense land. The kangaroos could be moved but the government rejected that idea preferring to reject kindness for hypocrisy.
In February when I was on the Steve Irwin down in the Australian Whale Sanctuary a reporter for Asahi News in Japan called me on the Sat phone to say, “Why are you against eating whale when you eat kangaroo every day.”
After pointing out that my ship is a vegan vessel I said that not only did we not eat kangaroos, I had never met an Australian that had eaten one. I know that Greenpeace Australia has been advocating a kill of three million kangaroo every year to reduce beef consumption but Australians don’t seem very wild about the idea.
But the bottom line is that if the Australian government is going to at least be giving lip service to opposing the slaughter of the whales, you would think they would stop being the billy calling the wok black.
The Australian government endorsed slaughter of kangaroos on public land is cruel, scientifically unjustified and down right hypocritical.
And Rudd and Garrett should know better.
Please write to, fax or call the following Australian Federal Government politicians, and urge them to order a stop to this inhumane slaughter now. You can ask them:
- to take kangaroos to adjacent land where there is "no threat to grassland species" or let people who care pay for translocation elsewhere.
- do a count, which is required by law
- to follow their own Code of Practice, which says it's inhumane to trap and dart Eastern Greys.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd
Tel: +61 (0)2 6277 7700
Fax: +61 (0)2 6273 4100
Tel: +61 (0)7 3899 4031
Fax: +61 (0)7 3899 5755
The Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon
Tel: +61 (0)2 6277 7800
Fax: +61 (0)2 6273 4118
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support, Dr Michael Kelly AM
Tel: +61 (0)2 6277 4840
Fax: +61 (0)2 6277 8556
The Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett
Tel: +61 (0)2 6277 7640
Fax: +61 (0)2 6273 6101
Also please write to the Sydney Morning Herald, The AGE, AUSTRALIAN, HERALD SUN, CANBERRA TIMES ... and if you can, contact your local radio and express how you feel about this barbaric way our wildlife is treated.
email@example.com (Sydney Morning Herald) fax (02) 9282 3492
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (The AGE ) Fax: (03) 9601 2332
firstname.lastname@example.org (The Australian) Fax: (02) 9288 2824, (02)9288 3077
email@example.com (Sun Herald) Fax: (02) 9282 2151
firstname.lastname@example.org (Herald Sun)
email@example.com (CanberraTimes) Fax (02)6280 2282
Here are some points you might wish to stress in your letters and/or calls:
- There is no scientific proof that these kangaroos are a threat to the endangered species.
- The method of killing these panic-prone animals in a corralled area is a total bloodbath.
- The kangaroos know something is up and are terrified. Joeys have been separated from their mothers and no efforts are being made to reunite them. They will die shortly if deprived of their mother’s milk.
- Since when is 100% fatality more humane than 5% fatality (predicted loss due to translocation)
- Kangaroos do not belong to the Government. They belong to the land and the government has no right to be killing them without public consultation and approval. This sudden turnaround occurred unannounced and was obviously a backroom decision.
- According to government's own websites, kangaroo populations fell between 50-70% between 2001 - 2006 due to excess killing and the drought, yet the killing continues unabated.
- The Code of Practice permitting killing joeys is extremely cruel. In-pouch joeys are decapitated or bashed to death with a metal pipe. At foot joeys run away to die of starvation, predation or hypothermia.
- The slaughter of kangaroos is the largest slaughter of terrestrial wildlife on the planet (quota for 2008 is 3.7 million).
- Promoting eco-tourism around kangaroos would be more profitable than killing them.
- Humans and livestock are far more of a threat to species than kangaroos which have lived here in harmony with the land for the last 16 million years and in fact help regenerate grasslands.
- That kangaroos are in plague proportions is a myth as they have been decimated 90% since the arrival of the white man 200 yrs ago
- Up to 70% of kangaroos killed by the Kangaroo Industry are female. Killing more than 50% females is unsustainable.
You might also like to contact the RSPCA . RSPCA supports this slaughter "We have always wanted an outcome centred around maximizing animal welfare," RSPCA obviously must be saying that the killing these kangaroos is for their own good!!!!!. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them what you think about their hypocritical stand on welfare of animals.
The CEO of RSPCA Australia is Heather Neil ph: 6282 8300, fax 02 6282 8311 email: email@example.com
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