The Animal Justice Party condemns and deplores the ACT government decision to kill yet another 2600 kangaroos on Canberra reserves and the Googong Reserve (in NSW which is managed by the ACT) in 2017.
The decision follows release for public comment of a draft Kangaroo Management Plan (KMP). The content of this Plan confirmed that the government has very little scientific support for its claims that ACT kangaroos are at high densities, or that they are capable of harming the very environment which has relied on kangaroo grazing to maintain it for millions of years.
The KMP’s recommendation to slaughter of up to 40% of the entire population annually flies in the face of established understanding that kangaroo populations in natural conditions cannot grow faster than 10% per year. It also defies growing evidence that kangaroos number are barely 10% of numbers at the time of European settlement.
The government denies the cruelty of its annual slaughter with assertions about a ‘humane’ killing season. Yet the ACT’s killing season takes place when almost every mature female kangaroos has both a pouch joey and a young at foot. Both babies die when their mother is killed, either bashed to death or abandoned to starve.
The government defends this cruelty by claiming its shooters comply with a code of practice, but, even if this compliance was assured, the government knows full well that the purpose of a code practice under the ACT Animal Welfare Act is not to prevent cruelty but to permit it. Even the Productivity Commission notes this in its Inquiry Report on Regulation in Australian Agriculture: “Most states’ primary legislation allows for the adoption of codes of practice by regulation, with compliance with the code being a defence to prosecution for cruelty or breach of duty of care under the primary legislation” (p208).
Of the public submissions received by the government, the number rejecting the KMP outnumbered those supporting it by three to one. The government has declined to publish the submissions, probably because they explained far too convincingly exactly why and how the government has got it wrong.
AJP National President, Bruce Poon is appalled at the ACT government’s arrogance. “It is astonishing the government thinks it can just keep getting away with this annual festival of animal cruelty and ecological vandalism, year after year, until the last kangaroo is dead.
“Do they really think voters will continues to accept the government’s patronising assurances: ‘Don’t trouble your little heads about it, dears, we’re the government, we know best’ – in the face of such a blatant extermination campaign?”