Lib Candidate David Leyonhjelm says Northern NSW koalas are not endangered by logging. Animal lawyer, Angela Pollard, says, "Logging density has doubled, with an extra 140,000 ha of coastal forests targeted for clear-felling. She adds that the previous protections on retaining mature trees have also been removed, and this impacts most severely on the koalas’ main source of food tree. The new logging rules also remove the requirement to check for koalas in the canopy before a tree is felled."
In a press release headed, "Labor’s Great Koala National Park bad for North Coast communities, " David Leyonhjelm, the lead candidate for the Liberal Democrats, NSW, has vowed to oppose Labor Party election promises to create a Great Koala National Park.
“There is no evidence that koala populations are in decline in northern NSW,” he says
In the press release, it is further claimed that "An extensive research effort undertaken by the Department of Primary Industries over three years has shown that koala occupancy was influenced by elevation, cover of important browse trees, site productivity and the extent of bushfires in the last ten years. Previous timber harvesting did not influence koala occupancy with no difference between heavily harvested, lightly harvested and old growth sites. The study also found evidence that the koala population in north-east forests was ten times higher than previously estimated."
Leyonhjelm's press release claims that research undertaken by the Department of Primary Industries is independent, however most wildlife protection groups would say that it is anything but.
Animal Justice Party upper house candidate, Angela Pollard, a long term resident of the Northern Rivers who has spent many years reafforesting her property near Nightcap National Park, rejects Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm's claims about north east coast koala numbers:
"I'd be paying more attention to the research undertaken by North Coast environmental campaigner Dailan Pugh who received the Order of Australia Medal for his services to forest conservation, rather than a politician cosying up with the timber industry," she says. Dailan Pugh cites a number of studies addressing the reduction in koala numbers across the east coast and he questions the validity of DPI Forestry's acoustic recording of koala calls as opposed to reliance upon the standard method of checking for scats [droppings] under koala food trees. On reading these studies (Is_Logging_Really_Benign_For_Koalas_as_DPI_Forestry_Claim.pdf), it is abundantly clear that the felling of large koala food trees has had a major impact on koala numbers on the north east coast."
"Just as concerning is the impact that the Berejiklian Government's new logging rules are already having on koalas. Logging density has doubled, with an extra 140,000 ha of coastal forests targeted for clear-felling. The previous protections on retaining mature trees have also been removed, and this impacts most severely on the koalas’ main source of food tree. Horrifyingly, the new logging rules also remove the requirement to check for koalas in the canopy before a tree is felled."
Animal Justice Party's Angela Pollard states:
"In order for north coast koalas to survive into the future, we need to recognise that the time for logging of our state forests is over. They have already been plundered, with their best timbers already taken and now we are taking smaller and smaller trees, which are of limited to no use for koalas. We are creating wildlife deserts where we should be providing havens for our native animals."
Meanwhile, Mr Leyonhjelm is trying to justify logging koala habitat with the Department of Primary Industry's (Koala research in NSW forests study, which Leyonhjelm claims, “undermines both Labors’ and environmental groups’ rationale for closing down the timber industry in northern NSW by creating this large new park,” Mr Leyonhjelm says.
But wildlife activists think that the Department of Industry has a highly conflicted portfolio.
David Leyonhjelm is standing for the Legislative Council and Greg Renet is standing for the Legislative Assembly seat of Coffs Harbour at the state election on Saturday.
Angela Pollard is an animal rights lawyer and an Animal Justice Party candidate for the Upper House NSW in 2019.
Video and text of Sheila Newman's speech at the Animal Justice Party's event, "Policy basis for Kangaroo treatment in the ACT," 5 April 2016: Harvesting, damage mitigation and culling probably actually accelerate population growth in roos because the smaller ones survive and adapt by sexually maturing earlier - which speeds up fertility turnover. Since 2003 DNA studies have shown that ACT and southern NSW roos, both male and female, migrate at significant rates and for longer distances than the ACT model assumes. Migration has probably been mistaken for fertility, rendering ACT roo counts unreliable and invalid. The ACT needs to stop culling and widen its research base to consider various genetically based algorithms that naturally restrain fertility opportunities in kangaroos.
Examples include separate gender pathways, with 'sexual segregation' where male and female populations live apart. It is likely that the stable presence of mature dominant males and females in family and mob organisation inhibits sexual maturity and activity as has been shown in studies of other species, such as macaques and superb fairy wrens (the latter cooperative breeders). In humans, girls brought up with step-fathers who came late to the family were more likely to mature sexually earlier due to absence of Westermarck Effect.)
Planned wildlife corridors need to be made safe and long-term viable to cope with people, car and kangaroo population movements.
Canberra is pursuing a policy of rapid population growth, mostly through invited economic immigration.
Canberra's population problem
In June 2016 ACT - South West Australian Capital Territory was the fastest growing area in Australia and grew by 127.3%. (ABS http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/3218.0)
Canberra’s population could increase to 904,000 by 2061 according to new projections released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It's not inevitable, but the government would like you to believe it is.
Predicting a population growth of at least 98 per cent within 50 years, ACT population projections for 2061 suggest that the Australian Capital Territory population could exceed Tasmania's population by 2038.
But some think that the ACT's biggest problem is its kangaroo population
It's not the new suburbs, the new roads, the new airport, the additional schools, hospitals, houses, and all the new cars that threaten Canberra's grasslands: it's the eastern grey kangaroos.
It seems that it is better to have cattle in Canberra's nature parks than kangaroos.
Ecological cattle grazing is now being trialed. Cattle can be more easily moved than kangaroos. (Fletcher, Senior Ecologist, communication to P. Machin.)
Although, Fletcher had previously described the devastation cattle made to grass cover in no uncertain terms: "Fletcher Phd: p.37. “70 pregnant cows and four bulls grazed for ten weeks at Tidbinbilla after a bushfire in January 2003 (Section 3.5.1). Prior to their arrival, there had been an atypical abundance of pasture due to the death of almost half of the Tidbinbilla kangaroos in the bushfire, but by the time the cattle were removed, the Tidbinbilla pasture had been reduced to the lowest herbage mass recorded on any site during the study.”
ACT Kangaroo Management Policy works on a model that all creatures maximize their population growth and that Canberra's roos are riding an expansive curve which can only be capped by massive frequent culls. A stated fear is that they will otherwise graze and drastically modify biodiversity of Canberra's grasslands. Another is that roos need periodically to be shot so as to save them from starving to death.
Why culling is better than harvesting (ACT Senior Ecologist, Don Fletcher)
"[…] the model indicates that commercial harvesting (currently under trial in the region, at the maximum level allowed, results in a sustainable harvest of kangaroos, but does not increase the herbage mass, and only slightly reduces the frequency of crashes when herbage mass falls to low levels. (To demonstrate this with an ecological experiment would require an extremely large investment of research effort.)
However, an alternative 'national park damage mitigation' formula, which holds kangaroo density to about 1 ha -1 , is predicted to increase herbage mass considerably and to reduce the frequency of crashes in herbage mass, but these effects would be achieved at the cost of having to shoot large numbers of kangaroos." (Fletcher Phd: Population dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands, 2006, p. vi.)
The model and the reality
The ACT Roo Management model is one of high fertility sedentary populations that rarely migrate, grazing grasslands down to the subsoil. But, in his 2006 thesis, p. 237, Senior ACT Kangaroo management ecologist, Donald Fletcher, tested this model and found, to his surprise, that,
"The study did not provide evidence that high densities of kangaroos reduce groundcover to the levels where erosion can accelerate.
Unmanaged kangaroo populations did not necessarily result in low levels of ground cover. Groundcover had a positive but not significant relationship to kangaroo density, with the highest cover at the wettest site where kangaroo density was highest. Weather has an important influence on groundcover."
"The results from the study as a whole indicate that unmanaged kangaroo populations did not necessarily result in unacceptably low levels of ground cover." (Fletcher Phd: p.231.
The Kangaroo Migration factor
Since 2003 DNA studies have shown that ACT and southern NSW roos, both male and female, migrate at significant rates and for longer distances than the ACT model assumes.
Migration has probably been mistaken for fertility, rendering ACT kangaroo counts unreliable and probably invalid.
DNA studies 2003 show migration a strong factor
Zenger et al (2003) found that mitrochondrial DNA samples indicated about 22.61 individuals per generation migrated with a range of 8.17-59.30. In female immigrants the range was 2.73 with a range of 0.60-12.16. Although females demonstrate smaller migration rates compared to the sexes combined, the values are still comparatively high. Analysis across NSW showed populations separated by up to about 230km had equivalent numbers of close relatives when compared to populations only about 20km apart.
This contradicted field study opinion that migration was low in eastern grey kangaroos, and especially low in females in the ACT. Tidbinbilla (a Canberra nature park studied by Fletcher) featured in the Zenger et al study.
Zenger MtDNA findings contrary to Migration views in Fletcher thesis
"Throughout their lives eastern grey kangaroos are relatively sedentary (Johnson 1989) compared to red kangaroos (Priddel 1987). A partly concurrent study of eastern grey kangaroo habitat use and movements on the Googong and Tidbinbilla sites found the eastern grey kangaroos on these sites were sedentary in all seasons (minimum convex polygon mean size 0.43 km 2 ± 0.06 SE and 0.61 km 2 ± 0.08 respectively; Viggers and Hearn 2005). Kangaroos were not radio tracked at Gudgenby but my observations suggest there is no more movement of eastern grey kangaroos on and off the site there than at Tidbinbilla. Thus it is likely there was little net movement of kangaroos on and off the study sites." (Fletcher, page v.)
Paradoxical impact of Culls, kills and Harvests
Harvesting, damage mitigation and culling probably actually accelerate population growth in roos because the smaller ones survive and adapt by sexually maturing earlier - which speeds up fertility turnover.
"Smaller, earlier breeding genetic stock tend to escape harvesting". See, e.g. J.J. Poosa, A. Brannstrom, U. Dieckmann, “Harvest-induced maturation evolution under different life-history trade-offs and harvesting regimes.” (See note for more literature on this.)
Fletcher, on estimates of biomass consumption per roo allows for large variations in harvested populations vs wild populations.
"How big are eastern grey kangaroos?
The mean live weight of eastern grey kangaroos taken from the unshot population at Tidbinbilla was 29 kg – smaller than the 35 kg mean live weight assumed in the Kinchega kangaroo study (Caughley et al. 1987). Based on the size relationship between shot and unshot populations of kangaroos in South Australia and Queensland (Grigg 2000), the mean size of eastern grey kangaroos in equivalent shot populations was predicted to be 17 kg live weight. The minimum dressed size accepted by operators of commercial chillers is 17 kg, implying that many of the kangaroos in shot populations (on rural properties) in the ACT region are too small to attract commercial shooters."(Fletcher, p.242.)
Culling has a similar effect.
Earlier maturation would contribute to higher population growth rates. What role does harvesting, culling and farm mitigation killing play in accelerating breeding rates?
“Smaller, eat less, more numerous, more fecund", reproduce earlier
“The management implications arising from this study are numerous and a full account would require a separate report. As one example, kangaroos in these temperate grasslands are on average smaller, eat less, are more numerous, and are more fecund, than would be predicted
from other studies (e.g. Caughley et al. 1987). Thus the benefit of shooting each kangaroo, in terms of grass production, is less, or, in other words, more kangaroos have to be shot to achieve a certain level of impact reduction, and the population will recover more quickly, than would have been predicted prior to this study.” (Fletcher, p245.)
Kangaroos shot in Tidbinbilla and low weight in shot populations
“The mean live weight of eastern grey kangaroos in high density populations can be estimated from the weights of a sample of 332 kangaroos shot at Tidbinbilla in June 1997 (Graeme Coulson, personal communication, 2003) to be 29 kg. (That is an adjustment of the actual mean liveweight of the shot sample, 26.4 kg, to allow for seasonal effects, as explained in Discussion. Kangaroos in shot populations, such as on grazing properties, are likely to be smaller due to selective harvesting, also explained in Discussion).”(Fletcher p.242.)
Wider Research Base needed
In my view, the ACT needs to stop culling and widen its research base to consider encouraging various genetically based behaviours that naturally restrain fertility opportunities in roos.
Known examples include
incest avoidance, which limits breeding unless animals can disperse to their own territory.  Sexual segregation and gender pathways, where male and female populations live apart.
Incest avoidance as a spatial limiter of breeding opportunity
Many examples of suppressed maturity or breeding in both males and females close by related adults in many species. (Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law: Rules of animal and human populations, Countershock Press, 2013, chapter 3.) (Paperback edition and Kindle edition.)
In kangaroos male sexual dominance and monopolisation of females is a very obvious trait. (The effect of dominant close females on female maturation is less known and should be investigated as it has been in other species).
Where large males and females are removed from mobs, these limiting population effects are also removed. What happens then?
Kinship rules and incest avoidance
The following diagram is of human kinship rules, however similar patterns of incest avoidance occur in other species, and in kangaroos. The diagram for humans is split into family and in-laws and sets out some typical rules for incest avoidance in low fertility environments - central Australia and mountainous South Korea. The rules for inlaws are reproduced back to front to demonstrate a mirror-like effect. The person in the top left corner, 'You" may not conceive/marry any of the people in the black squares. That leaves only eight possible mates - as long as they are not already married. Imagine how hard it would be to find a wife or husband under these circumstances in a sparsely populated society of small clans that only travelled on foot, without cars, planes or boats. In a more fertile environment, the rules of incest avoidance are usually much less strict, as in Leviticus, where people may marry their first cousins - giving much greater fertility opportunities, even without the benefit of modern transport. For more about this and how it affects human economies see: "Overpopulation: Endogamy,Exogamy and fertility opportunity theory"
The following two diagrams are from Zenger et al (2003).
They show the regions from which their eastern grey kangaroo DNA samples were taken, and they give a 'family tree' of roo DNA diversity, which shows greatly decreased diversity in north NSW and in Queensland. The authors could find no explanation for this.
Possible explanation for decreased Mt DNA in Queensland & Northern NSW
Harvesting has gone on for a long time in these regions. We know it is associated with marked size decrease. It seems likely that it is also associated with earlier sexual maturity. Consider the possibility that, as well as size decrease and earlier sexual maturation in harvested populations, the decrease in genetic diversity present in those populations may be due to inbreeding resulting from loss of family structure and associated incest avoidance, with decreased migration as small early maturing roos settle for their siblings. There seems little will to investigate this. Although there is some literature, it is very limited. (See note .)
Sexual Segregation/Gender pathways
Review of Scientific Literature Relevant to the Commercial Harvest Management of Kangaroos http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/nature/110641Kangaroolitreview.pdf
“Sexual segregation is a phenomenon seen in many species, with segregation occurring along behavioural or ecological dimensions. Sexual segregation in western grey and red kangaroos in semi - arid Victoria has been the subject of intensive investigations since the last review.
[…] MacFarlane and Coulson (2005) investigated the effects of mating activity, group […] composition, spatial distribution and habitat selection on sexual segregation in western grey and red kangaroos. The synchrony and timing of mating activity was seen to influence the magnitude and timing of social segregation in these species, with mixed sex groups predominating during the breeding season. …
… Spatial segregation and habitat segregation were also seen. Although the magnitude of these types of segregation were weaker, they were both still significantly influenced by synchrony and timing of breeding.
Coulson et al. (2006) discussed sexual segregation at three levels (habitat, social and dietary) and confirmed that both size and sex influence segregation.
MacFarlane and Coulson (2009) showed that the need for males to maintain contact with other males (perhaps to develop important fighting skills, evaluate rivals and establish a dominance hierarchy) might also promote sexual segregation.
Similarly Nave (2002) reported evidence of sexual segregation in eastern grey kangaroos in Victoria.”
What are the consequences of loss of sex-specific territory?
Years ago a man who had worked in PNG told me that fertility shot up when churches convinced men and women to cohabit, where previously they had separate land and houses.
What effect could reduction of habitat, forced cohabitation, forcibly changed migration routes and wiped out populations have on male/female kangaroo territory and consequently on fertility opportunities?
How do we know that the female bias (recorded by Fletcher) at Tinbinburra, for instance, is not due to that area being female territory?
Female elder kangaroos
Daughters seem to learn from their mothers to look after joeys. Where female kangaroos are early orphaned their parenting skill may increase risks in joey upbringing. The extraordinary rates of joey mortality may have something to do with this. (See Faces in the Mob for a study of success and failure in raising joeys in one mob.)
In conclusion, regarding ACT Kangaroo management:
It seems that ACT Roo Management Policy and Science:
- Fails to monitor family structure (spatial population monitoring)
- Fails to deal with size reduction, fertility increases probably related to culls etc
- Fails to look at behaviour; notably breeding limitations exerted through incest avoidance/dominance and separate male/female territory
- Underestimates immigration (See Zenger et al)
- Fails to use DNA monitoring to help in the above
- Seems excessively presumptive and mechanistic
 Zenger et al DNA study 2003: (Heredity (2003) 91, 153–162. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800293, K R Zenger, M D B Eldridge and D W Cooper, "Intraspecific variation, sex-biased dispersal and phylogeography of the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)."
 Harvesting impact literature: Many of these studies arise from fish stocks. Articles quoting studies for kangaroos tend to quote from the same very small amount of literature and to draw equivocal conclusions, frequently paraphrasing each other. Peter T. Hale, "Genetic effects of kangaroo harvesting", Australian Mammalogy 26:75-86 (2004)http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.319.7936&rep=rep1&type=pdf seems to be the main work cited, but relies on studies which Fletcher's Phd calls into question, has little to say about eastern grey kangaroos but seems to infer that they have similar rates of starvation attributed to red kangaroos.
In Review of Scientific Literature Relevant to the Commercial Harvest Management of Kangaroos (2011) http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/nature/110641Kangaroolitreview.pdf, pp.27-28, after flagging the potential impact of harvesting on kangaroos, the study concludes with a mere opinion that the impact of size and other harvesting selection on kangaroos probably would not be great, on the assumption that the harvested populations are not isolated. This is pretty much as Hale's study (above) concludes. However we know that the harvested populations in northern NSW and Queensland are genetically isolated and impoverished according to Zenger et all (2003) cited above. Furthermore, the review showed it was aware of Zenger et al.
"The last two reviews concluded that there was no evidence, or potential, that commercial harvesting could alter the genetic structure of kangaroo populations at current harvesting levels (Olsen and
Braysher 2000, Olsen and Low 2006). It was perceived that kangaroo populations would have to be
reduced to very low levels for genetic impacts to become significant (Olsen and Braysher 2000).
Moreover, at the time of the last review, it was concluded that there was an absence of theoretical,
empirical and modelled evidence of genetic impacts at current levels of harvesting” (Olsen and Low
2006, p50) and there were few, if any,examples of harvest‐induced body size selection in terrestrial
vertebrates. While there have not been any studies specifically investigating the potential genetic
impacts of harvesting kangaroos since the last review, there have been a large number of original
research and review papers addressing this question in a range of other vertebrate species,
highlighting the perception that the potential genetic consequences of harvesting may be significant
The human harvest of wild animals is generally not a random process, with harvesters often
selecting phenotypically desirable animals, e.g. those with a large body size or elaborate weaponry,
such as antlers. This therefore has the potential to impose selective pressure on wild populations,
which may result in an alteration to population structure by reducing the frequency of these
desirable phenotypes and/or an overall loss of genetic variation (Allendorf et al. 2008).
Allendorf and Hard (2009) have termed this process “unnatural selection”, which is defined as undesirable changes in an exploited population due to selection against desirable phenotypes. Cited examples of the
effects of selective harvesting on desirable phenotypes include an increase in the number of tuskless elephants (Loxodonta africana) in South Luanga National Park, Zambia, and a decrease in horn size
of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) because of trophy hunting (reviewed in Allendrof and Hard
2009). In the case of bighorn sheep, the observed genotypic and phenotypic effects resulted from
selective harvesting of young males with rapidly growing horns a trait linked with high reproductive
success) before they reached an age where they could achieve high reproductive success (Coltman
et al. 2003). This study highlights the importance of understanding age-specific trait size, rather
than trait size per se.
A recent review by Mysterud (2011) discusses the relative importance of various biotic and abiotic
factors that determine the potential for selective pressure from harvesting. In particular, Mysterud
highlights the importance of assessing selective harvesting within the context of management
regulations, hunting methods, animal trait variance, behaviour and abundance. Mysterud argues that in many cultures large mammal harvesting is not expected to produce strong directional
selection in trait size.
Although many of the factors discussed are of greater relevance to traditional
sport hunting, this review highlights the importance of a number of factors relevant to the
commercial harvesting of kangaroos in Australia.
There is certainly evidence for selective harvesting of larger/older animals within kangaroo
populations, primarily because the economic performance of kangaroo harvesting enterprises is
highly sensitive to variations in average carcase weight (Stayner 2007). Between 1997 and 2009 the
total harvest in NSW comprised between 70 and 89% males. In the case of wallaroos, the
commercial take is even more strongly biased towards males (almost 90%), because females rarely
reach the minimum size dictated by licence and market conditions (Payne 2011). Despite the
preference for larger males, it was reported that harvesters target a range of sizes above the
minimum, especially when densities are reduced and there are fewer target animals (Payne 2011).
There average weight of harvested animals supports this assertion [(Table 2)].
As reported in the last review (Olsen and Low 2006), studies on the potential effects of size-selective harvesting in kangaroos concluded that although there was potential for genetic consequences of
harvesting within a closed population (Tenhumberg et al. 2004), the degree of mobility and
geographic range of genetic populations of kangaroos would be sufficient to ensure that any
localised effects could be countered by immigration (Hale 2004). So, the question remains: does the
recent literature on this topic provide any basis for changing the previous conclusions?
In the big horn sheep example referred to above, the extent of selective harvesting pressure was
probably much stronger than occurs in kangaroo populations. In addition, the population was small,
isolated and had restricted potential for immigration (Coltman et al. 2003), thereby exhibiting
characteristics akin to a closed population. As such, this probably represents a more extreme
example, where prevailing management and biological factors combined to create strong selective
Penny Olsen and Tim Low, "Situation Analysis Report, Update on Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Kangaroos in the Environment, Including Ecological and Economic Impact and Effect of Culling," School of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT and 6 Henry Street, Chapel Hill, Queensland, Prepared for the Kangaroo Management Advisory Panel, March 2006
Proceedings of the 2010 RSPCA Australia Scientific Seminar: Convergence or conflict: animal welfare in wildlife management and conservation, Tuesday 23 February 2010, CSIRO Discovery Centre, Canberra https://www.rspca.org.au/files/website/The-facts/Science/Scientific-Seminar/2010/SciSem2010-Proceedings.pdf
 Family structure/westermarck/incest avoidance/endogamy/exogamy: Sheila Newman, Demography, Territory, Law: Rules of animal and human populations, Countershock Press, 2013, Chapter 3, “CHAPTER 3: The urge to disperse: Why children don’t usually marry their parents.” (Available amazon.com) Examples of incest avoidance citations within:
"Several studies have shown that maternal relatives avoid mating with one another (rhesus macaques: Smith, 1995; red colobus, Procolobus badius temminckii: Starin, 2001; Japanese macaques: Takahata et al., 2002; and see for review: Moore, 1993; van Noordwijk and van Schaik, 2004), 88 but less is known concerning patterns of inbreeding avoidance between paternal relatives (but see Alberts, 1999). In this study, we showed that the probability of paternity by a dominant male decreased when he was related to the dam at R = .5 (the highest possible relatedness coefficient in our study). Smith (1995) showed in rhesus macaques that the intensity of inbreeding avoidance was directly correlated with the closeness of kinship, as in the mandrills studied here. ”
Marie Charpentier, Patricia Peignot, Martine Hossaert-McKey, Olivier Gimenez, Joanna M. Setchell, and E. Jean Wickings., 2005. “Constraints on control: factors influencing reproductive success in male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx).” Behavioral Ecology 16:614–623]
More reference examples on incest avoidance in multiple species:
Hoier, S., 2003. “Father absence and the age of menarch, A test of four evolutionary models,” Human Nature, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 209–233, Walter de Gruyter, Inc., New York.
Cockburn A, Osmond HL, Mulder RA, Green DJ, Douvle MC, 2003. Divorce, dispersal and incest avoidance in the cooperatively breeding superb fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus. J Anim Ecol 185 72:189–202;
Griffin AS, Pemberton JM, Brotherton PNM, McIlrath G, Gaynor D, Kansky R, O'Riain J, Clutton-Brock TH, 2003. A genetic analysis of breeding success in the cooperative meerkat (Suricata suricatta). Behav Ecol 14:472–480;
Mateo JM, 2003. Kin recognition in ground squirrels and other rodents. J Mammal 84:1163–1181;
Pusey A, Wolf M, 1996. Inbreeding avoidance in animals. Trends Ecol Evol 11:201–206;
Stow AJ, Sunnucks P, 2004. Inbreeding avoidance in Cunningham's skinks (Egernia cunninghami) in natural and fragmented habitat. Mol Ecol 13:443–447;
Yu XD, Sun RY, Fang JM, 2004. Effect of kinship on social behaviors in Brandt's voles (Microtus brandti). J Ethol 22:17–22.
Director of Alphadog AnimalArmy, Marcus Fillinger speaks about his research looking at multiphase kangaroo fertility control, undertaken in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney. Marcus discusses remote delivery (darting) of contraceptives to kangaroos and the kinds of problems which have arisen where people with little training in marksmanship have targeted kangaroos. he also shows photos of clinical consequences of shooting that has failed to make a clear headshot. Marcus shows a number of rescues via tranquillizer dart and challenges as a myth the idea that you cannot relocate kangaroos because they die of stress etc. This talk was given at an event held by the Animal Justice Party on 5 April 2016 in Canberra. The purpose of the event was to look at government policy towards kangaroos.
Recent mainstream media articles raise serious questions as to the policy base behind the ACT government policy to kill Kangaroos. Join us and hear about the research base purportedly in support of killing Kangaroos in the ACT. 6.00-7.30pm, Tuesday April 5th 2016, Urambi Village Community Hall, Gateway B, Crozier Circuit Kambah. Speakers: Sheila Newman, Marcus Fillinger, Frankie Seymour.
Sheila Newman –Independent researcher, evolutionary Sociologist and policy advisor for the Australian Wildlife Protection Council. Sheila will speak about kangaroo population numbers, including reference to the ACT Chief Ecologist, Dr Don Fletcher's PhD study of kangaroo populations at densities of 5 or 6 per hectare and their effect on ground cover. She will talk about what is lacking in the way kangaroo populations are described in the ACT and how agendas for the expansion of human population and development in the ACT affect the way the government presents kangaroos and their numbers to the public
Mr Marcus Fillinger - Director of Alphadog AnimalArmy, Marcus will speak about his research looking at multiphase kangaroo fertility control and which is undertaken in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney and will engage experts in remote delivery, ballistics, neuroscience, zoology, pharmacology, veterinary science, ecology, and reconnaissance drone engineers.
Frankie Seymour – activist, writer and researcher. Frankie brings a powerful background to the debate around Kangaroo Management. From 1996-2013, she served on the ACT government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC), collectively developing over about 20 codes of practice.
Light refreshments provided
It helps for catering if you can let us know you are attending;
RSVP Animal Justice part ACT: [email protected]
GOLD COIN DONATION APPRECIATED.
Alphadog AnimalArmy Inc (http://animalarmy.org/) need to meet a target goal of up to $9000 right now for urgent ACT licenced Ecological studies to expose ACT Government manufactured science and provide a new habitat to release translocated kangaroos.
After many months of dedicated and tireless research and project development, the Alphadog AnimalArmy Inc ACT Kangaroo Translocation project trial proposal is under consideration by the ACT Government. For the past 5 months, Charity Director, Marcus Fillinger has poured his time, money, blood, sweat and tears into the 81 page document submission that will challenge and expose every aspect of the ACT Government’s current questionable, flawed and unsubstantiated approach to kangaroo management.
As it is inevitable that the ACT TAMS Minister will announce another unnecessary kill of ACT kangaroos, your chance to make a real difference is needed right now. As part of Alphadog AnimalArmy’s negotiations with Government about our project submission, we have provided the Government with a variety of potential release sites for translocated kangaroos. These sites need to be Ecologically assessed by a licensed ACT Ecologist – and to that end we need up to $9000 URGENTLY. $3000 will cover a preliminary assessment with another $6000 needed for a comprehensive assessment report.
This must be completed before the TAMS Minister announces a cull – because by then it will be too late.
The TAMS Minister has provided a potential option to have their own Government Ecologists or Government-funded contractor to assess these sites. As we see it, the only logical option is that we provide our own independent licensed assessment. As you can imagine, having the ACT Government do an assessment or commission their own contractor to undertake an assessment is as flawed as their need to kill annually – moreover as they are adamant there is no where for kangaroos to live in the ACT – and that statement came from the office of the ACT Greens Minister!
Your time to help is right now!! We need your donations to make change for kangaroos now and into the future with non-lethal wildlife management in this ever shrinking world. With a variety of other modular components to non-lethal wildlife management to come, Alphadog AnimalArmy have created a mechanism and real world, practical and logical solution that will bring permanent change. After all, this is what we do on a nearly daily basis across the boarder in NSW!
The need for donations also extends to the need for Alphadog AnimalArmy to purchase a rescue vehicle that will provide ease of transport for up to 4 kangaroos at a time.
Your time to act is now, and is simple as donating some money to make sure you can help us provide a future for ACT kangaroos. This year, if kangaroos are being killed in the dead of night in the middle of winter with family units being brutally torn apart and joeys fleeing into the dead of night to die of exposure or predation – remember that you had a chance to do something about it.
Image removed by sender.With logic and ethics on our side, we are presenting translocation as an evidence-based, humane and non-lethal option that will become the future of native wildlife management within the ACT and around the world.
Without your support, kangaroos will continue to face violent and unnecessary deaths at the hands of the ACT Government.
To underline the magnitude of work we are doing for non-lethal wildlife management around the world, we're currently lobbying the Canadian (Ontario) Government to adopt translocation of black bears as opposed to the proposed implementation of a bi-annual cull. Further north, we are assisting with further development of monitoring and relocation practices of polar bears in conjunction with a three-part North Pole expedition series. The expedition series will be undertaken by charity Director Marcus Fillinger and will bring international awareness to the relentless demonization and brutal slaughter of Australia's iconic kangaroos.
Image removed by sender.With ever-shrinking habitats due to the impact of human population and development, native animals around the world will benefit from translocation as the future of responsible, ethical and sustainable wildlife management - ACT kangaroos are no exception.The ACT Kangaroos need your urgent help. Every dollar will count.
Support to other Groups
For those groups or individuals who may be challenging the ACT Government in the court system who may require our specialist knowledge and expertise, we are happy to assist with your arguments pertaining to non-lethal management.
Please donate and forward this email throughout your networks and share via Facebook and Twitter using the links below.
Senate candidates from the Animal Justice Party (AJP) will take their ‘less hooves equals more food’ initiative to Canberra this week, to promote a sustainable approach to global food security issues.
The party wants Australia to realise its potential as a food bowl for the world in a sustainable, ethical manner by decreasing animal agriculture and increasing plant-based food production.
The AJP’s lead candidate for the senate in Victoria, Bruce Poon said with the world’s population currently about 7 billion and growing, and production being negatively impacted by climate change, a new approach was desperately needed to future proof the world’s food supply.
“Animal agriculture must be scaled back if we are to stabilise the climate and avoid run-away and catastrophic climate change,” said Mr Poon.
“One of the most pressing drivers of poverty and hunger is that the poor are being out-bid by the rich for grains that wind up feeding livestock instead of people.
“Globally, we feed enough grain to cattle to feed 8.7 billion people each day.
“Even in Australia, where cattle spend most of their time on pasture, they still consume more than twice the grain in any time period that all the people in Australia do.
“Factory-farmed animals such as pigs and chickens also consume large amounts of grain while such intensive farming practices produce other issues such as waste, disease and anti-biotic resistance.
“Put simply, ‘less hooves equals more food’ – for everyone.”
The AJP position is based on the science from several reputable reports authored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Environment Program (UNEP).
Published between 2006 and 2010 these reports identify animal agriculture as a major contributor to green house gas emissions and species extinction due to loss of biodiversity from clearing.
Mr Poon said animal agriculture was responsible for 92 per cent of all land degradation in Australia, and had caused loss of habitat, species extinction and contributed to climate change.
“Animal agriculture also uses the bulk of fresh water in Australia, for example the Victorian dairy industry uses over half of the state’s available fresh water.
“Australia must demonstrate leadership and commitment to address global food security in an environmentally sustainable way, and we need to do it now,” he said.
Queensland AJP candidate Chris O’Brien said Australian farmers were highly productive and well equipped to turn Australia into the food bowl of the world, but were held back by outdated ideas, practices and misdirected government incentives.
“As part of the global community – and as a wealthy food producing country – Australia has a ethical responsibility to increase sustainable production of plant based food and decrease reliance on animal agriculture,” said Mr O’Brien.
"Our government needs to get serious about reducing land use and environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture.
“Boosting the production of grains, fruits and vegetables for human consumption is a more sustainable way to feed the world that will benefit human health, the environment and reduce the immense animal suffering that is systemic in the production of animals for food.
“Additionally, we need to develop storage and processing industries to value-add to raw product to better meet the demands of the enormous markets on our doorstep.”
The AJP representatives will be meeting with Ambassadors from countries within our region this week to discuss food security issues and how Australia can transform its food production to sustainably meet the growing demand of a hungry world.
Ruminants like sheep and cattle produce substantial methane through the digestion of food. Methane is recognized as one of the most harmful greenhouse emissions (much more so than carbon).
Land is cleared for grazing to grow crops for factory animal farms. Producing animals for food is far less efficient than plant based protein in terms of land, water and emissions.
Cleared land in many areas (like Australia's top end) is burned regularly to keep it from reverting to forest. Keeping land cleared for animals means it can't be reforested to draw down CO2.
Transporting feed to animals and animals to slaughter produces CO2. The necessary refrigeration required to prevent the otherwise speedy decomposition of meat between slaughter and cooking is also heavy CO2 producer (commercially and domestically).
Australia's livestock produce more than twice the CO2 contributions of our coal-fired power stations.
Bruce Poon: AJP lead candidate for the Victorian Senate – 0400 248 226
Chris O’Brien: AJP candidate for the Queensland Senate – 0426 396 715
Professor Steve Garlick: AJP National President – 0428 880 564
For the first time ever right across Australia ( except NT and Tas) Australians will at this election have the opportunity to vote for a party dedicated to animals. At a recent presentation by the AJP in Victoria, I found out that their principle policy is 'kindness'.
You may know the recently formed Animal Justice Party from their efforts to stop the kangaroo slaughter in the ACT or other actions such as opposing the live trade. They were however formed to enhance the lives of all animals as can be seen from the policies on their web site Animal Justice Party.
If you want to know how AJP preferences work for the Senate please read their explanation below:
1. The AJP has preferenced other parties on the Senate Group Ticket so as to maximise its chances of having candidates elected. This is the best way you can use your vote to help animals.
2. We are required by the AEC to preference every party. Giving minor parties the highest preference gives us the best chance of winning when the votes are counted.
3. Parties that have policies that support animals have been preferenced highest by the AJP. Parties with policies and practices that support animal cruelty have been preferenced lowest by the AJP.
4. AJP preferences vary in each jurisdiction according to the performance of each party on animal cruelty matters. For example, we have put the Greens last in the ACT because of their active support of kangaroo brutality in that jurisdiction. On the other hand, we have put the Greens mid-field in Western Australia and South Australia because of their active support for banning the horrendous live trade in farm animals.
5. In all cases except in the ACT we have preferenced Greens ahead of the major parties.
6. If you want to vote above-the-line for the AJP, then simply follow the AJP Senate How to Vote Card (vote 1 above the line). Of course you can always vote below-the-line for the AJP if you want to preference the other parties and candidates in a different way.
They have no policies on economic growth, education, economic reform, taxes, workers, health, jobs, senior Australians, immigration, asylum seekers, Aboriginal affairs, globalisation or Australian businesses. Their clients are the animals we share our society with. They are the farm animals, wildlife, pets and working animals.
Policy coming soon on the environment, and one needed on population.
The Animal Justice Party
The Animal Justice Party was formed as a response to growing public concern about the neglect of animals and animal protection issues by political parties. Its aim is to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves - animals. It will provide a focal point for voters frustrated by the lack of political action and who feel strongly that much more needs to be done through our parliamentary systems to assist the wellbeing of animals.
The members see that there is a need for laws and processes which recognise animals’ needs and capabilities which protect their interests, whether they are domestic, farmed or wild. The Animal Justice Party will also ensure such laws and processes are properly enforced and implemented to achieve genuine justice for animals.
Members of the AJP believe that animal cruelty is an unfortunate and all-too-common feature of Australian society that must come to an end. Several non-government organisations have been tackling animal welfare issues at ground level from various perspectives to-date, however there’s an immediate urgency to bring much-needed influence to this agenda from a government policy dimension.
The Animal Justice Party has been established to give voice to those who have none – to pursue the vital issues of animal protection through the Australian Parliamentary System by:
• Encouraging the adoption of animal-friendly policies by other political parties
• Demonstrating that voters care about animal issues by contesting elections
• Educating the electorate about the animal policies of candidates from other political parties.
The Animal Justice Party values the lives of all beings, human and non-human. It views animal lives as having an importance beyond the simple biophysical, and as deserving of our respect, kindness and understanding. The AJP does not see the value in animal lives as being determined by perspectives on consciousness, human utility, or the narrow quantitative determinism of much science and conservation.
The AJP recognises that many governments, institutions and individuals do not appreciate that living beings of all kinds have lives of meaning in their own right.
The Animal Justice Party stands 100% against the live export of our animals to other countries beyond the reach of our laws and our influence. Once again we see horrific cruelty to Australian animals.
The AJP have asked the Minister responsible for live exports, Joe Ludwig, to resign after the latest expose from two abattoirs in Egypt. Under our Westminster system, he is responsible for these atrocities, and must take responsibility. We are also looking at our legal options. We have laws against animal cruelty, and it seems that putting animals on board a ship where there is a good chance they are going to be subjected to trauma and distress is a breach of those laws.
This is another example of the Government's failure, lack of care, and that you will be voting for the Animal Justice Party rather than Labor.
AJP's plan is to get rid of anyone in Government who would inflict such cruelty on animals. The current opposition are no better on this, in fact, they may be worse!
Just a few days ago Julie Bishop promised to apologise... to Indonesia, and resume the live export trade at full speed if the Coalition win the elections. If an apology is due, it is to the animals who suffer and die needlessly under this cruel policy.
Kangaroo Slaughter in the ACT
For a number of years the current territory government has been slaughtering Kangaroos in an ugly cull. The minister for the environment and speaker, The Greens Shane Rattenbury MLA, is part of the government that authorises these culls - despite the Green's "animal welfare" policies. The AJP are doing everything in their power to lobby The Greens and the ACT government to halt this slaughter. Through the political process, they can apply a unique kind of pressure to sitting politicians, and we hope to put an end to this disgusting and unnecessary practice.
Over concern about the way intensive (factory) ‘farming’ adversely impacts upon the well being and welfare of each individual animal in such establishments, the Brambell Committee of the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council developed a list of five freedoms which all animals these animals have a right, supported by most animal protection organizations around the world including advisory councils such as the Farm Animal Welfare Council which advises the EU and British Parliaments.
1.Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
2.Freedom from discomfort – by providing a suitable environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
3.Freedom from pain, injury and disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
4.Freedom to express normal behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animals own kind.
5. Freedom from fear and distress – by ensuring conditions that avoid mental suffering.
The Animal Justice Party supports these five freedoms and believes that these must also apply to the transport, handling during transport, lairage and slaughter of animals. While slaughter of animals for food remains lawful, animals that can not be killed by gunshot or captive bolt stunning ‘on farm’ must be transported the shortest distance possible to the abattoir.
The Animal Justice Party (AJP) will be fielding 10 candidates including 6 women, for the Senate in the September Federal Election in a bid to ban live export. According to Animal Justice Party: “We are opposed to the live export trade, as are the majority of the Australian people. The fact that the major political parties ignore the people’s well formed opinion is staggering.”
“If the government will not get rid of live export, the people will get rid of the government. That the opposition leader, Mr Abbott, has promised to expand the industry and apologise for suspending it shows callous disregard for both the animals and the electorate,” said Animal Justice Party.
“The Gillard Government’s own self-acclaimed livestock export monitoring system has now been shown to be completely useless, as we all expected it would be. It’s time Minister Ludwig resigned. Its time these major parties put the well-being of animal lives ahead of losing votes in certain sectors of the country and bowing to a ruthless industry.”
Rallies, emails, letters, public outcry are all to little avail and the numerous “incidents” keep shocking the caring public.
Please join the Animal Justice Party. Download the membership form, make a cheque out and mail to Download membership form
Animal Justice Party
PO Box 1010
Strawberry Hills, NSW, 2012
Direct transfer (Please email [email protected] for details)
Best wishes to all,
Professor Steve Garlick
Animal Justice Party of Australia
Human exceptionalism, self-centred neoliberalism, its rationalist processes and modern-day production, financial and trading systems have ensured that the cruelty we inflict on non-human animals now permeates most aspects of human life in this country and in many western cultures. We see it in what we eat, what we wear, our health, education, housing, sport and entertainment, our attitude to the environment, employment and industry, research, and commercial development. As humans we can do better. Time for the Animal Justice Party!
[Editor's note: This article was published prior to Christmas but was lost and recovered twice. We had site problems due to a very high number of visits. It has taken us until now to get it back up, but please read about the Animal Justice Party.]
Animal Justice Party Annual General Meeting
Redfern, Sydney, Saturday 8 December, 2012
Human exceptionalism, self-centred neoliberalism, its rationalist processes and modern-day production, financial and trading systems have ensured that the cruelty we inflict on non-human animals now permeates most aspects of human life in this country and in many western cultures. We see it in what we eat, what we wear, our health, education, housing, sport and entertainment, our attitude to the environment, employment and industry, research, and commercial development.
The lives of many humans in this country are supported by the misery we inflict on animals. What kind of unfulfilling and unsustainable human life is this that we would want to brutalise and extinguish the life of another sentient being, just so our comfort in a wealthy country can be accommodated, when there are ethical alternatives? It provides a flimsy and arrogant foundation for building a society on the moral and ethical values essential for a sustainable planet. It is unfair, unjust, short-sighted and inappropriate for an enlightened world. But it need not be like this.
As humans we can do better, and as a society we need to be open to the plurality of all kinds of culture and knowledge and the various worlds from which they come – in particular the many worlds of the nonhuman animal. We need to be inclusive and demonstrate humility, rather than ignorance and arrogance, to all of these worlds.
If we are not prepared to accept that humans can never always be right, and we are not prepared to accept that there is a plurality of knowledge not only from different human world views but from different worlds, we will not have cognitive justice in this country and that is a big loss for all of us. Social, environmental and economic sustainability can only be approached through an inclusive approach to knowledge, not where the rights of some knowledge holders are marginalised, brutalised and suppressed by vested and greedy interests, or through disinterest.
The pervasive and endemic reliance on animal cruelty to achieve human ends is in no small measure due to the actions and inactions of parliaments of all levels throughout the country. These parliaments regard power, money and recognition ahead of concern for the wellbeing and capability of other sentient beings who may not share the same language of communication, or who live in worlds we are not prepared to take an interest in. Faustian and conceited behaviour among politicians replaces and subverts ethical, moral and passionate leadership in concern for the lives of animals. This needs to change.
The extreme and confronting graphic images and the widespread evidence of animal abuse we have witnessed during this year are just a miniscule example, a small window, of what is going on regularly in our towns, suburbs, institutions, farms, sporting and entertainment events, and across the whole of the Australian landscape. Despite the very worthwhile efforts of various animal welfare supporters in exposing extreme animal brutality we find the major political parties, locked-in to neoliberal practice and policy, remain predominantly unmoved and unconcerned. They adopt the view that a strong society is somehow determined by the numbers that appear in a set of economic accounts and by narrow disengaged ‘science’. Values of compassion and kindness, and the knowledge to be gained from non-human worlds are not regarded as relevant in the world of rationalist economics. Ignoring these other worlds of knowledge is selling our future as a just society a long way short.
If spending some quiet time in the presence of an animal does not enliven your heart against animal cruelty then, as a politician, you have no moral right to represent the interests of a just society in our parliaments. For too long, non-human animals have been without a voice in the parliaments of this country, despite the fact that nearly every issue that comes before these parliaments in some way impacts on their lives. It is easy to be discounted in these places if you have no voice and no power.
This is why there is a need for a political party that can represent animal interests in these decision-making arenas. There is a need to confront and challenge political decisions on animal cruelty, using the same strategy of vote taking that these political parties themselves pursue.
This will be the role of this political party. It will not duplicate the efforts of animal lobby groups. It will not represent the interests of the right, the centre or the left. Rather, it will represent the interests of marginalised and downtrodden non-human animals who have been given no representation at the table of the decision-making processes that influence their wellbeing and very existence. No other political party, including the Greens, has the moral standing to represent the animals of this country.
Let us be clear, the AJP will not be a single-issue party because the cruelty issues impacting on animals in this country are multifarious. The AJP will, however, certainly be a single-purpose party because its focus is squarely on animal wellbeing and capability. That the current government of this nation has abrogated its moral and ethical responsibility for the wellbeing and capability of all non-human animal species, the voiceless, is evidenced by the pathetic level of funding provided by it for animal welfare – an amount so small it does not reach seven figures.
Further evidence of the Government’s disinterest in the lives of animals is demonstrated by its handing responsibility for animal welfare to the minister for agricultural production; in its plans to hand much environmental protection decision making to state governments at the behest of big business; in its failure to consider the impact on animals in any of its decision making; in its failure to adequately respond to the graphic images of brutality to animals that have been brought to light; and in its direct support of, and indeed direct on-the-ground involvement in fostering, the largest land-based slaughter of a native animal on the planet. This native animal is the iconic kangaroo that sits in the national coat of arms above the entry to Australia’s Parliament House. Every day politicians, in typical conceit, pass beneath this coat of arms yet not one from any political party, Greens included, has had the courage to speak out against the horrific slaughter against this gentle and fragile creature.
The rationalist economics agenda that the parliaments around this country have allowed themselves to be seduced by brings to light two serious concerns as it relates to the cruelty they enable onto animals. It denies all animals their right to realise their own basic capabilities as fellow sentient beings – the right to interact with their own world, to nurture their young, to play, to make their homes, and to grow old respectfully. Importantly, beyond this self-interest animals possess agency and so by denying our connectedness to animals we humans are consequently denied the contribution of animals to our companionship, to our wonderment and joy, to our health, to our knowledge of other beings and their worlds, and to enhancing the sustainability of the landscape and seascape for all of us. We are morally and emotionally poorer for these denials and this should be of concern for all fair-minded Australians.
Next year there will be a federal election and the AJP will be there to take votes away from those parties and individuals that have no respect for animals in their policies and behaviour. Let us be under no illusion; the road before us will be made very difficult by the selfish, the greedy and the unethical that currently underpins neoliberal politics. There will be powerful and monied interests that will do their best to upset what we stand for. But we need to make a start along this road if we are to make a positive difference in the way this country views and treats all its animals – not only for the benefit of the animals but for humans and the planet as well.
We have come some distance from an intentional quiet beginning in a very short time. At the many events at which we have been represented throughout the year there has been considerable enthusiasm for what we are trying to do and our membership continues to grow. We aim to be around for a long time.
In February/ March next year we will have our official launch, at which time we will formally announce our candidates for the Federal election to be held later in the year. We are in the midst of candidate selection right now. We are on our way, so watch this space. Ladies and gentleman, later next year many voters in this country will have the opportunity to make a statement in support of a more compassionate, ethical, just and caring nation as it relates to all species of non-human animals. These values of fairness are important for all Australians. Recent history demonstrates that received rationalist economics takes us further from a just society and more toward the iniquity of global production, trading and financial systems that are way out of the reach of the ordinary citizen.
Australian voters will have a stark choice. To continue to support political parties that either directly foster or are selectively disinterested in cruelty to animals; or choose a party that seeks a moral and ethical alternative to cruelty; that seeks more planetary sustainability predicated on knowledge from and understanding of other worlds beyond that provided via human exceptionalism; and one that understands that animals have the capability of agency that directly benefits humans. In 2013, Australian voters will have that choice in four jurisdictions, and in later years this choice will be expanded.
Finally, I would like to thank the AJP Committee of Management, past and present, for their efforts in progressing our cause. They have all taken part in ensuring our active involvement in many functions and campaigns in support of animal wellbeing throughout the year. I acknowledge in particular the work of the Party Secretary, which Kerry Hewson has admirably undertaken.
Professor Steve Garlick
ABOUT PROFESSOR STEVE GARLICK
Professor Steve Garlick is the Founding President of The Animal Justice Party in Australia. Steve has professorial positions at two Australian universities and is an international expert in spatial economics and university/community engagement. He is an economist and applied ethicist, specialising in wildlife welfare and sits on a number of international and national boards. He also has an extensive publication record. In 2009, with wife Rosemary, Steve was internationally recognised with the World Shining Compassion Award for the work he does rehabilitating severely injured wildlife. With Rosemary, Steve runs a wildlife recovery and research centre for macropods and wombats.
Michael Lardelli, who is a senior lecturer in Genetics at the University of Adelaide, helped form the new Australian party, Stop Population Growth Now, and is on its governance committee.
Lardelli explains his motives for supporting this new party this way:
"My background is in activism over resource limitations, particularly oil. I have been interested in that since 2004. However, anyone who studies resource limits and becomes interested in broader sustainability issues eventually realises that the core issue in all these areas is population size. Increasing population size eradicates any savings made by individuals who may be trying to reduce their environmental impact, e.g. CO2 emissions."
Food security for Australia in doubt
"The thing that particularly worries me is food, since there is a lower limit on how much food one person needs and so a person can only reduce their food consumption so far.
The green revolution was, and is, only possible through the use of large inputs of oil so a declining trend in oil production - which began in 2008 - threatens our food security.
I recently looked at Australia's food production statistics and it is clear that if we double our population size we will not be able to feed ourselves in a drought year."
Australia already a net importer of vital foodstuffs
"We are already net importers of fruit and veg! Put that together with the declines in food production that will be forced upon us by declining oil production, phosphate production and even climate change and any increase in Australia's population begins to look like national suicide."
A father's duty to his children
"I have two young children and my duty as a parent is to maximize their chances of survival - that is why I was happy to help form SPGN (Stop Population Growth Now) when I was asked".
What is the Stop Population Growth Party on about?
Stop Population Growth Now, describes itself as "a body of Australians seeking to reduce Australia’s population growth to zero as a matter of urgency."
They say, "Government policy is adding almost another million to Australia’s population every three years. This is damaging the quality of life of all Australians and greatly reducing the prospects for our children.
This highest ever growth rate is a direct result of government policy.
Recent polls show that a majority of Australians do not support this government caused, rapid population growth. Most Australians believe that our population growth should be stopped while we work out how Australia can cope with changing climate, diminishing supplies of water and most non-renewable resources, city congestion, loss of arable land to city expansion and loss of Australia’s unique flora and fauna."
Their next statement, that Australians have no-one to vote for in the Federal Election later this year, needs updating, because the Stable Population Party of Australia is now well-established.
But, as SPGN says on its website, "Labor and the Coalition favour rapid population growth. The Greens are ambivalent on the issue."
Stop Population Growth Now, like the Stable Population Party of Australia, has announced its intention to run Senate candidates in every state, with this "single objective – to bring population growth down as rapidly as possible, by giving you the voter the right to vote on this most important issue."
Is two too many Population Parties for Australia?
Is it a good thing to have more than one party specifically canvassing votes against more population growth in Australia? Won't this dilute peoples' efforts?
I don't think so. I think it will raise the profile of the issue at the polling booths. If both parties are successful in getting candidates appointed, the variety should contribute to more sophisticated evolution of the related policies after the election.
It will also give a 'heads-up' to the Greens and other parties on this issue which affects every other policy in Australia.
Indeed, we could have more small population-focused-parties. Each could approach the population and environment field from a different angle, which may be what they intend to do. Business in New South Wales, for instance, and Oil Depletion in South Australia. Really, there are so many angles which can be commented on.
Other Australian political parties with small population policies
Note, however that the New Australia Party also exists - and is the only one in favour of a small population attempting to raise its profile at the moment in Victoria. Unlike both single-issue population parties, it provides the public with the ability to interact on-line to form and modify its policies. It deserves more support than it is getting.
We should also not forget that the Australia First Party has a small population policy as well, and, despite its embattled history, an appeal to the some of the most disenfranchised working class and rural sector, with quite effective dissemination via long-distance truckdrivers. I will shortly be writing about this party's policies related to population.
And the Animal Justice Party is no single issue party either. Its policies run deep and will soon be on-line, including the population policy. The Animal Justice Party's performance might just surprise the public, which has been accustomed by the mainstream press to the idea that 'most people' don't care much about how we treat farm animals and wildlife. In fact, from feedback I have received, it appears that nothing could be further than the truth.
The alert reader may see, as I do, the potential for a number of large groups in Australia which have been sidelined up until now although they actually carry the costs of population growth without the profits, to express themselves through these new parties.
It will be very interesting to see if all these new parties manage to get their quota of 500 people and, with these people and alternative media help, are able to keep their issues in the minds of the greater public and seriously contest the elections. A few years ago, with the stranglehold that the growth lobby has on our media and government, and hence the national and state elections, the potential for any alternative party not secretly backed by business or the other big parties, to get up, would have been much less.
An Environmental Sociologist's opinion
A great deal of political analysis and newsy comment could still be made on what drives these parties, what might split them, and about the people in them, but let's keep things simple for the moment.
My personal investment is to help them all to succeed because I agree with Michael Lardelli that Australia cannot continue to support its current population as fossil fuels decline, let alone grow its population. It is therefore imperative to aim to stop population growth as soon as possible, but also to reduce our intake of fuels and vital resources. In my opinion this can only be done by involving the greater public in the industrial issue of drastically reducing work and output, whilst sharing available paid work. If population growth slows, prices for land and every other thing will drop, making it eminently possible for any Australian to survive - perhaps better than they do now - on smaller incomes and less paid work. For more on this see Sheila Newman, (Ed.) The Final Energy Crisis, 2nd Edition, Pluto Press, UK, 2008 in the articles, "101 Views of Hubbert's Peak" and "France and Australia After Oil".
From April 2004 to March 2005 a PETA investigator worked undercover at a Covance Pty Ltd primate lab in Virginia. She recorded gratuitous despicable acts by employees of Covance toward monkeys which were kept, anyway, under appalling physical restriction and in situations of apparently permanent sensory deprivation. To see this film makes you think that Covance must have designed its experimental environment to maximise the suffering of the animals that contributed to its revenues which, in 2003 were $940 million and its global operations in 18 countries with more than 6,500 employees worldwide, including in Australia.
An added stress is the loud hard music that constantly plays in the laboratory during these films.
Covance law-suit against PETA fails
In 2005, Covance sued PETA after the videotape of the Vienna facility surfaced. The lawsuit charged PETA with fraud, violation of employee contract and conspiracy to harm the company's business. Covance later dropped the suit.
You can read about recent developments in the dispute between Covance and PETAhere. It is a very interesting site.
At its New South Wales, Australia site, the US and global company, Covance describes itself as "a leading supplier of drug development services to the biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical industries from non-clinical services through all phases of clinical development and commercialization. Covance’s cornerstone is industry-leading scientific expertise. This expertise, combined with an unparalleled breadth and depth of global development capabilities and an ongoing commitment to innovating processes and data systems, uniquely position Covance to provide service solutions which help clients reduce the cost and risk of drug development, and achieve market potential of their medical therapies.
So much money, so little grace
Headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, Covance (NYSE: CVD) is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive drug development services companies with 2003 net revenues of $940 million, global operations in 18 countries, and more than 6,500 employees worldwide. For more information visit the Covance website at www.covance.com
With so much money and expertise, it appears however that Covance is a cover for utterly depraved behaviour by humans towards experimental animals, as this footage, among the most shocking that I have ever seen, shows. I mean, this organisation boasts of its power and money. It had a choice. Why did it choose this?
It is enough to make you wish you believed in some kind of moral and powerful God, if only to be able to pray to rid us of this culture which benights the human race and to restore these poor creatures to the freedom and the chance of happiness we all deserve.
The Animal Justice Party (AJP) is close to the target number of members to be able to register with the Australian Electoral Commission. This is an indication of the importance the community gives to animal welfare. The party is now calling for more members so that it can begin to make an impact. By the way, isn't that a beautiful logo!
Dear Animal Supporter
Much of the cruelty inflicted on animals in this country results from government policy decisions, ignorance, and inertia. The interests of animals have not been represented in the Australian electoral system and as a result governments have not given due regard to their plight.
Over recent months, a small but widely representative group of compassionate animal advocates has been working to establish a political party to represent the interests of animals in the Australian Parliamentary system. During this time, a Charter, Constitution and Party logo have been established and a wide range of policy papers is currently being prepared, covering such areas as: vivisection, intensive farming, live animal exports, animals used for sport and entertainment, wildlife, kangaroos, domestic animals, animals and the law, marine animals, population and settlement, and others.
These policy papers will be on the Animal Justice Party web site in a few weeks from now.
To be registered as a political party with the Australian Electoral Commission the AJP will need 500 members. Simply through word of mouth and our website we have almost reached this target, but we will need many more members if we are to be the significant force that all animals need.
We therefore invite you to visit the infant (but soon to be upgraded) AJP website www.animaljusticeparty.org, read the key documents and download and complete a Party membership form.
Yours faithfully Animal Justice Party Steering Committee
20 April 2010
Photo by Brett Clifton of a new wild male kangaroo come to the neighborhood
The Animal Justice Party has been formed as a response to growing public concern about the neglect of animals and animal protection issues by political parties. It will give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. It will provide a focal point for voters frustrated by the lack of political action and who feel strongly that much more needs to be done through our parliamentary systems to assist the wellbeing of animals. There is a need for laws and processes which recognise animals' needs and capabilities and which protect their interests, whether they are domestic, farmed or wild. The Animal Justice Party will also ensure such laws and processes are properly enforced and implemented to achieve genuine justice for animals.
Our treatment of animals and the environments we share with them are often marred by a lack of understanding, leading to disrespect and cruelty. At a time when the planet’s environment is being challenged on so many fronts, we must urgently act to ensure that all animals that both contribute to and depend on it are respected and valued for their intrinsic and fundamental roles. We need to build a new relationship with the planet that is inclusive of all of its inhabitants. With a fresh approach towards animals and the ecological systems of Earth, humans can create more rewarding and ethical communities and relationships built on deeper understandings and firm principles of justice.
The Animal Justice Party seeks a restoration of the balance between the human, natural and animal worlds which acknowledges the interconnectedness and inter-dependence of these worlds, and respects the wellbeing of animals alongside that of humans, societies, economies and environments.
A planet on which animals are treated with respect, dignity, compassion and kindness, where they are able to flourish in their respective environments, and where their unique needs and capabilities are recognised and their interests are protected.
To promote and protect the interests and capabilities of animals by providing a dedicated voice for them in Australia’s political system.
To implement its vision and give effect to its mission, the Animal Justice Party recognises the importance of the following:
• An education system which fosters in its values an awareness of the natural and animal worlds, and of human responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of the Earth and its inhabitants
• A political system in which participatory, deliberative democracy can be exercised so that citizens have the ability to express their true concerns about the treatment of animals
• An administrative system in which governments and institutions deal with animal and environmental issues in a transparent, honourable and accountable manner
• An economic system in which ethics, the protection of the natural world and its inhabitants, and the realisation of capability of all beings are highly valued for their intrinsic roles
• A societal system in which we acknowledge that it is our human duty and responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of all animals
• A robust legal system that recognises and protects the interests and capabilities of humans, animals and their environments
• A population settlement and land use system that is truly sustainable for all its inhabitants and ecosystems.
In all its actions, the Animal Justice Party will be guided by the following principles:
• Each animal is the experiencing subject of a life. Animals and the natural environment should be respected for their own sake, not merely for their instrumental values
• Animals have their own capabilities which they should be free to realise
• Human interactions with all animals should be based on respect and compassion
• Humans have the responsibility to avoid harm to animals and the environment through their lifestyles, diets and practices
• Policies of other political parties, both nationally and internationally, that advance Animal Justice Party principles will be supported.
The Animal Justice Party seeks the following:
• A legal framework and an administrative system in which animals' status is based on their sentience and capabilities, not their instrumental value
• Constitutional protection of animals and the environment
• A political decision-making process that is more responsive to the needs and interests of all animals
• An end to human practices that cause pain and distress to animals
• An end to the killing of animals for human benefit
• An end to the exploitation and destruction of the natural environment that is the habitat of so many unique Australian native animals
• Adoption by an increasing number of Australians of lifestyles and diets that are more respectful towards animals and the environment
• An acknowledgement that violence and cruelty are not the default settings for society and animals, nor are they solutions for planetary sustainability.
The Animal Justice Party will:
For All animals
• Develop a new legal status for animals which acknowledges their rights to live protected from human harm
• Ensure consistency in the protection of all animals – companion, farmed and wild – regardless of their commercial or instrumental value, or their geographic location
• Support laws, policies and practices that enhance the quality of life of animals and reduce animal suffering
• Oppose laws, policies and practices which harm animals and their environments
• Support and promote lifestyles, practices and diets which maximise support for, and minimise harm to, animals and the environment
• Support the work of appropriately accredited volunteers who care for injured, orphaned and mistreated animals
• Support commercial and recreational ventures that provide opportunities for humans to spend time with animals on the animals' terms and in their worlds, and otherwise raise humans' awareness of animals, their needs, and their quality of life
• Promote values education that recognises the interests and dignity of animals as individual beings.
For Farm animals
• Support animal-friendly farming practices
• Oppose intensive farm animal production and processes that deprive animals of their basic needs and capabilities, expose them to confinement, painful procedures, temperature extremes and other inappropriate husbandry practices, and generally reduce them to the status of commodities
• Oppose transportation of live animals over long distances or otherwise in ways that cause suffering, or expose them to extreme cruelty at the end of the journey
• Oppose the importation of animal products derived from cruel animal production systems in other countries.
For Animals used in experimentation
• Support non-invasive research methods to improve human health as alternatives to the use of animals and animal products
• Oppose the use of animals in any scientific experimentation that inflicts pain, stress, distress and behavioural deprivation unless it is likely to result in a net benefit to the particular animal involved.
For Wild animals
• Enhance animal habitats and foster healthy ecosystems through dedicated terrestrial and marine parks and wildlife corridors, land revegetation and remediation, and animal-friendly land practices
• Oppose the institutional, commercial and recreational killing of wildlife
• Support the development and adoption of non-invasive and non-lethal methods to control native and introduced animal populations, including fertility control and more appropriate land management methods
• Support commercial and recreational ventures that seek to raise humans' awareness of the intrinsic worth of wildlife and natural environments.
For Companion animals
• Support measures to protect animals dependent on human guardians and to prevent their neglect, ill treatment or abandonment.
For Animals used in sport and entertainment
• Oppose the killing and mistreatment of animals in sport, recreation and entertainment.
Picture by Sheila Newman. Wild kangaroo using a recreational boxing bag under a mango tree at a kangaroo re-release centre in Queensland run by Anne-Marie Dineen.
A new political party - The Animal Justice Party - has been formed to champion the rights of animals by people who care about their rights and want them to have happy lives and their own space!
"Cruelty to animals has become an unfortunate and much too common feature of Australian society that needs to end. A number of non-government organisations have been tackling these animal welfare issues at ground level from various perspectives, however there is a need to bring some influence to this agenda from a government policy dimension. The Animal Justice Party is being established to pursue issues of animal welfare through the Australian Parliamentary System by encouraging the adoption of animal friendly policies by other political parties, demonstrating that voters care about animal issues by contesting elections, and educating the electorate about the animal policies of candidates from other political parties.
The Animal Justice Party will actively campaign at a government policy level against animal cruelty atrocities as they relate to wildlife destruction, factory farming, animal transportation, companion and domestic animals, pet animals and the use of animals for sport and entertainment. It will seek to toughen animal protection laws, increase penalties for convicted animal abusers, regulate and restrict the sale and use of pets, and enhance education in greater awareness and appreciation of the needs of animals."