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National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes

Now extinct on mainland Australia, the Tasmanian Pademelon remains a target of legalised poaching on the island.

Australia's Federal Minister for the Environment (etc), Peter Garett MP, controls and administers a legal code permitting various species of kangaroos to be killed for commercial gain and export of meat and hides. Nationally this permission is prescribed under the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes' [The Code]

Under Section 3 of the Code, SHOOTING FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES', the following six species of macropods (marsupials belonging to the botanical family Macropodidae including kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, pademelons):

1. Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus), in NSW, Qld, SA, WA
2. Eastern grey kangaroo (M. giganteus), in NSW, Qld
3. Western grey kangaroo (M. fuliginosus), in NSW, SA, WA
4. Wallaroo (Euro) (M. robustus), in NSW, Qld, SA, WA
5. Bennett’s wallaby (M. rufogriseus rufogriseus), in Tas.
6. Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii), in Tas.

The Code provides that where a kangaroo is wounded, no other animals are to be shot until all reasonable efforts have been made to dispatch the wounded animal. Shot females must be examined for pouch young as soon as the shooter reaches the carcass, and any pouch young must then be killed immediately. Methods which are acceptable as causing sudden and painless death include decapitation with a sharp instrument for smaller hairless pouch young and a heavy blow to the head for larger pouch young.

And this is Australia's federal envrionmental code for its national iconic kangaroos.
Why don't American's shoot their bald eagles - the national bird and symbol of the United States? They have immense pride in their national iconic bird, that's why!
The Amercian Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus_leucocephalus).

Australians could learn from this association. Besides the immorality of slaughtering native wildlife, in Australia there is grossly inadequate monitoring of the poaching practice to ensure maintenance of species numbers and humane treatment. Poachers can't distinguish between kangaroo species, let alone distinguish threatened from non-threatened, let alone male from female. And do they care anyway? To a poacher, prey is money. It's as if Australian society is stuck in a colonial exploitative mindset. In 2009 we continue exploit our natural resources in the same way as we did in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Gilbert's Potoroo (Potorous gilbertii) is listed as Critically Endangered under the [EBPC Act 1999]

The following macropods are listed as Endangered under the EBPC Act:
* Rufous Hare-Wallaby (Lagorchestes hirsutus unnamed subsp.)
* Bridled Nail-tail Wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata)
* Proserpine Rock-wallaby (Petrogale persephone)
* Long-footed Potoroo (Potorous longipes)

The following macropods on mainland Australia are listed as Vulnerable under the EBPC Act:

* Black-footed Rock-wallaby (Petrogale lateralis) in the MacDonnell Ranges region and also in the West Kimberley region
* Recherche Rock-wallaby (Petrogale lateralis hacketti)
* Black-flanked Rock-wallaby (Petrogale lateralis lateralis)
* Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata)
* Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (SA and NSW) (Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus)
* Long-nosed Potoroo (SE mainland) (Potorous tridactylus tridactylus)

Each State in Australia legalises killing of kangaroos legal under licensing conditions that requires the Code to be complied with. But where is the monitoring? Kangaroos poachers do not have to pass a test of species identification, so probably are killing these threatened species. Monitoring of the Code is inadequate to ensure compliance in respect of the humane treatment of joeys, the licensing of kangaroo poachers and of ammunition specifications.

Where is the list of annual prosecutions under the Code on Environment Australia's website? Doesn't exist!

In 2004, Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc (WPA) took the previous Minister for Environment and Heritage and Ors to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (in Sydney) challenging the ferderal government's decision to approve Wildlife Trade Management Plans in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia. [Case Ref: Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc and Minister for Environment and Heritage and Ors [2004] AATA 1383 (14 October 2004)]

WPA argued that the Management Programmes should not be approved because they are inadequate with respect to the killing and locating of young kangaroos and of inaedquate monitoring of kangaroo shooting, amongst other justfications. But R Purvis Q.C. on 14 Oct 2004 rejected the challenge.

At the tribunal, "Mr Pat O’Brien maintained that in his observation shooters will kill a wounded kangaroo if possible, but if it bounds off then it will not be pursued. He also gave evidence about the practice of using "squeakers" – a large joey squeezed until it squeals as a means of attracting other kangaroos answering the distress call. The squeaker, once exhausted, is discarded."

"Ms Egan gave evidence that, according to her records, in 2003, this resulted in 39 per cent of red kangaroos taken being female. For other species the female take rate was lower. In South Australia 51.4 per cent of red kangaroos taken under the Plan are female."

"It was submitted on behalf of the Applicants that the Code clearly contemplates that "larger young" will be ex-pouch. Culling by a shot to the brain is the same method as that specified for the killing of adult kangaroos. Ex-pouch young are treated as adults in being subject to direct culling rather than being left to starve as a result of a mother being killed. However there was criticism of the suffering that resulted from adoption of this procedure in that there is no obligation on a hunter to pursue young-at-foot in order to kill them following the shooting of the mother."

The magnificent red kangaroo is the world's largest marsupial - the adult male stands up to 2 metres tall, weights up to 90kg and can leap 8 metres and travel at 65kph across rugged scrub terrain - yet it remains the target of legalised poaching in Australia's Red Centre.


Don't get too upset about us eating our national symbol. Had a bit of a look at other nations and here's what I found- Countrys that eat their national symbol
Bolivia, Cambodia, East Timor, Eritrea, Finland, Japan, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, South Africa,
Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Vietnam and AUSTRALIA.
About a third of the countriess had inedible mythical creatures that weren't very tasty. The rest were dogs, eagles and birds etc.
If it was good enough for aboriginals to eat roos, It's good enough me.
Not interested in your hyperbole it's starting to wear thin.

Just one problem.
There are about 22 million of you and there were less than one million aborigines, and we are also exporting the kangaroos and feeding them to cats and dogs.
How long do you think the kangaroos will last according to that scenario?

According to the Premier of Queensland's office: "The Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia reports that the commercial kangaroo industry provides over 4000 jobs and contributes approximately $270 million annually to regional economies".

If the means justifies the end, surely there would be justification for crime, drugs, pornography and the sex industries! If the end is money and profits, without considering the ethics of killing our gentle native animals for a mass market, then all these industries are equally valid!

It is becoming tiresome to hear about environmental destruction for "jobs" and "economic benefits"! Interestingly, Anna Bligh wants to sell off $15b worth of public assets to support population growth, and outsource jobs and training! Her interest in "jobs" is rather dubious and thin.

Kangaroo meat for indigenous people would have been a source of protein, but the mass market for Australian consumers, pet food and exports, cannot be sustainable. Despite all the management and quotas of the fishing industries, they are collapsing due to overfishing. No wildlife "harvest" is ultimately sustainable.

"Kangaroo numbers in Australia have increased substantially since European settlement due to the development of the pastoral industry resulting in increased availability of food and watering points."

Australia has been responsible for about 40% of the world's mammal extinctions in the last 220 years. This is due to human impacts of loss of habitats, introduced species, feral animals, roads and human population growth. The historical evidence shows that kangaroos and other once "common" animals were abundant! Many are now lost forever, or suffering from threats. "Increased" food today for kangaroos is not what is being reported in today's papers! If these perfectly adapted animals are suffering, then it is no wonder that Australia's livestock industries in western Queensland are suffering. Livestock have devastated native pastures, water sources and forests. How could there be more food and water for kangaroos today?

" Aerial surveys are conducted annually to determine the kangaroo population with the harvest quota typically being set at between 10 to 20 percent of the population depending on the population density". How could aerial surveys really estimate kangaroo populations in such a wide area? This would be unfeasible and impractical. Just how could numbers be determined from the air, in all the vast areas? They could see the same mob, the next day, in a different area and think they were in multitudes!

"The Code also provides for the humane euthanising of pouch young and young at foot".

Dependent joeys can legally be bashed to death or decapitated. This is "humane"? At foot joeys can just go and die slowly, not having commercial value. Up to 40% of shots are missed, and animals can escape to die slowly and painfully. There is nothing "humane" about these killings that must terrorize these stress-prone animals.

Outback poaching of kangaroos is no different to Canadian sealers clubbing seal pups east off Newfoundland, Labrador and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Much can be learned and applied from efforts in Canada to ban the slaughter of Harp Seals.

"Though sealers from the Magdalen Islands of Quebec killed over 19,000 seal pups in just 3 days, reaching their quota in the first phase of the seal 'hunt', the second phase of the seal hunt began more slowly in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence on April 10th. The sealers of Newfoundland and Labrador, who are fishermen most of the year, were hampered by some bad weather and discouraged by the low price offered for seal pelts - a direct result of the European Union's efforts at banning imports of all seal products. The passage of the EU ban resulted in the lowest number of seals killed since 1994.

Overall, the EU ban on seal imports will profoundly affect the seal hunt, causing financially-motivated sealers to find other ways to make a few extra dollars. We will continue to promote the boycott of Canadian seafood, to discourage even the 'die-hard' sealers from killing seals."

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Australians slaughtering kangaroos or koalas or flying-foxes is no different to:

* New Zealanders slaughtering kiwi birds
* Chinese slaughtering pandas
* Indonesians slaughtering orangutans
* Africans slaughtering gorillas in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo or Equatorial Guinea
* Namibians slaughtering cape fur seals
* Canadians slaughtering harp seals.

In Queensland, the Nature Conservation Act 1992 that suggests it is all about conserving nature "is based on principles to conserve biological diversity, ecologically sustainable use of wildlife..."
The political mindset over the Tweed is all about USING WILDLIFE, not protecting it. What's in a name... bit like North Korean calling itself the Democratic Republic of Korea.

Queenland Premier Anna Bligh is not long back from Russia trying to ramp up export sales of kangaroo meat to Russia.
[ABC Interview]

Bligh has become the number driver of Australia's wholesale immoral slaughter of kangaroos.
Time for another mutiny!

There is a difference between clubbing fur seals, killing pandas and shooting kangaroos. They are different species, they have different ecological roles and are under very different levels of threat.

The three main species of kangaroo that are hunted in mainland Australia for meat and pelts are not endangered and kangaroo meat is healthier and far more sustainable than any other red meat. Check the CSIRO article on kangaroo meat:

The harvesting of kangaroo meat is more sustainable than any other red meat in this country because kangaroos are not farmed, they live in the natural environment and do not require land clearing or feed lots. Kangaroos are also soft footed so they don't cause soil profile damage and they are drought tolerant being able to survive on far less food and water than cattle, sheep or pigs. They are the perfect Australian meat animal as they are adapted to this environment.

The ethics of "USING WILDLIFE" as you put it and the exploitation of natural resources is a big issue. However, of all the sources of red meat in this country, kangaroo meat is a strong contender for the healthiest and most sustainable.
I suppose a more appropriate comparison might be, Australians shooting kangaroos is similar to:

Americans shooting a very prolific ecologically secure species of deer.

And if you ask me as an Australian if I have a problem with shooting and eating the iconic Australian animal, the answer is NO! And I love kangaroos, I think they are beautiful animals!!!


Your arguments used to sway me and would still sway me IF

- We had reliable statistics on numbers and integrity of roo population structures, but we don't because no Aust gov collects valid, reliable, reproduceable statistics for accurately monitoring roo or other wildlife populations over useful state or national areas. See Damning Auditor General Report on Fauna protection for Victoria and Tasmania, West Australia, Victoria - our wildlife are ignored by government and two films on You-tube which I made from interviews: "3. Kangaroo Industry and Official Story"and
"4. Lay Reports on Kangaroo Numbers". Also see some reliable statistics of the situation on the Mornington Peninsula, for instance - and kangaroos are not even shot for meat here: Grave loss of native fauna on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

- We only had a population of around one million people and no export market and no high tech weapons and no industrial mass-production perspective driven by a growth economy philosophy that recognises no limits except complete collapse of ecosystems

- big business were not buying up agricultural land for more intensive farming and for creating more human settlements and therefore motivating local and state governments to neglect wildlife protection and find excuses to cull it (based on the unreliable statistics it keeps) - examples, pardon the cliche which may seem strident but no-one has yet countered a single argument here, Belconnen and Madura in Canberra - See my article here: ACT Roo killings: Who profits? Behind the Earless Dragon mask

What you may find is that we once shared a perpective in trusting basic government statistics and policy. We would diverge probably now on the trusting part, since every effort to obtain details from government has shown me the paucity of methodology, coordination, collection and recording and the shallow veneer of committment to wildlife welfare is most obvious in the absolute refusal to do anything useful to protect or create wildlife corridors of any significance countrywide. See another film: "4A Urgent need for Wildlife Corridors in Australia "

And, almost certainly we would diverge on the evaluation of statistics part. Being a sociologist makes one very aware of the need for valid, reliable and comparable statistics that are able to be reproduced. Most disciplines don't seem to be aware of the fact that if the measures you are using are invalid, then the data you are manipulating isn't really worth very much. There is another fault of the stats: they are often collected by vested interests: notably the kangaroo industry.

Please don't think that I personally bear the industry or farmers or any scientists who push the idea of eating roos any ill-will. I don't and I was once among them. (I personally learned a lot from Tim Flannery's Future Eaters and would continue to recommend the book as a magnificent way to get to know our country and how it works. What he says about eating our wildlife makes sense - but only if we have a much smaller population and a different economy and, from my own specialty, a different land-use planning system.) Why did I change my mind? It's just that, according to my investigation of the matter now, I had to admit that the whole scenario is shot-full with holes. I admit also that it was information put to me by wildlife activists whom I would formerly have considered hysterical, that convinced me.

So, if we both share the primary desire of having a flourishing biological ecology with a happy and stable population of roos, I say, look at the stats and look at our system and look at our population and then tell me how we do it?

So I invite you to look at the stats, first and foremost, and call for much better ones - indeed, just as the New Australia Party now has in its policy. I don't believe that any negotiating is possible until:

- We have superb statistical methods and collections about all our wildlife and notably the key species in ALL areas of Australia
- We have absolutely locked in major wildlife corridors linking EVERY region in the country including suburbs, parks and the green-belts of cities
- We have got control over our population growth
- We have exported the property development and growth lobbyists to the Simson Desert to eke out their living in selling real-estate there - sorry, just a joke
- We have got control over the property development and growth lobby so that it no longer controls us

Over to you!

Please keep writing to us or for us. I can see that you are sincere and probably able to revisit the matter carefully.

If Australians can make their governments honest then that is the first building brick to having them live up to the principles many still believe they endorse.

Re: Mike WG 'Kangaroos are an environmentally sustainable source of meat.'

In response:

Mike WG Dodgy Claim 1: "The difference between clubbing fur seals, killing pandas and shooting kangaroos is that kangaroos have different ecological roles"

What unsubstantiated crap. What is an 'ecological role'? What is the ecological role of each of these wildlife? Canadian indigenous Intuit insist on clubbing fur seals despite the availability of supermarkets. Nostalgic traditions that are unnecessary for survival and threaten a species are immoral and backward (like the Solomon Islands traditional cannibalism example).

Then apply this made up concept to koalas and justify the bizarre logic.
Poaching kangaroos same as poaching koalas.

Mike WG Dodgy Claim 2: "The difference between clubbing fur seals, killing pandas and shooting kangaroos is that kangaroos are under very different levels of threat."

So if a wildlife species is not threatened with extinction it is morally acceptable to poach it? This was the attitude of British colonists with the Tasmanian Tiger. So justify that logic. Justify the morality. There are no tests for roo poachers tio distinguish between sexes of kangaroos let alone the multiple species of mcropods across Australia. What is the difference between the Bridled Nail-Tailed Wallaby and the Swamp Wallaby and a juvenile Western Grey? Roos shooters are not trained ecologists/zoologists so cannot tell a threatened macropod species from a non-threatened species. After a few cans I am surprised they can tell the hot end of a rifle from its butt.

Mike WG Dodgy Claim 3: "The three main species of kangaroo that are hunted in mainland Australia for meat and pelts are not endangered and kangaroo meat is healthier and far more sustainable than any other red meat."

(see response to 4 above)

Mike WG Dodgy Claim 4: Dodgy appeal to the authority of the CSIRO to support claim that it is acceptable to kill kangaroos because the meat is healthier than other read meat.

Mike WG's reference is Kangaroo meat - health secret revealed

This reference is to a 'media release dated 23-Apr-04 and is of findings of a PhD student Clare Engelke who found Western Grey kangaroos had less fat content than dairy products, beef and lamb. No kidding! And she got a PhD for such common knowledge? She should try for a PhD in why flies swarm around a dead carcass too.

What this study also found, which Mike WG failed to reveal is that the research outcome was that "if successful, it may be possible to increase the CLA content of other meats and products to increase potential health benefits to consumers."

Mike WG Dodgy Claim 5: Poaching kangaroos is more sustainable than any other red meat in this country because kangaroos are not farmed, they live in the natural environment and do not require land clearing or feed lots and because kangaroos are soft-footed.

Poaching is cheap lazy farming. It is more "sustainable" for the poacher because there are less costs. Roo poaching exploits native wildlife in its natural habitat. No need for fences, feed, fertilizer, veterinary costs, inoculations, artificial insemination, etc. No farming costs once you have a rifle, scope and ammo from the nearest gun shop and refrigerated ute set up. You can kill as much wildlife as you want to rake in the cash!

Harvesting is a euphemism for State-sanctioned poaching of wildlife. It is a mugs game that even 12 year olds are legally allowed to participate in. Even rabbiting is more ethical - they are ferals, faster and harder to shoot.

The comparative ecologically sustainable argument tries to justify killing wildlife is acceptable because sheep and cattle destroy the environment. The two are unrelated. Where is there a farmer in Australia removing all sheep and cattle from his/her property, rehabilitating the existing degraded land, and grazing kangaroos on that land instead? The argument is make believe. Roo shooters head off to where kangaroos want to graze. They are not farmers transitioning their sheep and cattle land.

Lamas and alpacas are soft footed. What is wrong with this form of husbandry?

Mike WG Dodgy Claim 6: I have no problem shooting and eating kangaroos even though i love them as a native animal.

How hypocritical. It would be more sustainable to shoot and eat your dog.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

I think you'll find the PhD was awarded for other findings, not 'kangaroos had less fat content than dairy products, beef and lamb'.