On 22 February 2012 former Premier Ted Baillieu issued a change in the Administration of Acts under a General Order. He allocated sections of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and sections of the Wildlife Act 1975 to Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh. These sections ‘legally’ paved the way for a commercial kangaroo killing industry to be re-introduced into Victoria, after having been banned for many good reasons in 1982.
(Pictures adapted from Brett Clifton collection.)
More signs that agriculture is swamping legislation to protect native animals
Minister Walsh has close connections with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), (President from 1998 – 2000), Parliamentary Coalition positions including Agriculture, Water, Environment and Climate Change, Country Water Resources and is on Parliament’s Environment, Natural Resources Committee. Prior to Parliament, he ran an irrigated horticulture, grain growing business at Boort. This makes negotiations with farmers easy, when allowing kangaroo shooters to enter rural properties etc.
Peter Walsh is also Minister responsible for the Meat Industry Act 1993, which covers the standards for meat production for human consumption and pet food. It sets up a licensing & inspection system and a mechanism for adopting and implementing quality assurance programs to ensure that those standards are maintained. This includes the regulation of meat transport vehicles and Victorian Meat Authority.
Incredibly Walsh is also Minister for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
Why Victoria has continuously banned commercial slaughter of roos to date
Commercial slaughter of Kangaroos was banned in 1982 by the Cain Government.
Its' reintroduction was raised in 2002 by Premier Steve Bracks and was fully investigated by the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament (ENRC). ENRC recommended that the development of an industry based on the harvest of wild Kangaroos should not be supported in Victoria. The Victorian Government declared no further assessment be made as the matter was previously the subject of a detailed study that had concluded the industry was economically unviable.
Government-push to overpopulate has dire consequences for wildlife
Since this Ban was introduced, there has been an unprecedented rate of unsustainable, exponential human population growth necessitating greater and greater urban and peri-urban development. It has been Victorian Government policy not to support a commercial harvest of Kangaroos based on:
* Low densities of Kangaroos in Victoria.
* The high cost of administrative checks and balances.
* Strong opposition from sectors of the community.
*Victoria's terrain and vegetation cover makes accurate counting of Kangaroos very difficult and consequently nobody knows how many Kangaroos there are in Victoria.
*Since this Ban was introduced, there has been an unprecedented rate of unsustainable population growth necessitating greater and greater urban and peri-urban development.
*All native wildlife which inhabited the claimed areas have been displaced, especially Kangaroos. This has lead to Kangaroo numbers being fragmented and trapped in concentrated areas of suburban sprawl.
* Landholders perceive this to be an increase to Kangaroo numbers, so they issue Authority To Control Wildlife (ATCW) kill permits which have increased exponentially and dramatically.
* Victoria has NO Fauna Management Framework
Victorian DSE an open sore that will not heal
DSE is now under considerable fire for failing to implement the Wildlife Act 1975 and the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 under which they have mandatory obligations to protect native animals.
If the Victorian Government re-introduces a commercial industry to placate the wishes of landholders, kangaroos would be decimated; there simply are not enough kangaroos to sustain an industry.
There is no justification for a commercial Kangaroo industry in Victoria. NSW, Qld, WA and SA have commercial Kangaroo industries and are experiencing closure of processing plants and shooters leaving the industry in droves because the market for Kangaroo meat has fallen dramatically. The only money to be made is in the sale of skins which is a totally unacceptable base, to provide profits for a greedy few.
Inhumane policies to wildlife, especially kangaroos
The Victorian Government has a mandate to manage the affairs of this state on behalf of the residents and Victorian families and individuals. The Australian Wildlife Protection Council strenuously objects to the Napthine Government re-introducing a commercial Kangaroo industry into Victoria.
The fact that this is being undertaken by stealth compels the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) to advise the Victorian Premier of its intense disapproval:
* The inhumane treatment to kangaroos from misfired shots, orphaned young, stress on family mobs, cruel disposal of Joeys and loss of genetic integrity, variability of the gene pool are well known ..
* Not only is this industry unsustainable and un-Australian but it would bring danger into our bush land where international visitors should be safe.
* That costs of researching & feasibility of this industry is paid for by Victorian tax payers is shameful.
* The only people to gain will be landholders, kangaroo processors, shooters and chiller operators.
* Since Russia banned import of Kangaroo product in 2009, the industry in Australia has plummeted.
* Markets for Kangaroo meat are limited as 75% of the meat from a Kangaroo is used for pet food; a deplorable waste of a misunderstood, beloved, unique, iconic native animal, and tax payer’s money.
Wildlife corridors, not tollways!
Victorian government should establish interconnecting wildlife corridors to provide Bio-Links to save species . It should protect the gene pool, educate children to respect native animals, and (rather than destroy them) trans-locate kangaroos as Professor Steve Garlick and his wife Dr Rosemary Austen have successfully accomplished many times.
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council strongly urges Victoria's current Premier, Denis Napthine, not to reintroduce a commercial Kangaroo industry into Victoria.
The author of this article, Maryland Wilson, is the President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.