On 14 April 2015, the Government of the Australian Capital Territory announced its plan to proceed with the killing of up to 2,466 eastern grey kangaroos in the Canberra Nature Park between 30 April and 1 August 2015.
Shane Rattenbury Greens MLA, ACT Minister for Territory and Municipal Services; Corrections; Housing claims that “while kangaroos are native animals they are still able to damage the environment. When in large numbers they can have a negative impact on biodiversity by overgrazing sensitive grassland ecosystems.
“Unfortunately 99.5% of Australia’s temperate grassland communities have been damaged or destroyed since European settlement. In the ACT we are lucky to have retained 5% of original grassland habitat in moderate to good condition. Nevertheless many of the animals that depend on the health of the grassland are themselves at risk of extinction including the Grassland Earless Dragon, the Striped Legless Lizard, the Perunga Grasshopper and the Coorooboorama Raspy Cricket”.
He’s clearly blame-shifting and diverting from the real cause of grassland destruction in Australia, and scapegoating a native species that’s been here, and evolved, for millions of years.
That 95.5% of temperate grasslands have been destroyed or damaged SINCE European settlement is due to human population impacts and economic activities, and NOT kangaroos! Suddenly there are some very selective, myopic scientists and politicians who are extremist conservationists, but they aren’t being vocal enough on the real perpetrators of grassland destruction – land clearing for urbanisation, mining and agriculture.
Prominent writers, scientists, educators call for end to kangaroo killing by the ACT Government. A group of 50 prominent writers, scientists, educators, lawyers, including Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee and the novelist David Malouf, have signed an Open Letter to the People of Canberra calling for an ‘immediate cessation’ to the annual kangaroo killings – which they describe as ‘ill-thought-out’ and which they say ‘cannot be substantiated’ – and calling for a ‘full and truly independent examination’ of the numerous matters of concern ‘by respected professionals’.
The letter, a private initiative by concerned individuals, was published in the Canberra Times on Thursday, 21 May 2015.
The letter, full list of signatories and a Fact Sheet is available online.
A. R. C. H.
The Alliance for
An open letter to the Canberra Community concerning the killing of kangaroos (emphasis: AWPC editor)
We the undersigned believe the need for a mass killing of kangaroos by the ACT Government is ill-thought-out and cannot be substantiated. The analysis in support of such a program fails the tests of good science, conservation, animal welfare, economy and humanity.
We understand that: No causal evidence of any rigorous kind has been provided that directly links kangaroo grazing on Canberra nature reserves with the demise of other small threatened species; No assessment of the subjective lives of native animals in Canberra’s nature reserves is provided as a clue to their survival; No commonly used non-lethal management tools have been advocated by those who believe in the negative impact of the current kangaroo population on the rest of the environment, despite considerable evidence over many years and in many places that they are effective.
The decision to proceed with the killing disregards the extreme brutality of the killing process. There has been no assessment of the impact of mass native animal killings on the local economy and society and our view is that these costs are substantial.
The scientifically substantiated appreciation of other animals’ cognitive, emotional and psychological capacities requires that we break the cycle of violence of conventional management methods. Abandoning such measures offers a unique opportunity to find innovative solutions which promote sustainability and reflect the desire of communities for peaceful coexistence with other creatures on the planet.
We therefore call for an immediate cessation of the mass killing of these native animals, and for a full and truly independent examination of the above-listed and other relevant matters by respected professionals.
Pam Ahern, Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary, Victoria
Dr Rosemary Austen, kangaroo rehabilitation and translocation expert, medical practitioner, ACT
Dr Jonathan Balcombe, biologist, author, Animal Studies Dept (Chair), Humane Society University, Washington D.C. (USA)
Marc Bekoff, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder (USA)
Carolyn Drew, MA, regional director, Institute for Critical Animal Studies, ACT
Lara Drew, PhD Candidate, University of Canberra
Ray Drew, MA, wildlife photographer
Dr Dror Ben-Ami, co-founder and lead researcher, Centre of Compassionate Conservation, University of Technology, Sydney,
Jeffrey G Borchers, PhD, LPC, ecologist, The Kerulos Center (USA)
Dr Melissa Boyde, Australasian Animal Studies Association; Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Law Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong
Gay Bradshaw, PhD (ecology), PhD (psychology), CEO, The Kerulos Center (USA)
David Brooks, author, editor, Hon. A/Prof, University of Sydney
JM Coetzee, writer
Claire Colebrook, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature, Pennsylvania State University (USA)
Dr Margo DeMello, Animals & Society Institute (USA)
Katrina Fox, journalist and author
Professor Steve Garlick, PhD, University of Technology, Sydney
Stephen Graham, LLB, Virtual Lawyers and Mediators Pty Ltd
Dr Jason Grossman, philosopher of science
Naomi Henry, Voiceless Council
Melanie Joy, PhD, Professor, University of Massachusetts, Boston; President, Beyond Carnism; Author
Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Modern Greek Studies, University of Sydney
John Kinsella, author, Professorial Research Fellow, UWA; Professor of Sustainability and Literature, Curtin University
Lawyers for Animals
David Malouf, writer
Clare Mann, psychologist, author, Managing Director of Communicate31
Jeffrey Masson, Ph.D., author
Alex Miller, writer
Raymond Mjadwesch, ecologist
Alison Moore, Ph.D., Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong
Nic Nassuet, singer/songwriter (USA)
Mark Pearson, member, NSW Legislative Council
Teja Brooks Pribac, The Kerulos Center; PhD Candidate, University of Sydney
Daniel Ramp, Ph.D., Director, Centre for Compassionate Conservation, University of Technology, Sydney
Tracy Ryan, author
Stephen Sewell, playwright
Lynda Stoner, Animal Liberation NSW
Bill Taylor, Ph.D., retired CSIRO plant scientist
Maria Taylor, Ph.D. science communication, author, newspaper publisher
Associate Professor Nik Taylor, School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University, South Australia
Marianne Thieme, Leader & Chair, Party for the Animals, The Netherlands
Dr Christine Townend, author, founder Animal Liberation NSW, co-founder Animals Australia
Dr Richard Twine, Co-Director, Centre for Human-Animal Studies, Edge Hill University (UK)
Dinesh Joseph Wadiwel, Ph.D., Socio-Legal Studies and Human Rights, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney
Brenda Walker, writer, Winthrop Professor of English and Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia
Bren Weatherstone, M.Env Sci., teacher (ACT)
Elizabeth Webby, Professor Emerita, Australian Literature, University of Sydney
Dr Richard J. White, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Sheffield Hallam University (UK)
Professor Stuart White, Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney
Phil Wollen, OAM, Founder of Winsome Constance Kindness Trust
Gypsy Wulff, Teacher, Author, Publisher, Founder of Spirit Wings Humane Education Inc.
A. R. C. H. The Alliance for Respectful Co-Habitation
(featured image: Kangaroo at Canberra nature park, between mount ainslie and Mount Majura, 25 Jan 2005)