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“Sustainable management” of Kangaroos?

In recent correspondence with Mr Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment, (27th Jan, 2015) he says that “The Australian government in involved in the management of kangaroos when kangaroo products are exported overseas under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act 1999)”.

The EPBC Act requires that the harvest of export kangaroos to be “ecologically sustainable”, based on the best available science and conducted in a manner that avoids detrimental impacts on the species and associated ecosystems.”

The concept of “ecologically sustainable” is fluid, UN-quantitative and largely speculative. Like the word “sustainable”, it’s come to have any meaning we like to give it, and almost an oxymoron!

A large proportion (70-80%) of stored carcasses have been found to be non-preferred female kangaroos, indicating a likely current population imbalance, and indicating that there are only low numbers of (the larger preferred) males available to shoot. This is of great concern as these strong adult males are needed to maintain an ongoing healthy gene pool.

kangaroos that have survived drought are the biggest and the best kangaroos of what is left from the shooters bullets. If they, the kangaroos, have survived the drought then they should be allowed to live so that their gene pool essential to retaining the inherited genetic strengths of the mob can be passed on. Instead the commercial kangaroo industry kills them and so defies once again the natural selection process. This is wrong and it is clearly unsustainable.

Population estimates from kangaroo harvesting commercial zones are used to set yearly harvesting quotas to ensure a sustainable kangaroo population and industry. However, there hasn’t been a national population estimate of kangaroo numbers in Australia since 1987 (Caughley et al 1987).

There has been a documented decline in at least some populations of Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) in coastal areas where urbanisation in South East Queensland is greatest; however there is currently no sound estimate of the extent of this decline across the region.

Industry figures and Queensland senator Barry O’Sullivan both claim kangaroo numbers are out of control, despite population estimates that may suggest otherwise.

While graziers and industry anecdotally report growing numbers of kangaroos, the most recent estimates from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, show roo populations have actually declined after a peak in 2013.

Any unbiased ecological research and will uncover undeniable proof of the severe decline in the populations of Australia’s national icon.

In a Senate speech on February 12, Senator Rhiannon said two popular myths – that there’s a “super abundance” of kangaroos and the iconic animals are pests. Senator Rhiannon said unquestioning acceptance of the “twin myths” had permitted nearly 90 million kangaroos and wallabies to be legally shot from 1975 to 2011 “for the commercial market alone”. The commercial kangaroo industry use their own work to produce industry-based materials and then present it as independent research to overseas governments and the public!

The four most common species of kangaroo, and two of the most common wallabies can be commercially harvested because they are not listed as “threatened” under the EPBC Act, or State or territory legislation. So, when species are listed as “threatened”, then there *may* be some efforts towards recovery, but there’s no guarantees! So, any effort of conservation of harvested species is in hindsight, not prevented!

Mr Hunt says that professional harvesters are licenced under the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes to ensure the animals are killed in a “humane manner”.

With no supervision, and “harvesting” in remote, hot, dark and dusty areas, just how “humane” it is to shoot at family mobs is highly questionable. The commercial kangaroo industry’s national code of practice states that when a female kangaroo is shot her joeys must be killed by a “blow to the head” with a “heavy blunt object”. In other words, the law prescribes that joeys be bludgeoned to death.

There are significant concerns that some aspects of kangaroo harvesting are not humane, particularly the killing of pouch young and young-at-foot. They have no commercial value, and must be caught and “euthanized” despite the mobility of young at-foot joeys.

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Our kangaroos are our nation’s most powerful symbol, and the icon of Australia recognized all over the world. The words “sustainable”, and “humane” with regards to the commercial kangaroo industry, mask the reality of brutality and the lack of respect for our own nation’s symbols – in the country of the highest mammal extinction rate of the modern world!

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Ministers request Review of Bushfire Fuel Management Approach

17 February 2015

As part of the Andrews Labor Government’s commitment to keeping the state safe, the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (Victoria) has been asked to conduct a review of performance targets for the future bushfire fuel management program on public land.

The review will examine a risk-based approach to bushfire fuel management against the existing hectare-based performance target program. The Inspector-General for Emergency Management has been asked to deliver his report by the end of March 2015.

The review meets the call for action from Neil Comrie, the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Dr Gillian Sparkes and others. It will consider the views of experts, current research and the work undertaken by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) since the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.

Under the existing policy of Prescribed burns, burning 5% of bushland near human activity is nothing less that catastrophic. A 5% of burning each year, and then burnt again in another 5 years is not enough time for wildlife to successfully recolonize, and for connective habitat to grow back!

Under the present policy of Prescribed Burning, bush far from human activity will be burned simply to tick off quotas of hectares, without any real solution to protecting property and human lives.

Decision-making must be done within an ethical framework. There is so much conflicting data about legally sanctioned “arson”, and “ignoring our ethical responsibilities to fauna in the prescribed burning debate compromises not only their lives, but the credibility of scientists, and the integrity of human kind”. (Peta Rakela, WA)

The Australian continent’s fauna and flora adapted to fire over the past 60 million years because the east coast was a vast volcanic belt that erupted continuously. Some plants evolved an ability to survive fire, but this does not necessarily mean that they thrive on fire! Aboriginal smoke signals may often have been mistaken for intentional bush fires, such as to scare of invaders, prevent them from landing, and prevent livestock from eating. (Naturalist, Bob McDonald)

“The primary goal of relevant recommendations of the Bushfires Royal commission in regard to increasing the level of prescribed burning in the State of Victoria was to reduce the risk to life and property from bushfires, while also monitoring the impacts upon biodiversity of those actions”.

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(image: Mallee fowl threatened by fires)

In the drive to meet the 5% target, government agencies are burning vast areas of remote parts of the State, like the Mallee, East Gippsland and the North-East. However, this is not meeting the primary goal of risk reduction to the most vulnerable human settlements and assets…where it is more difficult and expensive to carry out prescribed burning.

He recommends that  “policy makers move away from a broad state wide hectare target to a risk-based approach that determines where to burn on the basis of where the greatest reduction to risk to life and property can be achieved, while minimizing the degree to which ecological values are compromised.”

(Prof Michael Clarke, head of School of Life Sciences and Professor of Zoology, Latrobe University).

According to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville “The review will not affect the Department’s planned burning program for 2014-2015. It will begin a process to develop an evidence-based approach to reducing the risk of fire and protecting lives, communities and the environment.”

However, the Australian Wildlife Protection Council endorses the Labor government’s review, and we hope for a more ethical and optimized approach to protecting human lives and assets without the massive destruction of flora and fauna to merely meet numerical hectare targets!

(featured image: The blackened path of a bush fire. September 1983 Photo credit: Malcolm Paterson)

Put a stop to Australia pushing kangaroos into extinction for profit

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author: Graham Atherton-Ryan is one of our members in the UK.
target: Greg Hunt Australian Environment Minister

Greg Hunt has recently shown he is in full defence of a sick barbaric kangaroo killing industry that exists in Australia. Other members of parliament see them as an artificial plague on the landscape !!

2010 population estimates put the numbers of kangaroos in Australia at just over 25 million; down by over 32 million on the 2001 figure of 57.4 million. What is the benchmark for “plague” and normal kangaroo populations? Historic records report numerous macropods across Australia, as native animals. Six species of macropod are already EXTINCT and a number of species listed as ENDANGERED OR THREATENED They are not immune from droughts, disasters, loss of habitats, and human hunting! In Queensland alone kangaroo populations have crashed by 50% in the last year alone.

A former kangaroo shooter reveals the inherent cruelty of this industry. “The mouth of a kangaroo can be blown off and the kangaroo can escape to die of shock and starvation. Forearms can be blown off, as can ears, eyes and noses. Stomachs can be hit expelling the contents with the kangaroo still alive. Backbones can be pulverized to an unrecognisable state etc. Hind legs can be shattered with the kangaroo desperately trying to get away on the other or without the use of either….”

Kangaroos are wildlife, and they can’t be farmed or handled like livestock! It means the horrendous disposal of in-pouch and at-foot joeys. Official numbers for the kill do not include the baby kangaroos that also die as a result, the worthless ‘waste’ of the industry.

Unlike livestock, kangaroos grow and mature slowly, produce only a few kilograms of human edible meat, and take up to 12 years to grow to maximum size.

The Australian Government have high hopes the free trade agreement with China could open up a lucrative market for “roo and kanga bangers”. They obviously think that there is an unlimited and inexhaustible supply of kangaroo meat, and that these animals can breed endlessly to meet the demands of the world, once they acquire a taste for their meat!

To help stop this barbaric and cruel industry please sign this petition so that the Australian Wildlife Protection Council can pressure people like environment minister Greg Hunt into ending this senseless slaughter. Australia is the only country in the world to slaughter wildlife on a commercial basis , it has been going on for many years and now it is time it STOPPED . Help us help the kangaroo today !!!!!!! less

Sign the petition:

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Media Release – Possums tortured and baited by the greyhound racing industry

Media Release

To Whom it May concern:

We, members and committee of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, and Animals Active,  are shocked and appalled at the revelations that live animals, including protected native possums, have been used as lure to bloodlet greyhounds in the racing industry.
Possums, and all native animals, are protected by law, and this gives another layer of illegality, and disregard for the sentience and status of animals in our community.
This greyhound industry clearly has animal cruelty deeply entrenched, and embedded, into its history and practices.  It’s all based on gambling profits without productivity or integrity.
The use of wildlife for any industry or entertainment inherently exposes animals to abuse, exploitation and depraved cruelty.
The capture and killing of protected native animals in such as way is a flagrant violation of the Victorian Wildlife Act, 1975.
We demand that the greyhound industry be investigated, prosecuted, and shut-down.

Thank you

Australian Wildlife Protection Council, Ross House, level 3
247 Flinders Lane,
Melbourne 3000

While investigation footage captured only piglets, rabbits and possums — kittens have long been reported to be among the victims of live baiting, too.

Native possums — a protected species — were also tied to lures and flung violently around training tracks. Before being used as live bait, one mother possum watched on helplessly as her baby was killed in front of her.

Animals Australia: Take Action

(image: “Orphaned Possum (8025629759)” by Brisbane City Council – Orphaned PossumUploaded by russavia. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Response to Senator Barry O’Sullivan

Response to Senator Barry O’Sullivan keen to hop into roo meat exports!
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SENATOR Barry O’Sullivan
PO Box 6100
Senate
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Senator O’Sullivan,

We read with dismay that you believe that herding “Skippy” into paddocks is the answer to the “artificial plague” of the marsupials across eastern Australia.

You said that “They’re artificial plagues in the sense we’ve improved pastures … water reticulations, meaning these things present as a bounty for kangaroos…”. You appear to realize and appreciate that kangaroos are native animals, endemic to Australia. Their presence on our landscape is NOT “artificial”, and there’s no evidence of them being in “plague” across eastern Australia!

2010 population estimates put the numbers of kangaroos in Australia at just over 25 million; down by over 32 million on the 2001 figure of 57.4 million. What’s the benchmark for “plague” and normal kangaroo populations”? Historic records report numerous macropods across Australia, as native animals.

Six species of macropod are already extinct and a number of species listed as endangered or threatened. They are not immune from droughts, disasters, loss of habitats, and human hunting!

Ray Mjadwesch is a consultant ecologist and a research associate at THINKK, a kangaroo research group at the University of Technology, Sydney, says kangaroo numbers are already dangerously low …and no amount of culling can be justified.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon says that “In Senator Sullivan’s own state of Queensland this year’s Quota report shows an up to 50% decline in most areas from the previous year…it is biologically impossible for kangaroo populations to ‘explode’. They are slow-breeding, slow-growing marsupials with 73% juvenile mortality. Kangaroo population growth sits at 3-10% in good years, with up to 60% crashes during drought..”

An independent peer-reviewed research about to be published in the Journal of Ecological Economics shows the value of the kangaroo industry is $88 million per annum maximum!

“Culling” is not effective as a population control because it just removes the large males, that master the mob size. So, you actually are lobbying for Senate recognition of the potential for an expanded kangaroo meat and hide industry! Current research indicates that kangaroos do not exist in abundance or pest proportions and that the cost to farmers should be revised down from $200 million to $44 million, or $1.67 per kangaroo per year.

A former kangaroo shooter reveals the inherent cruelty of this industry. “The mouth of a kangaroo can be blown off and the kangaroo can escape to die of shock and starvation. Forearms can be blown off, as can ears, eyes and noses. Stomachs can be hit expelling the contents with the kangaroo still alive. Backbones can be pulverized to an unrecognisable state etc. Hind legs can be shattered with the kangaroo desperately trying to get away on the other or without the use of either….”

Kangaroos are wildlife, and they can’t be farmed – or handled like livestock! It means the horrendous disposal of in-pouch and at-foot joeys. Official numbers for the kill do not include the baby kangaroos who also die as a result, the worthless ‘waste’ of the industry.

Unlike livestock, kangaroos grow and mature slowly, and only produce a few kilograms of human edible meat, and take up to 12 years to grow to maximum size.

You seem to have high hopes the free trade agreement with China could open up a lucrative market for “roo and kanga bangers”. You obviously think that there is an unlimited and inexhaustible supply of kangaroo meat, and that these animals can breed endlessly to meet the demands of the world, once they acquire a taste for burgers and kangaroo meat!

Sincerely

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We are moving!

AWPC is moving! Our office is no longer at Kindness House, and will be at Ross House, level 3, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000

The Brunswick Street building called Kindness House in Fitzroy owned by former Citibank vice president and philanthropist Phil Wollen has changed hands for $15 million.

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AWPC, along with many other tenants with concerns for justice, the environment and animal rights, had the privilege of rent free accommodation, thanks to the generosity of Trix and Phil. We appreciate their support and great generosity. It was the only place in Melbourne with free rent for not for profit organisations!

Mr Wollen owned the dilapidated three-storey structure on the corner of Victoria Street for 25 years and hosted a range of activist groups including Save the Whales, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd and the Wilderness Society. It was the home of “kindness” and compassion, reflecting the name “Kindness” House, far from the mega dollars of the corporate consumerism and the commercial real estate industry.

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Phil’s Winsome Constance Kindness Trust supports more than 400 projects in 40 countries. Wollen says his aim is to die broke, to give away all he owns with “warm hands”, and that he is on track to do so.

Many of the groups focus on wildlife and animal rights and if you’re a tenant, meat is not allowed to be eaten in the building (its written in the lease). The words “GO VEGAN” were written boldly on the building’s side! There were regular meetings and film screenings in the upstairs space.

The sale achieved a rate of $14,354 per square metres, a new land record for Fitzroy spurred by competition in Melbourne’s heated property market, said CBRE’s Jamus Campbell, the selling agent with colleagues Josh Rutman and Mark Wizel. The three under bidders at the Smith Family building were Asian investors,” Mr Campbell said.
According to Phil Wollen, the funds from the building would be used for schools, medical clinics, anti-rabies clinics for dogs and kindness farms for animals.

The new landlord/Purchaser is Samos City Pty Ltd, with Director Peter Arvanitis. The settlement took place on 2nd February, 2015.

The new property manager is Steve Bloumis, level 29, 367 Collins Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000 – for any enquiries.