Author Archives: Maria Taylor

Feeding kangaroo to your pets? Here are some thoughts.

feeding-pets-kangaroo

Why do people expect to feed their dogs or cats on Australian wildlife, specifically kangaroo? Are they informed consumers? … aware of the unavoidable cruelty that goes with this trade and of the possible health risks to humans or pets that comes with eating bushmeat? Here are some realities that consumers might want to weigh up.

KANGAROO, IS THE only Australian native animal hunted specifically for the petfood trade. Most meat in petfood comes from offcuts of domesticated animals bred and killed for human consumption. (Remember the shock and revulsion on hearing of racehorses taken to the knackery.)

Australia’s national icon is hunted down in most cases by poorly-paid shooters with few employment choices, who slaughter dozens or hundreds a night at pennies-a-carcass on country properties and increasingly in the wildlife’s last refuges, national parks and reserves. To call this trade or it’s non-commercial version “humane” — as those who enable it like to tell the city folk — is just a self-serving fraud. No independent observers monitor the hunt, the motorised pursuit of terrified kangaroo families, the mis-shots and injuries, with animals at times lingering injured for days; no one helps the totally lost mother-dependent joeys.

No one watches what happens next either. Partly butchered carcasses are hung in the trays of utes in all temperatures for a short or long trip to a chiller in a paddock, where basic sanitation has been questioned in some instances. Eventually the bodies are processed in a town — minced and stuffed into petfood cans, or sometimes butchered for overseas human consumption while the skins are exported as shoe leather.

Victoria and South Australia returning to petfood trade

Victoria, where kangaroo species were recovering after a moratorium on the commercial hunt starting in the 1980s, is now back in business with the kangaroo petfood trade enjoying the state government’s blessing along with applause from some farmers. The advantage of petfood is that any species, size, age or condition animal may do.

RELATED ARTICLE: Victoria’s petfood plans grow and draw more protest, AWPC.

The kangaroo ‘industry’ has switched focus to southern Australia from Queensland and NSW whose killing fields — after decades of commercial slaughter, drought, fire, flood, disease and landholder killing — have population counts flashing red warning signs underscored by poor “harvests” for years now.

The South Australian government, where the iconic Red kangaroo has recovered to an extent, is working on a new removal/ ‘management’ plan. Reports are coming through of wallabies going into the mix too. Half-burned Kangaroo Island is not exempt from these plans we hear.

Quite apart from the field hygiene conditions, kangaroos, being wild animals, harbour pathogens. Country people don’t often eat kangaroo, citing ‘worms’.

RELATED ARTICLE:

The question of what consumers know arose with a recent ABC Rural story reporting on Victorian pet-owners, grief-stricken at the death of their dogs who were fed contaminated petfood linked to a Gippsland knackery.  A quoted pet-owner thought they were feeding ‘pure kangaroo.’

These are not the first dogs to die in a widening petfood scandal. The trail has led to outback supplies. Reportedly the toxic content came via cattle and horse carcasses allegedly mixed with kangaroo.

Regulate the petfood industry

Pet owners are calling for any kind of regulation of the petfood industry. That is long overdue on health and welfare grounds. At the Bulletin we are animal lovers and dog companions and our hearts go out to the bereaved dog owners caught up in this disaster.

Nevertheless, the question remains: how did we and our governments come to consider as ‘normal’ slaughtering our national emblem for petfood, and export sausages and leather?

How is this different from the extensive slaughter of koalas (and other marsupials) for skins to export up until the early 20th century? The fate of the koala is now plain to see.

The disrespect shown to Australia’s national symbol and some other wildlife confuses overseas visitors. Their tourist list is often topped by a wish to see ‘Skippy’ in the flesh. What they don’t know is that all species of kangaroo, that includes wallabies, have (since colonial settlement) been removed from their habitat, killed on behalf of a European model of stock grazing that was to be grafted onto a misunderstood land.

A bounty era of removal was followed by the commercial trade in body parts, starting with skins for export. It grew profitable and developed its own momentum. As readers of the Bulletin know the same attitude of disrespect and killing is a baffling annual event on the nature reserves of Canberra the national capital. City politicians and bureaucrats cite ‘scientific research’. This version of science now gives cover to national park killings elsewhere.

Politician and media narratives describe the carnage as an essential Australian on- farm and export business. Australian pet owners and meat eaters therefore have had little encouragement to become informed consumers of their national icon.

Time indeed for review of bushmeat sold for human and pet consumption, for regulation as needed, and, most important, a call for renewed respect and co-existence extended to our natural world and to our unique wildlife.

More of the factual background to this editorial can be found and fully explored in Maria Taylor’s new documentary book Injustice, hidden in plain sight the war on Australian nature… 
> More at www.mariataylor.com.au

TWO DOG FOODS GUARANTEED NOT TO CONTAIN KANGAROO

While preparing this September issue of The District Bulletin, two dog food sources crossed our horizon guaranteed not to contain kangaroo and promising good nutrition too. We have made no independent examination of these food products and are not therefore directly recommending them. But they sound very promising as alternatives or additions in the marketplace so we leave it to you to check out if you want to. And the doggie yogurt press release came with not one but two cute photos that we couldn’t resist sharing below.


Gully Road Australian-grown products for dogs. Small business mail order dog-food purveyor based in Victoria with an ethical value frame. See it here.


Chobani Daily Dollop lactose-free and digestion boosting yogurt for dogs.

Available early September and exclusively sold in the chilled pet food section at Woolworths supermarkets, Daily Dollop yogurt is a healthy option to introduce into dogs’ diets and can serve as an addition to daily meals, an easy snack or as a mix-in to spice up dry food.

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Eating kangaroo or feeding it to pets — comments from shooters on a chat site in 2021 about their catch and ‘worms’

“Throw it in a slow cooker with a rock and when the rock is tender, throw it away and eat yr boot…”

“Only eat the young doe with a hairy joey and only eat the meat just above the tail…”

“I wouldn’t eat that. Eastern maybe, blue flyers yes, but not western greys.”

“Y’all have to lick your own ass to get the taste out of your mouth after you eat it…”

“Be scratching them worms outa yr ass for days.”

“Don’t the worms die as soon as they hit the cold air?”

“How do you deal with the worms when you feed ur dogs … Boil it first?”

“I only take the younger females to eat. The males go to the dogs.”

“I don’t know anyone who shoots them that eats them.”

“In the bin.”

“The old worms aren’t dead in the middle there.”

‘If you seen what they like, you wouldn’t eat either.”

dog-cat-food-with-roo-meat-supplied
“Roo is for the dogs and cats.”

“I’ll never eat it again, between the worms and the abcesses, only because I was a roo skinner … that was it for me.”

“Only way to have roo is … dead and hung on the back of a ute.”

“Well-cooked grey gives you worms.”

“I have been around roos my whole life and shot them for years. No way will I eat it.”

IMAGERY: Supplied

 

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How Canberra tells you what to think

canberra-kangaroo-cull-2021-crBrettClifton

EVERY MAY MOTHER’S DAY or thereabouts, Canberra politicians, Labor, Green and Liberal, spoil the season by giving thumbs up to what they like to portray as an unremarkable slaughter of our national emblem in the nation’s capital.

On public nature reserves, this involves shooting kangaroo families — mums and males — bashing pouch joeys to death, and bulldozing all their bodies into pits. Lost and bewildered older joeys flee, jump in front of cars or end at the mercy of dogs. Neighbouring residents can be traumatised by the carnage that continues every night for months.

MAIN IMAGE: © Brett Clifton.

Already signed is a deal to continue the killing for another five years, with militarised contractors hunting in the suburbs for surviving animals. Unless it’s stopped by voters. It costs the public purse close to a million dollars annually. The real reason why this is happening? That’s still anyone’s guess.

But Canberra nature park managers or politicians offer residents a revolving list of ‘facts’ on why the killing must happen. Their assertions are amplified by the local media. No questions asked. Few dissenting voices get a platform and if they are mentioned they are labelled ‘protesters’, ‘activists’, ‘animal rights advocates’ (heaven forbid) — anything other than just plain concerned citizens of Australia.

I have watched this annual ritual for the past decade and sadly reported on it, and recently researched and wrote a book on the history, culture and legacy of Australia’s wildlife killing habits www.mariataylor.com.au. Canberrans are subject to the same narrative about kangaroos as the rest of the country. We’re all encouraged to agree and shrug. Elsewhere when a group is demonised prior to killing, it’s called propaganda.

We must all think alike

What we have is a dominant narrative on how to think about kangaroos. How to think is sold to the public in lockstep by economic interests (commercial kangaroo processors, grazier and farming lobbies) working with politicians and government power. Their perspective is supported or supplied by some applied ecologists and ‘pest’ management specialists, mostly taxpayer funded. What they all say is uncritically reported in most Australian media.

You can hear this narrative any day of the week and it is on the upswing at the moment with a move in the United States Congress to ban the import of Australian kangaroo skin and meat. The EU is also being asked to consider bans. This pushback is portrayed by Australian officials and mainstream media outlets as an assault on a must-have export industry. The word ‘treasonous’ has been used.

The remaining large kangaroos are now Australia’s most persecuted indigenous animal with an unchanging storyline to justify the extensive bloodshed.

The world loves Skippy the bush kangaroo and he or she draws tourists by the planeload. This unique marsupial holds up one half of our national coat of arms —along with the equally unique emu — also a victim of mass persecution since settlement.

Yet at home, we became a culture of silence and conformity that treats the kangaroo as either a pest or a product.

We lead the world

The treatment of native wildlife since colonial times has morphed in the past 70 years into the world’s biggest on-land wildlife slaughter of kangaroos, for their skins and meat and just for removal. Almost no Australians appear to know this. The much beloved koala — now on the brink of regional extinctions — suffered a similar savage slaughter for its fur coat up until the mid-1920s and has never recovered.

The ACT may claim that its killing is somehow better because it is non-commercial, but the cull is very much part of that post-colonial value tradition.

big-fella-ACT-cull-supplied
IMAGE: Supplied.

What are those values? Disrespect and disinterest in understanding the contributions of native grazers in balanced ecosystems. And flat-out demonisation of any native animal that bothers agricultural businesses or sometimes other commercial interests, or ACT motorists. That starts with grazing kangaroos and wallabies, but also targets emus, wombats, dingos, eagles, other birds. Culturally, there is a direct line of thinking from colonial times.

This thinking has become so embedded in the narrative that any claims about ‘too many’, and that our export nation and graziers need kangaroos to be killed, just gets an automatic nod from media organisations starting with the national broadcaster and seen throughout Australia’s highly-concentrated private press. Overseas visitors are amazed at the disrespect, while most Australians stay silent.

The Canberra cull is related in cultural understanding and dog whistling ‘pest’ and ‘too many’.

Now Canberra’s advising ecologists have pivoted to another compelling narrative that deflects enquiries: the story now is that all of ‘biodiversity’, which suddenly does not include kangaroos, benefits from the annual slaughter. Females with pouch-joeys and dependent young can be killed more freely under this framework in the ACT’s code of practice.

PR relies on scientists

This culture is across Australia — the commercial kangaroo industry has a very active PR operation and often relies on supporting voices that say ‘trust us, we’re scientists”.  ACT narratives have relied on similar claims of scientific insight.

Missing: reports about the role of all
kangaroo species in their ecosystems

What’s missing? Any reporting about the benefits of coexistence and what that might look like.

Missing is any reporting on research about the role of all kangaroo species in their ecosystems — what do they contribute to healthy grassy woodlands? They co-evolved with those habitats. Equally missing are voices that tell us what kangaroos and other wildlife could contribute to Australia, to Canberra and to farm economies through tourism and related spending.

© Maria Taylor.

Our native wildlife is much more valuable alive than dead. A new win-win narrative must highlight respect, ecological understanding and a decision to share our land.

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World Kangaroo Day — Live and let live

world-kangaroo-day

with kangaroos, wildlife

AWPC member Maria Taylor shares her block with some kangaroos. Why it’s great.
Everyone can share with their local wildlife.
This clip “The Joy of Living with Kangaroos” was filmed during the recent drought in eastern Australia.

 

Filmed by Creative Cowboy.

 

 

 

 

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HERE’S WHAT WE HAVE BEEN UP TO SINCE FEBRUARY

meme-progress-update-aug2020

WITH THE WORLD now topsy-turvey and distressed in the grip of COVID-19 (not unrelated to human abuse of wildlife), we firstly wish all AWPC members to stay safe and hold our governments responsible for support through this pandemic. And here is a summary report on activities this quarter.

We’ve sent out the annual membership renewal notice (this section). We need your help, and commitment to rebuild the AWPC and conduct positive national campaigns in the next year. Post fire and with the ongoing government destruction policies (some of which cited on this website, sadly), the surviving wildlife needs us more than ever.

In the next year a goal is to build on this year’s awareness raising and lobbying against wildlife destruction with some positive campaigns. Some ideas include: a model for ecotourism with Indigenous communities; liaising with regenerative agriculture to show how respecting native biodiversity is a winning formula; reviving our education and publishing arm. We continue to campaign and also support international campaigns for Australia’s most persecuted native animal — Skippy the bush kangaroo and international tourist icon.

AWPC can take a strong part in rebuilding to a smarter, less colonial, more life-affirming political economy as we continue to face the twin existential threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. Let’s aim for that.

awpc-duck-SEASON-feature-may2020Since the beginning of the year, the AWPC committee (Peter Hylands, Chris Lehmann, Carmen Ryan, Maria Taylor), has been re-establishing an operating base, including the website here and a social media presence. As well, committee members have:

•  Lobbied governments in Victoria, ACT and South Australia, particularly on the disgraceful government continuance post bushfires of commercial and non-commercial kangaroo killing that continues unabated. Persecution of other common species including wombats, dingos, flying foxes, and native bird hunting has also been a focus of AWPC lobbying, letters and awareness raising.

AWPC works in tandem with progressive politicians particularly AJP and some Greens for greater impact. AWPC also prioritises working with other wildlife groups on any localised or national issue. There is strength in unity.

•  Supported — ie with listening and resources, contacts, media — people who have contacted us usually from rural communities. Often it has been distress at government programs including aerial baiting with 1080 poison throughout NSW public lands, and localised kangaroo killing in Victoria or concerns this is planned.

•  Made AWPC submissions to reviews of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act; to the Parliament Enquiry into the Extinction Crisis in Victoria; to the National Code of Practice for the Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for commercial purposes. Submission are available at the submission archive on the website top bar.

•  Developed a pilot social media campaign on AWPC facebook and Instagram aimed at speaking directly to the public. The campaign trialed the use of memes (main imagery above). The targets were the Canberra ACT kangaroo killing campaign in late June and July.

A short trial also focused on discouraging consumption for people or pets of Australia’s own variety of bushmeat, kangaroo meat — brought to us by a commercial industry. The memes received a lot of public take-up and are proving their use for awareness-raising and political pushback.

•  Worked with the US Centre for a Humane Economy to publicise their campaign exposing how the California ban on the import and sale of kangaroo body parts is being flouted. In this case the law has been broken by international sports shoe brands’ use of kangaroo leather for athletic shoes. Story is/will be appearing on this website for your information.

•  Travelled through and filed the AWPC archives. This has underscored 50 years of dedicated wildlife work by previous AWPC committees, campaigners and supportive Australians. The archive has yielded documentary evidence for my (Maria Taylor) soon-to-be published book on Australia’s colonial and embedded culture towards the country’s wildlife, and its deadly legacy — told through words and stories of heroes for the voiceless.

— AWPC CONTACT DETAILS —

— AWPC EDITOR, Maria Taylor —

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Goodbye Big Fella

Joey-at-foot-Maria-Taylor_awpc-feature

Yes, I’m angry. And sad. Sad and disgusted that the politicians and bureaucrats of our national capital Canberra, treat our national emblem, the Kangaroo, (Skippy to fans around the world), like rubbish — to be killed and buried.

big-fella-burial-june2020

Goodbye big fella. (Supplied)

THE LACK of respect in Australia for our unique wildlife, shown by official ‘management’ and too many citizens can only be called dishonourable.

And stupid, because a change of frame would show that sharing the land with the full range of native animals instead of trying to remove some considered inconvenient to sheep graziers or urban development, is morally right, ecologically wise and offers an economic tourism bonanza. The tourists will be back.

Canberra Kangaroo management: cost in blood and treasure

As it is, Canberrans have been asked for the past 10 years (with another five years on the agenda), to dedicate close to a million dollars annually in taxpayer’s money to employing park staff, consultants, and contract shooters to “manage” and remove Australia’s emblem, Skippy, from the city’s reserves. The healthy budget suggests why they don’t want to stop.

—————————————————————

Figures obtained through FOI. The budget figures provided in the table are the actual costs for the financial years 2015–2019 (this includes a breakdown of the total cost figures to incorporate the operational and labour cost associated with the Kangaroo Management for the financial years referred).
  2015–2016  2016–2017  2017–2018  2018–2019
Employee    548,048.29    626,671.43    686,455.27    592,768.85
Non-Employee    308,623.29      88,674.05    168,567.12    300,891.66
 
Total    856,671.58    715,345.48    855,022.39    893,660.51

—————————————————————

Every year the killings traumatise nearby compassionate residents, for instance this 2016 story from Isaacs Ridge. They will be shooting there again this year.

The propaganda doesn’t hold up

This year as before, the ACT/Canberra park service has put out propaganda designed to tell the public this is good for biodiversity, ‘nothing to see here’.  We filed an FOI request in 2017 on that question. What we received debunked the dog-whistling “pest”, “bad” “too many” assumptions guiding Canberra’s ‘cull’ and others around Australia.

In the October 2017 issue of The District Bulletin (also published in this website at the time) we reported on a CSIRO review which found that the (ACT’s) research and monitoring, such as it has been, does not support the up-front assumptions of “too many” that guide this desk-top program and public narrative. That story says Eastern Grey Kangaroos need to be “actively managed” down to fewer than half their natural density for this region. Canberra parks and advisers treat our wildlife as bloodless numbers — aiming for less than one animal per hectare (that’s about the size of 1.5 rugby league fields). Think of that for a herd species that sometimes congregates. “Actively managed” has been official jargon for killing.

A national ethic

Canberra is of course in tune with the national picture. Australia, to please those same influential economic lobbies, hosts the world’s largest on-land wildlife slaughter. Has for decades. Maybe you didn’t know. The remaining large kangaroos mainly but also some wallabies and in Tasmania Brush-tail Possums are killed as ‘pests’ or commercially to export their fur, skins and meat, most of which is sold as pet food or cheap sausages. Wombats and native birds are destroyed as ‘pests’ or for recreational fun.

The other half of our national coat of arms, the Emu, was shot, poisoned and hounded for a century and the remaining animals are still at the mercy of farmers and their fences (which are being weaponised to bigger and more deadly) denying life-sustaining habitat and wildlife corridors.

Aerial 1080 poisoning of Dingos, Australia’s only apex predator animal, with a guaranteed bycatch of other native fauna, is going on right now in burned-out forests of the region. Poisoning with 1080, banned in most of the world for its risk and cruelty, has been endemic for decades in all pastoral zones. Parks and wildlife employees get to do that too.

koala-DBullJune2016archiveCottage industry from colonial roots

From its colonial roots featuring wholesale wildlife killing, bounties and recreational or commercial hunting, not least of the now-endangered Koala, killing the wildlife has solidified into a cottage industry for neglected rural communities (much like the Australian woodchip industry of native forests) while enriching a few city processors and exporters.

When will it stop? When will the ruling values shift to positive, compassionate and also smarter in a world rapidly losing its wildlife?

What about choosing life, tourist income and regenerated countryside

From the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) archives, here are the words of a potential tourist who wrote to the Kangaroo Industries Association in 2005. Her reactions stay relevant today:

“There is a beautiful advertisement for Australian tourism featuring the silhouette of a kangaroo against a blue, blue sky. It captures the imagination and the heart. It makes you want to visit Australia and it is only when you know that this beautiful creature is being slaughtered mercilessly and its babies left to die, that you say to yourself, no, I can’t, not this year, not until this stops . . . They are your national emblem are they not? Please change this awful situation. Please go in for another way of life.” 

Everyone has an overseas friend whose first desire is to see a kangaroo. And despite what it does to the wildlife, Canberra still calls itself the Bush Capital. It could easily encourage eco-tourism, assist the city’s accommodation and restaurant businesses, instead of killing off the main attraction. With the fire holocaust that hit the hinterland and tragically destroyed the Namadgi National Park animals and plants, the Bush Capital and Territory administration have an opportunity to look ahead as the countryside regenerates — not backwards to colonial values.

In 2018–19, Australia earned $60.8 billion in direct tourism gross domestic product (GDP). Tourism also employed 666,000 workers, up 5 percent of Australia’s workforce, not counting support industries. Other statistics show eco-tourism and domestic interest are also on the upswing. SOURCE.

Before this year’s cull announcement as I drove through Canberra, I looked at the still extant grasslands and wondered: where are the kangaroos? How did they pull up after last year’s massacre followed by drought? Mostly I saw none. I walked up Mt Painter in Cook where in 2010 I passed casually lounging kangaroos near the summit unconcerned about the humans milling around.

I remember admiring the healthy grassland on the northern slopes of the mountain where the kangaroos were most numerous. The ‘live and let live’ attitude of the neighbours, most of them, was heart-warming. I wondered what the government’s problem was. Today, Canberrans might like to do the test themselves.

Sharing support not terror

roo-mum-joey-feeding-MariaTaylor-june2020At my place, the kangaroos are welcome and we share food and water with them, as we do with the birds and possums. Yes, the kangaroos lightly graze returning grass. There are alternatives called interim feed and fencing. Things are not ‘natural’. In a dramatically altered landscape that we engineered since settlement and with our ever-expanding housing and commercial developments, kangaroos don’t have the home ranges they once inhabited. They are often pushed into tighter populations than ideal for their foraging. They have to live with us. And they can. But some of us seemingly cannot live with them.

I look at the trusting girls on my place and notice that some have a baby growing in the pouch. That happens when a bad season turns to a good one. Will Canberra’s hired killers and park’s employees be pulling the growing joeys out of the pouches and “humanely” decapitating them or bashing their skulls in as the unenforceable code demands?

Will they watch as the toddler at-foot joeys flee and then spend the night calling for their shot mother, only to become tomorrow’s road kill or fox food?

We are Australians

roo-family-MariaTaylor-june2020I look at those families, unafraid, and, like others have in the past, silently apologise for what we in our culture are doing to them individually and as a nation.

IMAGERY: All rights reserved © Maria Taylor.

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Australian govt earns tick for stance on wildlife consumption

civit-cat-photo-Weerapat-Kiatdumrong-on-Dreamstime

But there is a question back home.

YOU MAY OR may not have kept up with the recent Foreign Affairs uproar that merged into current Chinese tariff barriers on Australian agricultural imports? Well at the baseline of what became an Australian, US and Chinese bunfight, was a simple request for an independent enquiry into the biological source of the current coronavirus pandemic.

That was articulated by the NSW Agriculture Minister David Littleproud in the first instance back in March/April. He went on radio programs and sent press releases with statements like this:

“There are risks with wildlife wet markets and they could be as big a risk to our agricultural industries as they can be to public health so we have to understand them better.

“The G20 of Agriculture Ministers have a responsibility to lead the way and draw on global experts and engage international organisations to rationally and methodically look at the many significant risks of wildlife wet markets.

“Our people should have confidence that the food they eat is safe. We owe it to our domestic population and our international markets.”

meat-market-Langfang-GiuoliaMarchi-for-NYTimes-cropped

The wet (meat) market at Langfang near Beijing. Photo: Giuolia Marchi, for The New York Times.

Indeed, more on that in a moment.

While Australia got mired in trying to define what a ‘wet market’ is; and whether coronaviruses are weaponised in shady biological laboratories; and whether the World Health Organisation was an accessory to this devious plot, the Australian Agriculture Minister was in no doubt of what to look at.

It was the wildlife trade adjunct to fish and meat markets at the epicentre of the problem. Here was a conduit for zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 jumping from animals, say bats, sometimes via an intermediary host, possibly civet cats [our feature image above, photo by Weerapat Kiatdumrong, on Dreamstime] or pangolin sold at the markets, to humans who consumed or even just handled them. It has happened before in recent times from HIV to Ebola, to other forms of coronaviruses in countries that consume bushmeat. And domesticated animals could be infected. Think bird flu and swine flu epidemics in recent times.

Simple question: the source of the current pandemic

Littlepround called for the World Health Organisation (as is now happening) to investigate wildlife trade and consumption as the source of the most recent pandemic. A pandemic that has brought the global economy to its knees along with causing three million human infections and counting. And focused laser-like media attention on the human death toll, leaving little room for other investigations.

While this outbreak started in China, other South-east Asian countries have similar trades. The point is to look at the underlying risks and stop them.

From the perspective of humane and compassionate people everywhere, the massive and lucrative trade in the world’s diminishing and endangered wildlife (for food, traditional medicines, clothing, or amusement) is evil, in and of itself, even before a pandemic risk is attached.

Littleproud told Samantha Armytage of Channel 7’s breakfast show Sunrise:

“We’re looking at the cause of this and I’m asking the World Organisation of Animal Health to be the lead agency on that. We’ve got to understand not all wet markets are bad, it’s when wildlife, exotic wildlife is added to them, which is what’s happened in this case, as the Chinese officials have identified and reported to the World Organisation of Animal Health.

“So there are many of these around the world. It only makes sense. The world’s got smaller; we’re part of a global community, that we come together and we do the right thing to protect one another but also protect our agricultural production systems that underpin our food security.”

It was recently reported that China had taken legislative steps to shut down the growing and selling of wildlife for these wet markets.

Farmers would be helped into vegetable production enterprises. While this is good, the same reports said China had taken no action on the rest of the domestic and international wildlife trade for traditional medicines, (bears and tigers come to mind) fur, other products, and amusement.

Meanwhile back at the ranch…

And while Minister Littleproud and his government did well here, compassionate Australians might logically ask them (in the name of safe food for humans and pets), when Australia will finally end its own little-reported bushmeat trade — killing kangaroos — the nation’s emblem and a top global tourist draw.

The world’s biggest terrestrial wildlife slaughter is conducted nightly, unmonitored and accompanied by institutionalised cruelty to joeys, in unsanitary conditions in the bush. What is mainly an export trade and now a rekindled petfood trade in Victoria and South Australia, has shamed this country since the 1960s. Most Australians either don’t know or would rather not consider it. But it may be past time to do so.

 

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