Australian Wildlife Protection Council

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Propaganda & warfare against the voiceless

Lethal disrespect for our fellow species in Australia

“Sanctioning violence against other beings to achieve an end is neither ethical nor competent” Canberra-based Animal Defenders Office, May 2024.” *
Animal-defence lawyers leveled this verdict on examining an ‘independent’ review that unsurprisingly gives high marks to the national capital’s kangaroo-killing program. The Australian Capital Territory government simultaneously kicked off another year of carnage in Canberra, the Bush Capital. Hired guns shoot adult and juvenile animals on city nature reserves (or the latter escape, traumatized, to possibly become road kill or fox food) and the contract killers are instructed to bash pouch joeys to death.
The ACT government’s ongoing program is part of the world’s biggest land-based wildlife slaughter. The combined goal? To make some agriculturalists and economic interests happy, to sell kangaroo skins and meat for humans and pets, and, as in Canberra, to remove kangaroo populations from the immediate environment.
The violence inflicted on kangaroos and other Australian native animals since settlement is about disrespect and a refusal to co-exist peacefully and is backed by propaganda from major institutions to aid economic interests and private property control of the land since 1788. Click here for more info.
Propaganda employs false narratives and demonizes ‘them’ to manufacture public consent for killing, possibly extending to genocide of the designated enemy.
Sounding familiar right now? What happens in this wildlife space is not unlike the human-against-human use of propaganda backing bombs and bullets, brutality and collective punishment, against defenceless civilians in a ‘war’ waged for land, vengeance and religious ideology in Gaza and the region. Advocates and protesters on behalf of the victims are likewise demonized as ‘them’, bad people, to shut them up.
Ethics, compassion and arguably good judgement are not part of this cultural formula. The fact that wealthy countries of the Anglosphere, notably the USA, UK, and Australia, have for many months defended their Middle Eastern ally’s tactics in this war – normalizing collective punishment as the strategy for their interests to win – reflects a familiar post-colonial mindset: this is what we do.

How we do it in Australia

Likewise, Australian state and territory governments aim weapons of war indiscriminately against some fellow species in the interest of land grabs, economic profit, or both. That means, bullets, poisons, blunt force trauma and denial of food and shelter on what was once the animals’ home ranges. In Canberra, the propaganda against kangaroo species living on urban reserves is sold to the public in a framework of ‘science’, the subject of above review.

For more than a decade the Canberra public has heard a revolving set of reasons from politicians and the territory bureaucracy – including inhouse and allied contract scientists – regarding why, really, those kangaroos grazing on reserves, (and delighting visitors) must be shot. One popular refrain: we have to kill them before they starve.  The narrative has now settled on the evidence-free claim that these marsupials damage the homes of other wildlife, when in fact the ecological truth is just the opposite.  

Likewise, Australian state and territory governments aim weapons of war indiscriminately against some fellow species in the interest of land grabs, economic profit, or both. That means, bullets, poisons, blunt force trauma and denial of food and shelter on what was once the animals’ home ranges. In Canberra, the propaganda against kangaroo species living on urban reserves is sold to the public in a framework of ‘science’, the subject of above review.  

For more than a decade the Canberra public has heard a revolving set of reasons from politicians and the territory bureaucracy – including inhouse and allied contract scientists – regarding why, really, those kangaroos grazing on reserves, (and delighting visitors) must be shot. One popular refrain: we have to kill them before they starve.  The narrative has now settled on the evidence-free claim that these marsupials damage the homes of other wildlife, when in fact the ecological truth is just the opposite.  

This sanitized, ‘environmental’ bit of propaganda against kangaroo populations has been exported to other states for wildlife management – adding one more excuse for lethal treatment to the widely-accepted thesis that there are ‘too many’ kangaroos and they are ‘pests’ that must be destroyed because they compete for grass and water. Those resources, since colonization, ‘belong to’ ag businesses, particularly those that graze sheep and cattle. The demonizing of native animals who try to stay on their home ranges, resonates throughout rural Australia and is readily accepted in cities too. And as cities expand, kangaroos are blamed for being in the path of more development. Turning the victims of the related warfare into shoe leather and petfood is a bonus industry.
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council and its members fundamentally oppose as immoral and unethical (and incompetent to maintain biodiversity) a tradition of lethal management of Australia’s wildlife that evolved with British and European colonization of a biologically unique continent.

The aim from the start was to ‘improve’ the nature of Australia for commerce, a back paddock of resources for the colonizing nation – accompanied by wholesale disinterest in understanding the ecological systems and the co-dependence of Australian fauna and flora. State and federal governments have led the charge on behalf of commercial interests and their long-held beliefs, setting dangerous examples for the public of disrespect and impunity to kill.

There is much to catch up on – including an understanding of the key ecological roles played today in grassy woodland ecosystems by the remaining large kangaroo species, by wombats, and by some ground-dwelling birds, as other ‘landscape engineers’ have become statistics in Australia’s shameful extinction crisis.

With another government reserve ‘cull’ in June and July, below is the Canberra story that we published in 2023 as part of a campaign to raise awareness of Australia’s horror show regarding kangaroos The essentials of this story, sadly, remain unchanged in 2024.

How you can help

The AWPC suggests peaceful and compassionate people might consider letting the ACT government know they will not support Canberra and the ACT with visits or purchases while government demonization and warfare aimed at native animals continues. (Dingos too are killed, poisoned, by the ACT, often using kangaroo carcasses as bait). Overseas and interstate visitors might reconsider their tourist options while Australia as a whole kills its iconic native animals as ‘pests’ and for shoe leather and pet food.
State governments and Tourism Australia would love to hear from you!

Local advocacy group Save Canberra’s Kangaroos (find their page on facebook) urges ACT residents who oppose animal cruelty to send a strong negative message to the Labor/ Greens alliance in the upcoming Territory election (mindful of succession of preferences). Sadly, Greens politicians, acting as environment ministers in the current government, have been the main cheerleaders for kangaroo and dingo killing in the past years.