Tag Archives: mass slaughter of kangaroo joeys

Australia’s New Native Animals – Cane Toads, Cows and Sheep

I have just read a sad story about how five endangered Sumatran elephants have been killed by villagers because they most likely damaged their crops.

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/five-dead-elephants-believed-poisoned/story-e6frfku0-1225962327660

It’s the same old story. The elephants’ habitat has now been chopped down so there’s nothing for them to eat. So they eat the villagers’ crops. The villagers get angry. They retaliate. They kill the culprits. Five endangered elephants are now dead.

Wild and native animals are now the enemies of mankind. We don’t want them. There’s no place for them in our lives except as zoo exhibits, or as in the case of the kangaroo – on our dinner plate. 

My friend Julia was driving up on the highway near Byron Bay on Friday night and she noticed a baby koala trying to cross the highway.  She jumped out and helped it cross (nearly getting herself run over by semi trailers in the process).  When it got to the other side it was so stressed out it immediately tried to go back the way it had come. She had no option but to grab it and take it to the police station where it was to be handed over to WIRES (Wildlife Information and Rescue Service) officers.

The reason for this catastrophe is that all over Australia we build double lane major highways through koala habitats. I have seen squashed koalas in Victoria where the Hume Highway goes right through koala homeland.  It’s really quite disgraceful.

Have a read of what I have already written about the way we treat our iconic koala https://roslynmotter.com/2010/03/11/pity-about-the-australian-koala/

As for kangaroos, they are now just considered pests and lean meat. We are being encouraged to overcome the childhood obesity epidemic by eating kangaroos. No mention of giving up junk food or exercising – just eat kangaroo meat! When I was a child, no one ate kangaroo meat but we were all thin and active.

A recent discussion on this very subject at the University of Technology, advertised it as follows –

 

UTSpeaks: Killing Skippy
Will kangaroos survive being seen as lean, tender meat and damaging pests?
 
   

November 30th 2010

How did kangaroos stop being wonders of the Australian bush, becoming only good for food or sport?

Why do conflicting opinions abound about how many kangaroos Australia should maintain and how many we can sustain, if these animals are intensively harvested in the wild for meat? Despite industry reassurances, do kangaroos and their pouch young suffer cruelly at the hands of hunters?

Based on cutting-edge UTS research, this public lecture addresses the contentious issues of harvesting and eating kangaroos as a means to protect the environment and examines the laws and regulations that govern the well-being of one of our most treasured national icons.

I have previously written about this subject and the abhorrent way that joeys are ‘finished off’ after their mothers have been slaughtered. See https://roslynmotter.com/2010/03/27/baby-seals-and-joeys-a-head-splitting-issue/

I didn’t go to the talk so I don’t know what was said, however I think that the crux of the problem is that more than anything, we want their land.  Koalas are proving to be a jolly nuisance as they tend to live in highly desirable areas – Port Macquarie, Nelson Bay, the southern part of Queensland for example, where a lot of development is occuring.

All animals need a certain amount of space for their habitat before they become stressed.  It’s no use leaving a few trees with koalas on either side of a double lane highway and hoping that everything will work out. It won’t work out for the koalas anyway.

But then it’s not just koalas and kangaroos who are animals non gratis. It’s fruit bats, ibises, sharks, wombats, crocodiles, cockatoos, possums – the list goes on. 

I remember when the beautiful Christmas Beetle was a Christmas trademark. They’d be all over the place in summer. I haven’t seen one for years.  I read last week how Stephen Fellenberg has said that their disappearance is due to their habitat being destroyed. They have an incubation period of two years under the ground before they emerge, fully formed.  These incubation areas are being dug up to make way for housing developments. Same old story.

We’ve made life as miserable as we can for Australian wildlife. We’ve brought in Indian Mynah birds and cane toads which have decimated our birds and native animals. Whatever is left over is under serious stress.

Curiously, since I wrote this blog I’ve noticed a few people googling ‘are cows and sheep native Australian animals?’ Well the answer to this is a big NO. They, together with foxes, rabbits, dogs, cats and pigs were brought out to Australia from England after colonisation. Foxes were for ‘sport’ and I’m sure rabbits were for food, as were the pigs, cows and sheep. Cats and dogs were for pets. We’ve since helped by bringing in Myrna birds and cane toads.

I’ve spoken about biodiversity before. The links in the chain are fast coming apart and it won’t be long before we find out what the repercussions will be.

It looks like we can soon forget Australia’s native iconic animals. 

A report was recently released titled ‘Into Oblivion: The disappearing native mammals of northern Australia’. It estimates that the number of sites classified as empty of mammal activity rose from 13% in 1996 to 55% in 2009 and predicts that in 20 years native mammals will be extinct. Presumably that does not include the human mammal. However, how can we be sure? We are just one link in that biological chain and if we are the only link left, what will that mean for our survival?

We can expect that in a few years all that will remain in Australia will be people, cane toads, Indian mynahs, cows and sheep and strangely, the government doesn’t seem to care or maybe now it’s just all too hard.

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Baby Seals and Joeys – a head splitting issue

Let’s get something straight.

When baby seals are bludgeoned to death it’s barbaric, bloodthirsty and cruel. We all agree on that!

But when Australians clobber millions of joeys to death every year it’s … kind and humane.

There’s a big difference anyway. Firstly, those cute fluffy seals have mothers who love them, but those joeys don’t have a mother anymore – she just had her brains blown out.

The world thinks kangaroos are adorable. In fact, so much so, that Tourism Australia stuck one in a cage in a busy Los Angeles street in January.

Wallabies living in the Blue Mountains of Sydney

Wallabies living in the Blue Mountains, Sydney

But to be truthful, kangaroos are not so popular in Australia. There are heaps of them and they eat too much. For starters, they eat all the grass that ‘rightfully’ belongs to cows and sheep. They eat crops.  Farmers whose mantra is ‘there are too many kangaroos and they are a pest ‘– hate them!

Secondly, insurance companies hate them. They’re sick to death of paying claims for smashed car windscreens and bent fenders. Every morning Australian highways are littered with hundreds of dead kangaroos. A particularly popular site for corpses is on any highway leading into Canberra.

Hence, kangaroo shooting is a favourite sport for anyone with a gun and a desire to kill something. You see them all the time – 4 wheel drives with a string of lights across the roof. They’re great for lighting up the bush so shooters can blast dozens of roos without too much effort. Kangaroos are nocturnal animals and hence night is the best time to kill them.

Roo shooting is a great national pastime. Bored office workers love to spend their long weekends in the bush blasting them to smithereens. We do however draw the line when some yahoo shoots them with a bow and arrow through the face. See http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/roo-killer-justin-stavropoulos-loses-appeal-against-jail-sentence/story-e6frf7l6-1225840266509 . Now that’s downright barbaric and the killer, Justin Stavropoulos got a whole year in jail.

Still, we have heaps of kangaroos left over and we do have a monopoly on them. So what to do? Until recently the only use for a kangaroo was as pet meat.

These days China makes everything but they can’t breed kangaroos (at least not that I’ve heard). Why don’t we encourage everyone overseas to eat kangaroo meat?  Delegations of government officials regularly trawl overseas searching for an interested country to purchase our dead kangaroos.

In the meantime, radio announcers on talk back radio breathlessly extol the virtues of roo meat. Woolworths and Coles now stock kangaroo steaks. The message is out there – it’s very healthy to eat roo meat. It’s Australian to eat roo meat. Furthermore, the more I discuss this matter with people, the more I get the impression that it’s ‘un-Australian not to eat roo meat’ and complaining against it makes one an enemy of Australia.

But maybe not so healthy for the joeys. As we blast the kangaroo into eventual extinction, we are left with a messy problem. Every female kangaroo seems to have a joey in the pouch. It seems unlikely that the shooters only kill male kangaroos. Until they work out a way to promote joey burgers they have to work out what to do with them. Anyway, the government has told kangaroo shooters what to do. They have to yank them out of their mothers’ pouches and clobber them on the head.

According to the RSPCA on http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-happens-to-joeys-when-female-kangaroos-are-shot_76.html the National Codes of Practice (Commercial and Non-commercial) for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies requires that if a shooter kills a female with pouch young, then they must kill the joey. This is usually done by decapitation or a blow to the head (usually on the bumper bars of their 4W drives).

According to the website  http://candobetter.org/node/1842  –     I quote 

In the field this equates to smashing their head against an object such as a towbar or just simply stomping on their skull. It is not only in-pouch joeys that are dependent on their mothers. For about a third of the time you can call a kangaroo a “joey” they have permanently exited the pouch, however they still require milk, protection and guidance from their mother. These little guys are the joeys-at-foot or ex-pouch joeys, they are the ones that stick their heads in their mother’s pouch to obtain milk. This a key stage in the development of a kangaroo that usually lasts 120 – 220 days. The code directs shooters to kill these joeys by a single shot to the head, however these joeys tend to flee in terror when their mothers are shot. As kangaroos do not “adopt” other joeys in the wild their prospects for survival are very poor, most will likely starve to death or be taken by predators. How this can be classified as humane by Samantha Vine, Peter Ampt and Sarah Doornpos is to say the least, puzzling. I shudder to think what would come under the inhumane category, perhaps death by iron maiden?

According to this website, in 2007, 30,000 joeys-at-foot were orphaned by kangaroo shooters.

What a charming business! So when you pick up a roo streak in the supermarket or order it in a restaurant, you might like to remember these statistics.

Some people have a very cynical view on the government’s interest in getting rid of kangaroos. See http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:oDkY1hSjcUgJ:www.kangaroolives.com/condemned.htm+farmers+wage+war+on+kangaroos&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au . The website says – I quote –

Unfortunately the bad behaviour of governments, state and local, regarding kangaroos, is increasing. A campaign continues by those with vested interests to declare kangaroos pests – and commodities. Despite global warming, drought and bushfires, they are all working hard to turn even more kangaroos into pet food, hides, scrotum purses, and so on – even as the Australia-wide numbers plummet. From ABC news May 5, 2008: “John Kelly, from the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, says (new culling in Victoria) ‘would be good for regional employment and crops.” In direct income to the state, it’s worth about $5.5 million,” he said. “In indirect benefits, such as improved agricultural productivity, decreased levels of road accidents, and other such benefits – you add them all up, and you start talking about something approaching $15 million per year.”

kangaroo from above website

We’ve done our darndest to get rid of koalas by chopping down most of their trees to make way for housing settlements, so it’s probably difficult to rustle up enough koalas to turn into koala steaks. But farmers hate wombats and flying foxes too so maybe they could consider selling them in the supermarket next! Of course, shooters would have to whack wombat babies on the heads too, as wombats are marsupials and carry their young in pouches.

One thing’s for sure – when I hear Australians bleating about how cruel the Canadians are for culling all those baby seals, I’ll mention the hundreds of joeys who had their skulls crunched last night.

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