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Australian Kangaroo Cull Creates International Controversy

The new Australian governments plan to cull kangaroos in the Australian Capitol Territory is coming under heavy criticism after the plan made international headlines in newspapers such as the New York Times:

The new Australian government is coming under international criticism over a plan to kill 400 kangaroos on a former military base.

The government has portrayed the cull as a necessary case of being cruel to be kind, but the international focus has been mostly on the cruelty. The growing battle over the fate of the kangaroos has pitted the former rock star Peter Garrett of the band Midnight Oil, now environment minister of Australia, against the likes of Paul McCartney, the former Beatle and animal rights advocate.

The former base is overrun with about 500 kangaroos, according to the authorities in the Australian Capital Territory, which includes the capital, Canberra, and which is in charge of the base, an unused naval transmitter station. The kangaroos are endangering themselves as well as other native species and rare plants, they said.

“If nature is left to take its course, there will be severe effects on the endangered grassland and many kangaroos will suffer a slow death by starvation,” the territory government said in a report.  [New York Times]

The New York Times also reported that last year the Australian government gave licenses to kill 3.7 million kangaroos in Australia which was about 15% of the population.  I have done plenty of hiking in and around the ACT and as I have posted before, there is an abundant amount of kangaroos in the territory:

kangaroos in the ACT

However, the nation that is making the biggest headlines over this kangaroo cull is the Japanese media.  In this link you can watch a video from FNN News in Japan.  The video is in Japanese of course so let me do a little translation for you.  Basically the Japanese are calling Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett a hypocrite because he supports the cull of kangaroos yet criticizes the Japanese for their hunting of whales.

Garrett makes a big deal about how the Australian government is using scientific means to measure kangaroo populations to conduct culls that will keep a sustainable amount of kangaroos in the wild.  The Japanese are claiming they are doing the same exact thing by conducting scientific research to measure whale populations to ensure that they to keep a sustainable amount of whales in the ocean.   Ironically enough the 2007 Australian of the Year environmentalist Tim Flannery actually agrees with the Japanese on this fact.  The top environmental scientist in Australia supports the Japanese whaling program yet the vast majority of Australians are brainwashed to think the minke whale the Japanese hunt is endangered when in fact they are plentiful.

For those that don’t know this is how a kangaroo cull is conducted:

Australian animal protection groups questioned on Monday a new government guide for the humane killing of kangaroos which recommends “forcefully swinging” the heads of young animals against a vehicle tow bar.

A proposed code of conduct for shooting young kangaroos, called joeys, and smaller wallabies released by the Department of Environment also recommended a single close-range shotgun blast.

“These changes are basically saying the federal government believes it’s okay to blast a defenseless joey to bits with a shotgun,” Pat O’Brien, President of the Wildlife Protection Association, told local newspapers.  [Reuters]

For whatever reason this doesn’t create the righteous outrage against kangaroo culls in Australia as it does against Japanese whaling.  Is it any wonder why many people in Japan see this as a racial as well as an eco-imperialism issue against them even though the vast majority of Japanese do not even eat whale meat?

Just for the record, I have nothing against the Rudd’s government’s kangaroo cull plans, as long time D.B. readers know I am a big fan of kangaroos.   :grin: