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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 205

Mr ENTSCH (Leichhardt) (13:16): Last year I had the opportunity of attending a briefing on canned hunting with the member for La Trobe and was very disturbed to learn about the extent of the practice in Africa. I generally support hunting. It is vital when you are talking about culling of feral animals like feral pigs, horses and cattle—you get problems with camels and all sorts of things—that have a serious negative impact on our environment. I also do not have a problem with trophy hunting, to be quite honest.

The member for Shortland mentioned CITES. There is a process whereby you can get approval for taking a trophy animal. I have been arguing very strongly that in Australia, as part of our crocodile management program, large animals that are creating a problem—a limited number, particularly in Indigenous communities—could be made available for trophy hunters and, in that way, contribute to the management of this species. This happens around the world where there needs to be culls of wild animal populations to manage those populations. There is a place where the animal, rather than just being shot and disposed of, can actually be taken for a price and then that money goes back into conservation.

But we are talking about a very different practice altogether in relation to canned hunting. It is a very brutal practice involving hand raising of animals in captivity and then, when they become large enough or at a time when they believe they can be sold as a trophy, they are put into enclosures—and if they find they are a little bit difficult to hunt, often these animals are in some way incapacitated—where they can be very easily and ruthlessly hunted down.

The raising in captivity that lessens the natural fear-and-flight responses normally prompted when wild animals see people. It makes the animal a very easy target and a guaranteed kill. I ask the question: 'Is this fair?'

It is not often we quote a thrash metal band in this chamber, but Megadeth's song, Countdown to Extinction, highlights the practice perfectly:

Endangered species, caged in fright

Shot in cold blood, no chance to fight

The stage is set, now pay the price.

An ego boost, don't think twice

Technology, the battle's unfair

You pull the hammer without a care

Squeeze the trigger that makes you 'Man'

Pseudo-safari, the hunt is canned

That says a hell of a lot. We know how the circle of life is meant to work, but this is seriously a raw deal when it comes to these creatures.

To make matters worse there is quite a significant number of young Australians—predominantly young women—who travel to Africa each year to work in 'conservation' parks where they pay around $700 a week to nurture orphan lions back into the wild. Unbeknownst to these young people, many of these conservation parks are actually breeding grounds for the canned lion industry. This is a gross deception and I encourage young Australians who are thinking about doing this to look very carefully at what the consequences of their commitment to these animals really is and where these animals end up.

Australia must condemn this practice of canned lion hunting and the importation of any animal parts as a result of canned hunting. Our proposals for new lion import restrictions follow research by the Australia Institute that looked at how it could affect the African economy if our country restricted the importation of African lion trophies. The research found that introducing our restrictions would successfully dissuade Australian tourists from participating in canned lion trophy hunting. The research also found that it would have minimal impact on the African countries involved. I think we also need to have education out there for young women, to make sure that these people get the message so that they do not do this.

The other thing that worries me particularly about this is the way that they are crossing lions and tigers and going for the mutations—for the white ones and that sort of thing: the different genetics there. It is absolutely destroying the genetics of these creatures, and it is just purely for the trophy. In fact, it needs to be stopped and to be stopped very quickly. Australia must condemn canned hunting and the importation of any species into the country as a result of canned hunting. It is the right decision— (Time expired)