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Kangaroos



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EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY

KANGAROOS

" STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT

BY THE

HON. BARRY COHEN MP .

M I N I S T E R FOR HOME AFFAI RS AND ENVIRONMENT

EMBARGOED UNTI L DELIVERY

T he need to make a s tatement to P a r l i a m e n t rega rdi ng

THE HARVESTING OF KANGAROOS HAS BEEN MADE NECESSARY

BY THE THE A C T I V I T I E S , BOTH AT HOME AND ABROAD, OF

SOME ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANISATIONS WHO ARE DAMAGING

A u s t r a l i a ' s r e p u t a t i o n by wagi ng a c a m p a i g n of d i s ­

i n f o r m a t i o n , DISTORTION AND DECEIT.

O n 1 5 F ebruary t h i s year I announced the 1 9 8 4 kangaroo

HARVESTING QUOTA OF 1 - 9 8 8 MILLION ANIMALS, A REDUCTION

OF OVER 1 MILLION ANIMALS FROM THE 1 9 8 3 QUOTA-

I n d i v i d u a l quotas are set for the f i v e S t a t e s whi ch

COMMERCIALLY HARVEST KANGAROOS: QUEENSLAND, NEW SOUTH

W a l e s , T a s m a n i a , S outh A u s t r a l i a and W estern A u s t r a l i a -

S even s p e c i e s are i n v o l v e d , the l a r g e s t quotas b e i n g

FOR THE MOST COMMON AND WIDESPREAD KANGAROOS, NAMELY

the R e d , the E astern G rey and the W estern G r e y - T he

OTHER FOUR SPECIES CULLED ARE THE EURO OR WALLAROO,

and the W h i p t a i l , B e n n e t t ' s and R ufous W a l l a b i e s -

A d e t a i l e d breakup of the f i g u r e s by S t a t e and s p e c i e s

WAS ATTACHED TO THE PRESS RELEASE WHICH ACCOMPANIED

THE ANNOUNCEMENT. I SEEK LEAVE TO TABLE THAT DOCUMENT

i n H a n s a r d -

F ollowi ng s u b m i s s i o n s from the S t a t e s whi ch h ar ves t

KANGAROOS, I HAVE SET THE QUOTAS IN THE FIRM BELIEF

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THAT ALL OF THE SPECIES INVOLVED HAVE ABUNDANT

POPULATIONS AND NONE IS THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION-

My d e c is i o n was based on the infor ma tion provided to

me by the Au s t r a l ia n Na t io n a l Parks and Wi l d l i f e

Se r v i c e ; State Wi l d l i f e Au t h o r i t i e s ; CSIRO and

u n i v e r s i t i e s , using the results of e x t e n s iv e a e r i a l

AND GROUND SURVEYS AND DATA OBTAINED FROM HARVESTED

ANIMALS. THE QUOTAS TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CURRENT

NUMBER OF LIVING ANIMALS; CHANGES IN POPULATION LEVELS;

THE EFFECTS OF THE PAST DROUGHT; NATURAL MORTALITY

AS WELL AS AUTHORISED AND ILLEGAL KILLING-

One of the best examples of the d i s t o r t i o n of some

ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANISATIONS FOLLOWED THE ANNOUNCEMENT

of quotas - In 1983, the quota was set at 3 m i l l i o n -

Th i s figure was used e x t e n s i v e l y by the anim al welfare

ORGANISATIONS TO ILLUSTRATE OUR BARBARITY AND THE FACT

THAT WE WERE IGNORING SERIOUS DROUGHT CONDITIONS- .

I REPEATEDLY STRESSED THAT THE QUOTAS DVD TAKE THE

DROUGHT INTO ACCOUNT AS THE HARVESTING FIGURE WAS BEING

ADJUSTED ON A MONTHLY BASIS- I ALSO SAID THAT THE

FINAL NUMBER OF ANIMALS CULLED WOULD BE WELL BELOW

THE QUOTA OF 3 MILLION- A t THAT TIME I WAS UNABLE

TO PROVIDE AN EXACT FIGURE SIMPLY BECAUSE IT WAS NOT

AVAILABLE- I WAS PROVEN CORRECT WHEN THE FIGURE FOR

HARVESTING WAS CALCULATED AT 2 MILLION, THAT IS ONE

3

MILLION BELOW QUOTA. WHEN THE 1984 QUOTA WAS ANNOUNCED,

I WAS ACCUSED OF DECEIT BY THESE SAME GROUPS WHO NOW

CLAIMED THAT THE NUMBERS HARVESTED IN 1984 WOULD BE

THE SAME FOR 1983, THAT IS 2 MILLION SO THAT THERE

WOULD BE NO REAL REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF ANIMALS

c u l l e d - These groups were comparing the number of

ANIMALS HARVESTED WITH THE QUOTA AND NOT THE 1983 QUOTA

WITH THE 1984 QUOTA. FURTHERMORE, THESE GROUPS

DELIBERATELY FAIL TO GRASP WHAT A QUOTA IS, NAMELY

A FIGURE TO INDICATE THE SIZE OF THE DESIRABLE HARVEST,

BASED ON THE CONDITIONS PREVAILING AT THE TIME AND

ON THE ACTUAL KANGAROO POPULATION PLUS ITS PROJECTED

GROWTH- IT IS ADJUSTED TO MEET CHANGING CONDITIONS.

Animal welfare groups protest at the strong language

I HAVE USED IN DESCRIBING THEIR BEHAVIOUR. WHILST

THEY PERSIST IN MALIGNING ME PUBLICLY AND DELIBERATELY

DISTORTING WHAT I HAVE SAID, I WILL CONTINUE TO REPLY

IN KIND·

The facts are t h e s e : The pop ulat ion data shows that

DESPITE THE 1982/3 DROUGHT, KANGAROOS ARE STILL COMMON

AND IN NO WAY ENDANGERED- THE SPECIES OF LARGER

KANGAROOS ARE REMARKABLY PROLIFIC WHEN CONDITIONS ARE

SUITABLE·

O nly a l i m i t e d a e r i a l survey was c a r r i e d out i n Q u e e n s ­

land LAST YEAR, AND NO AERIAL SURVEY WAS CARRIED OUT

i n W estern A u s t r a l i a , but the r e l e v a n t S t a t e W i l d l i f e

A u t h o r i t i e s have p r o v i d e d e v i d e n c e showing the drought

d i d not a f f e c t t h e i r kangaroo p o p u l a t i o n s to the same

EXTENT AS IN OTHER STATES-

T he POPULATIONS OF the SPECIES of kangaroo whi ch are

CULLED REMAIN IN THEI-R MILLIONS AND IN SOME AREAS HAVE

REACHED PEST PROPORTIONS-

A g a i n s t t h i s b a ckground , M r - S p e a k e r , H onourable M embers

NEED TO JUDGE THE DECEITFUL STANCE TAKEN BY SOME OF

THE MORE STRIDENT OPPONENTS OF KANGAROO HARVESTING-

I t has become clear to me i n THE PERIOD I HAVE o c c u p i e d

THIS PORTFOLIO THAT SOME GROUPS ARE NOT OPPOSED TO

THE KI LLI NG OF KANGAROOS ON THE BASIS OF DISAGREEMENT

OF THE SIZE OF THE QUOTA OR ON THE FACTS PERTAINING

TO THE SIZE OF THE KANGAROO POPULATION- THEY ARE

IMPLACABLY OPPOSED TO THE KI LLI NG OF ANY ANIMAL BE

I T DOMESTIC OR WILD- I t IS A PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE

VIEW FOR PEOPLE OPPOSED TO THE KI LLI NG OF ANY ANIMAL

BUT IT IS NOT A VIEW SHARED BY THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY

of A u s t r a l i a n s who are not v e g e t a r i a n s and who use

s k i n p r o d u c t s - T hey should have the honesty to s t a t e

WHAT THEY ARE, NAMELY "ANIMAL LIBERATI ON I STS" AND NOT

5

MISLEAD PEOPLE INTO HAVING THEM BELIEVE THAT THEIR

OPPOSITION TO THE KANGAROO CULL IS BASED ON FACT,

INSTEAD OF ON PERSONAL PHILOSOPHICAL CONVICTIONS·

St i l l other groups and i n d i v i d u a l s are outraged by

KANGAROO HARVESTING BUT STRANGELY SILENT ABOUT THE

DESTRUCTION OF ALL FERAL ANIMALS SUCH AS CATS, DOGS,

PIGS, RABBITS, DONKEYS, HORSES, CAMELS AND BUFFALO-They argue that sinc e these are introduced s p e c ie s

THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE IN AUSTRALIA- I HAVE HEARD

THEM DESCRIBED AS "ANIMAL RACISTS" OR " SPEC IESI STS" -

I HAPPEN TO AGREE THAT FERAL ANIMALS NEED TO BE

ELIMINATED, BUT I CANNOT FOLLOW THE INCONSISTANCY OF

THESE GROUPS' REASONING-

During the Past year or two a small number of overseas

ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANISATIONS SEEM TO HAVE DECIDED THAT

THE NEXT GREAT INTERNATIONAL CONSERVATION ISSUE WILL

BE TO "SAVE THE KANGAROO". FRESH FROM THEIR VICTORIES

TO STOP THE KILLING OF THE CANADIAN HARP SEAL AND THE

WHALES, THEY ARE DETERMINED TO STOP THE CULLING OF

KANGAROOS IN AUSTRALIA-

Th is was conveyed to me by Richard Jones ( F und for

An i m a l s ) during a meeting last year and to the

Au s t ral ia n delegation led by the Member for St- George ,

WHEN IT MET WITH THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE OF THE

European Pa r l i a m e n t -

6

Why the kangaroo ? We l l , why not, as after a l l , these

ORGANISATIONS HAVE TO FIND A "CAUSE" TO JUSTIFY THEIR

EXISTENCE.

There are about 48 s p e c ie s of macropods and we need

TO BE AWARE THAT THE NUMBERS OF EACH OF THE SPECIES

VARY CONSIDERABLY. ,

In the very early days of the European se tt lem en t of

Au s t r a l i a , expansion of pastoral and a g r ic u l t u r a l areas

AND THE ARRIVAL OF INTRODUCED SPECIES CAUSED A NUMBER

OF OUR MAMMAL SPECIES, USUALLY THE SMALLER VARIETIES,

TO BECOME EXTINCT OR VERY RARE- THOSE BELIEVED TO

BE EXTINCT ARE:

The broad faced potoroo

The desert rat kangaroo

The eastern hare - wallaby *

The central hare - wallaby

The crescent n a i l t a i l wallaby

The toolache wallaby

Some became e x t in c t as a result of enviro nm en tal changes

and regrettably because of d i f f e r e n t a t t i t u d e s of early

Au st r al ia n settlers towards the environment and n a t i v e

f a u n a .

7

Those considered to be rare and endangered a r e :

The long footed potoroo

The brush - t a i l e d bettong

The burrowing bettong

The northern bettong "

The rufous hare wallaby

The banded hare wallaby .

The b r i d l e d n a i l t a i l wallaby

The PROSERPINE ROCK WALLABY

I f THESE GROUPS WERE TRULY INTERESTED IN SAVING

ENDANGERED SPECIES THEY WOULD CONCENTRATE THEIR EFFORT

ON THOSE MACROPODS THAT ARE GENUINELY ENDANGERED*

Th i s Government has i n d i c a t e d i t s real in t e r e s t in

THE ENDANGERED GROUP BY PROVIDING A FURTHER $2 00,000

FOR PURCHASING A TRACT OF LAND WHERE THE BRIDLED

NAILTAIL WALLABY CAN REPRODUCE IN A PROTECTED AREA*

I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT CONSERVATIONISTS GENUINELY

CONCERNED ABOUT ENDANGERED SPECIES WOULD CONCENTRATE

THEIR EFFORTS ON HELPING BODIES LIKE WORLD WILDLIFE

WHO, TOGETHER WITH THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT, HAVE INVESTED

MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO SAVE ONE OF THE MOST ENDANGERED

SPECIES IN THE WORLD, THE RARE AND BEAUTIFUL PANDA*

I ' ve just returned from Ch i n a where I was the f i r s t

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Mi n i s t e r , from any country , i n v i t e d to the recently

ESTABLISHED PANDA RESEARCH STATION AT WOLONG AND TO

WITNESS THE INTENSIVE CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE REMAINING

ONE THOUSAND OR SO PANDAS THREATENED AS A RESULT OF

THE FLOWERING AND DEATH OF THE PARTICULAR TYPE OF BAMBOO

WHICH IS THE PANDA'S STAPLE DIET-

Why are they concentrating on the kangaroo iss ue and

NOT ON THE SHOOTING OF BEARS AND DEER IN NORTH A mERLCA

and Europe ? Hunting of w h i t e - t a i l e d , b l a c k - t a i l e d

AND MULE DEER IN THE USA TAKES PLACE ON A POPULATION

ROUGHLY SIMILAR IN SIZE TO OUR MAIN KANGAROO SPECIES,

AND AT A SIMILAR RATE· YET NO ONE SUGGESTS THE DEER

IS ENDANGERED-

What about anim al s which don' t occur in the m i l l i o n s

BUT ARE STILL HUNTED? A GAME SURVEY BY THE NATIONAL

Ri f l e As s o c ia t io n of America e s t im a t e s the harvest

OF BLACK BEAR IN ALASKA AT 13 ,0 00 OUT OF A POPULATION

of only 35 -5 0 ,0 0 0 · E ven worse , the e s t im a t e d harvest

OF COUGAR IN TEXAS IS 200 OUT OF A POPULATION OF ONLY

500.

Un l i k e Au s t r a l i a n s , people of North Am erica and Europe

ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE FACTS CONCERNING KANGAROOS

AND WILL OFTEN FALL FOR SOME OF THE MORE OUTRAGEOUS

CLAIMS OF THOSE OPPOSED TO KANGAROO HARVESTING-

9

An example of just how ludicrous they can be is the

c l a im by Mr s. Ma r ia n Newman on TCN9' s 60 Mi n u t e s , that

professional kangaroo shooters s k in n e d baby kangaroos

ALIVE TO SAVE THEMSELVES THE COST OF A 36 CENT BULLET-

Some people have protested at my d e s c r i b i n g Mr s. Newman

AS A RATBAG AND A NUT- FRANKLY J THINK I WAS FLATTERING

HER-

THE INTERNATIONAL BODIES WHO ARE ORCHESTRATING THIS

CAMPAIGN ARE "THE KANGAROO PROTECTION FOUNDATION",

A PROJECT OF THE WASHINGTON HUMANE SOCIETY; "THE INTER­

NATIONAL F und for An im al We l f a r e " and Gre enp eac e -

Some of these groups have support in Au s t r a l i a from

THEIR LOCAL CHAPTERS-

There are respons ible conservation groups who have

GENUINE CONCERNS ABOUT KANGAROOS HARVESTING- WHILE

I MAY NOT ALWAYS AGREE WITH THEIR VIEWS, I BELIEVE

THEY ARE GENUINE AND HONEST- I AM DETERMINED TO HAVE

A CONTINUING DIALOGUE WITH THEM·

The Queensland Conservation Co u n c i l , for e x a m p l e , has

STATED IN ITS NEWSLETTER OF APRIL 1983, THAT IT HAS

A POLICY WHICH SUPPORTS STRICTLY CONTROLLED HARVESTING,

WITH QUOTAS. BEING DETERMINED BY CONSERVATION OBJECTIVES

AND NOT COMMERCIAL CONSIDERATIONS SUPPORTED BY ONGOING

10

RESEARCH AND MONITORING PROGRAMS· ΪΗΑΤ IS THE GOVERN­

MENT'S p o l i c y . The Council has expressed the b e l i e f

THAT MUCH OF THE ENERGY BEING PUT INTO THE KANGAROO

CAMPAIGN WOULD BE MUCH BETTER SPENT ON SECURING A FUTURE

FOR THE NATIVE SPECIES WHICH ARE DEMONSTRABLY

ENDANGERED- THIS IS ALSO OUR POLICY- ONE COULD HARDLY

DESCRIBE THE QCC AS A "TAME CAT" ORGANISATION, BUT

THEY TAKE A REASONABLE STANCE AND WE CAN THEREFORE

WORK TOGETHER.

AT THE MOMENT I AM A LITTLE CONFUSED ABOUT THE

Au s t r a l ia n Conservation Fo u n d a t i o n ' s p o s i t i o n - As

I UNDERSTAND IT , THEY SUPPORT CULLING BUT NOT FOR

COMMERCIAL PURPOSES-

The Royal Zoological So c iet y of New South Wales has

RECENTLY ADOPTED A POLICY ON KANGAROOS WHICH STATES

that the So c ie t y " sees no c o n f l i c t , e i t h e r numerical

OR ETHICAL, IN THE OPERATION OF A CAREFULLY CONTROLLED

KANGAROO INDUSTRY, MEETING THE PEST CONTROL REQUIREMENT

AND HARVESTING THIS PROVEN RENEWABLE RESOURCE" - AGAIN,

A REASONABLE POSITION TO HOLD-

Other independent experts have recently expressed the

VIEW THAT RED AND GREY KANGAROOS ARE NOT THREATENED

BY HARVESTING

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For ex am pl e , Dr. Des Gr i f f i n , the Director of the

Au s t r a l ia n Museum , was quoted as denying c l aim s by

ANIMAL WELFARE GROUPS AND THE ACF THAT THE MAIN KANGAROO

POPULATIONS WERE THREATENED BY COMMERCIAL SHOOTING-

He s a id that by focusing p u b l ic a t t e n t io n on the three

KANGAROO SPECIES WITH HIGH POPULATIONS, THE ACF WAS

DETRACTING FROM EFFORTS TO SAVE RARE AND ENDANGERED

SPECIES.

Si m i l a r views have been expressed by Mr. Ronald St r a h a n ,

a d i s t i n g u i s h e d Au s t r a l ia n z oologis t and Gordon Gr i g g ,

Associat e Professor of Biology and Head of the School

of Bio l o g ic a l Sciences at the Un i v e r s i t y of Sy d n e y ,

who stated that " i f the attack on the industry is based

ON MORAL GROUNDS, THEN IT SHOULD BE PUT AS SUCH, NOT

AS AN ARGUMENT ABOUT NUMBERS·"

I n November and December 1983 the World So c ie t y of

the Protection of Anim als sent Co l i n Pl a t t to Au s t r a l i a

TO INVESTIGATE THE KANGAROO DEBATE- THE SOCIETY

COMPRISES SEVERAL HUNDRED MEMBER GROUPS IN MORE THAN

60 COUNTRIES AND THOUSANDS OF INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS, AND

IS THE ONLY ANIMAL PROTECTION ORGANISATION RECOGNISED

by the Un it e d Natio ns and giv e n c o n s u l t a t iv e status

with i t .

Mr. Plat t concluded that w i l d l i f e departments must

12

HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO CULL SPECIES, TO PREVENT ENVIRON­

MENTAL DEGRADATION OCCURRING THROUGH OVER-POPULATION,

AND THAT COMPLETE ABOLITION OF KILLING COULD

INADVERTENTLY RENDER KANGAROOS FAR MORE VULNERABLE

TO ABUSE THAN THEY ARE AT PRESENT-

IN CONTRAST, SOME ORGANISATIONS OPPOSE ANY INDUSTRY

BASED ON KANGAROO HARVESTING- OTHERS ARE NOT OPPOSED

TO A DOMESTIC INDUSTRY BUT OPPOSE THE EXPORT OF KANGAROO

PRODUCTS -

Some recognise the need to control kangaroos but rather

THAN UTILISE THE KILLED ANIMALS WOULD LET THEM ROT

IN THE BUSH-

What makes me really angry is the suggestion that I

and the State Mi n i s t e r s are in a g ia n t consp iracy to

HELP THE KANGAROO INDUSTRY- COMPARED TO OTHER

Austra lia n primary i n d u s t r ie s the kangaroo products

one is s m a l l - Exports of kangaroo s k i n s , leather

AND MEAT IN 1982"83 WERE WORTH ABOUT $12-4 MILLION-

By way of comparison , meat exports during the same

PERIOD WERE WORTH $ 1 ,5 1 7 -4 MILLION; WHEAT $ 1 ,3 7 7 - 6

MILLION AND FRUIT $129-9 MILLION-

If t h i s Government were to take ac t io n based solely

ON COMMERCIAL OR POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS, WE WOULD

13

NOT HAVE STOPPED THE DAMMING OF THE FRANKLIN, DECLARED

Stage I I of Kakadu Na t io n a l Pa r k , created the Great

Barr ier Reef Marine Park and p r o h i b i t e d sand m i n i n g

on Moreton I s l a n d ·

Of all the groups involved in the kangaroo i s s u e , namely

THE INDUSTRY ITSELF, THE POLITICIANS, THE STATE AND

Federal parks and w i l d l i f e o f f ic e r s and the farmers ,

ONLY THE FARMERS WOULD POSSIBLY HAVE A MOTIVE FOR

WANTING TO DESTROY THE KANGAROO- HAVING SPOKEN TO

MANY FARMERS, I REJECT COMPLETELY THAT POSSIBILITY-

Most farmers are as proud of Au s t r a l ia n fauna as anyone

ELSE IN THIS COUNTRY AND PROBABLY KNOW A GREAT DEAL

MORE ABOUT IT THAN MOST- ΪΗΕ MAJORITY OF FARMERS ARE

PERFECTLY HAPPY TO TOLERATE A REASONABLE NUMBER OF

KANGAROOS ON THEIR PROPERTIES- THE OPERATIVE WORD

is " reasonable " - It IS when the KANGAROO POPULATION

REACHES UNREASONABLE LEVELS THAT FARMERS WANT THE

NUMBERS REDUCED- THOSE WHO OPPOSE THE PRESENT METHOD

OF CULLING SHOULD CONTEMPLATE WHAT ACTION FARMERS WOULD

HAVE TO TAKE IF OFFICIALLY AUTHORISED CULLING WERE

TO CEASE-

Let me now deal with some of the more outrageous charges

MADE BY SOME OF THE ANIMAL WELFARE GROUPS-

- m -

F i r s t of a l l , that the kangaroo p o p u l a t i o n f i g u r e s

ARE WRONG, OR WORSE, DELIBERATELY FALSI FI ED· THE

LAST FULL SCALE SURVEY WAS DONE IN 1 9 8 1 " 8 2 BY THE C S I R O ,

one of A u s t r a l i a ' s , i n d e e d one of the W o r l d ' s most

RESPECTED SCIENTIFIC ORGANISATIONS AND BY UNIVERSITY

s c i e n t i s t s . T hey came up w i t h f i g u r e s of 1 9 - 1 m i l l i o n

FOR THE RED AND GREY KANGAROOS, THE MAIN SPECIES CULLED-

T hen in 1982 and 1983 the worst drought i n years had

ITS EFFECT AND IN THE EASTERN STATES POPULATION FIGURES

DROPPED BY SOME 30~40 PERCENT- I n ITS SUBMISSION TO

the US F i sh and W i l d l i f e S e r v i c e , the A u s t r a l i a n G overn ­

ment SUBMITTED THESE FIGURES AND I DENTIFIED IT SOURCES

OF INFORMATION.

I n c i d e n t a l l y , the grea te st decrease i n numbers occurred

IN AREAS THAT HAD NOT BEEN CULLED- I n KlNCHEGA NATIONAL

P ark where the a u t h o r i t i e s d e l i b e r a t e l y had not c u l le d

KANGAROOS, THE DROP IN NUMBERS FOR THE GREY KANGAROO

WAS OF THE ORDER OF 70 PERCENT, WHILE ON A NEIGHBOURING

PROPERTY WHERE CULLING HAD OCCURRED THERE WAS A MUCH

SMALLER DROP IN NUMBERS - THERE WAS SIMPLY MORE FEED

AVAILABLE FOR FEWER ANIMALS -

O ne MEMBER OF A CONSERVATION GROUP USED THE KlNCHEGA

CASE TO TRY TO PROVE THAT THERE HAD BEEN AN OVERALL

15

MORTALITY OF KANGAROOS OF 70 PERCENT THROUGHOUT

Au s t r a l i a . He set out to prove exactly the o pp osite

TO WHAT THE EVIDENCE SHOWED HAD HAPPENED-

State w i l d l i f e a u t h o r i t ie s es tim a t e that at the end

OF the drought the kangaroo pop ulation had f al len to

somewhere between 12-14 MILLION of the three main

SPECIES.

Female kangaroos are unique in be ing able to r e t a in

THE EMBRYO IN THE UTERUS FOR LONG PAST THE NORMAL

GESTATION PERIOD AND TO GIVE~inRTH ONLY WHEN CONDITIONS

im prove . After the bre ak ing of the drought and if

GOOD WEATHER CONDITIONS CONTINUE, WE CAN ANTICIPATE

THAT THE KANGAROO POPULATION WILL INCREASE S I G N I F I ­

CANTLY- T hese figures are d is p u t e d by some a n im a l

WELFARE GROUPS OR THEY USE OUR FIGURES AND PLACE THEIR

OWN INTERPRETATION ON THEM- YET WHERE IS THEIR

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE? WHAT RESEARCH HAVE THEY DONE?

What are the professional q u a l i f i c a t i o n s of these

CRITICS? How MANY OF THEM ARE ZOOLOGISTS OR BIOLOGISTS,

OR SPECIALISTS IN WILDLIFE STUDIES?

The MEN AND WOMEN IN OUR PARKS AND WILDLIFE SERVICES

ARE PROFESSIONALLY QUALIFIED AND TRAINED BY FIRST HAND

EXPERIENCE- In ADDITION THESE PEOPLE ARE PERSONALLY

DSEDICATED TO THE PRESERVATION OF AUSTRALIA'S WILDLIFE

16

AND ITS ENVIRONMENT. THIS TYPE OF COMMITMENT IS NOT

THE MONOPOLY OF THOSE IN ANIMAL WELFARE AND CONSER­

VATIONIST GROUPS ·

The PROFESSIONAL SHOOTER HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF CRIMINAL

ACTS OF CRUELTY AGAINST KANGAROOS· PROFESSIONAL

SHOOTERS KILL QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY· CHARGES THAT

THEY DELIBERATELY SHOOT TO MAIM ARE ABSURD- QUITE

APART FROM THE FACT THAT THESE MEN ARE NOT SAVAGES,

IN THE INTEREST OF PROFIT THEY ARE CAREFUL, AS WHEN

A KANGAROO IS SHOT IN THE STOMACH BOTH THE SKIN AND

THE MEAT ARE RUINED- ·

It has been suggested that har ves ting should be ca r ried

OUT BY GOVERNMENT OFFICERS- APPROXIMATELY 3,0 00 PART­

TIME LICENCED PROFESSIONAL SHOOTERS OPERATE AT PRESENT -

These would need to be replaced by about 2 ,5 00 fu ll and pa rt - t im e

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AT AN ESTIMATED COST TO THE TAX­

PAYER OF MORE THAN 50 MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR - NOT

A LOT OF MONEY WHEN YOU SAY IT QUICKLY BUT APPROXIMATELY

ONE-QUARTER OF THE ANNUAL BUDGET OF THE DEPARTMENT

of Home Af f a ir s and Environment -

An improvement of the present system of management

IS THE ONLY VIABLE APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM-

A Kangaroo Monito r in g Un i t has been e s t a b l i s h e d w i t h i n

17

the Au s t r a l ia n Na t io n a l Parks and Wi l d l i f e Se r v i c e -

Th i s w i l l be concerned with all kangaroo sp ecie s paying

SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE GENUINELY ENDANGERED SPECIES

OF KANGAROOS AND WALLABIES·

It w il l a s s i s t States in managing kangaroo har ve stin g

PROGRAMS AND WILL PROVIDE ADVICE TO ME ON THE SETTING

OF ANNUAL QUOTAS· THE STAFF OF THE UNIT WILL HAVE

EXPERIENCE IN WILDLIFE POPULATION MONITORING AND MANAGE­

MENT AND WILL LIAISE WITH THE STATES, THE UNIVERSITIES,

CONSERVATION GROUPS, FARMERS AND THE INDUSTRY·

AS IN ANY SOCIETY THERE ARE PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA, YAHOOS

IF YOU LIKE, WHO ACT OUTSIDE THE LAW AND ARE EITHER

INDIFFERENT TO, OR ACTUALLY OBTAIN PLEASURE FROM,

CRUELTY-

Such i n d i v i d u a l s are co nt em pt ib le but regrettably are

HARD TO CATCH, PARTICULARLY IN A COUNTRY AS VAST AS

Au s t r a l i a -

I n t e r e s t i n g l y , a number of conservation groups have

MADE ALLEGATIONS OF CRUELTY AND HAVE BEEN ASKED BY

Professor Ov i n g t o n , Director of the Au s t r a l ia n Na t io n a l

Parks and Wi l d l i f e Ser v ic e to provide the e v i d e n c e -

They have never produced one t i t t l e of e v i d e n c e ·

18

The prevention of cruelty is be in g examined by the

Council of Nature Conservation Mi n i s t e r (CONCOM).

A Council working group has c ir c u l a t e d to interes te d

GROUPS A DRAFT CODE OF PRACTICE FOR KANGAROO CULLING

AND ONCE THIS IS FINALISED IT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT

TOOL IN MINIMISING ANIMAL SUFFERING· .

As MOST SHOOTING IS DONE ON RURAL PROPERTIES, FARMERS

ARE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE POSITION TO REPORT ILLEGAL

SHOOTERS AND ACTS OF CRUELTY· THEY SHOULD TAKE SPECIAL

CARE TO ALLOW ONLY EXPERT AUTHORISED SHOOTERS TO ΟPETTATE

ON THEIR LAND·

In order that all aspects of kangaroo management are

BETTER UNDERSTOOD BY THE PUBLIC, THE GOVERNMENT HAS

asked Fil m Au s t r a l i a to prepare a f i l m on t h i s s u b j e c t -

Members w i l l be aware that the U-S· F ish and Wi l d l i f e

Service has decided to keep the red, eastern grey and

WESTERN GREY KANGAROOS ON THE THREATENED LIST UNDER

the U-S- E ndangered Sp e c ie s Ac t .

I AM MOST DISAPPOINTED THAT THE U - S - AUTHORITIES HAVE

MADE THIS DECISION. ΪΗΕ AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT HAS

PROVIDED AMPLE EVIDENCE THAT THE THREE SPECIES ARE

NOT THREATENED- THEY ARE CLEARLY ABUNDANT AND FOR

19

THE U . $ . TO LIST THEM ON THEIR THREATENED LIST UNDER­

MINES THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SUCH LISTING IN ASSISTING

the Conservation of truly endangered s p e c i e s . The

U - $ . appears to have been unduly inf luenc ed by the

dishonest campaign waged by some U - S . conservation

AND ANIMAL WELFARE GROUPS AIDED AND ABETTED BY THEIR

Au s t r a l ia n c o n s p ir a t o r s .

In i t s d e c is i o n the USFWS has placed emphasis on a

DECLINE IN THE POPULATION FROM OVER 19 MILLION, WHICH

HAS DECLINED TO ABOUT 12~1Α MILLION·

Nevertheless I understand that im p o r ta tio n of kangaroo

PRODUCTS INTO THE USA WILL STILL BE PERMITTED AND THAT

THE USFWS WILL MONITOR THE STATUS OF THESE THREE SPECIES

AND COULD AGAIN PROPOSE THEIR REMOVAL FROM THE

THREATENED LIST IF NUMBERS RECOVER FOLLOWING THE BREAK­

ING OF THE DROUGHT.

It needs to be noted that the Convention on I nt er ­

nat ional Trade in Endangered Sp e c ies of w il d flora

and FAUNA ( C I T E S ) OF WHICH 86 COUNTRIES ARE SIGNATORIES,

DOES NOT REGARD THE RED, THE EASTERN AND THE WESTERN

Grey Kangaroos as t h r e a t e n e d .

I WANT TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REFUTE AGAIN

ALLEGATIONS MADE IN THE MEDIA RECENTLY THAT THE

20

SUBMISSIONS BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT MISLED THE

USFWS BY EXAGGERATING POPULATION LEVELS- THE AUSTRALIAN

Government submis sions of November 1982, March 1983,

June 1983 and February 1984, were based on a v a i l a b l e

s c i e n t i f i c evidence from C S I R O , Un i v e r s i t i e s and State

Wi l d l i f e Au t h o r i t i e s - The popul at ion es t im a t e s in these

su b mis sio ns have not been challenged by the USFWS.

Last week we rec eived a telex from the U-S- Government

refuting alle ga tions that the Au s t r a l ia n Government

HAD MISLED THEM-

The USFWS i d e n t i f i e d the drought a s -b e in g r espo nsible

for the d ec line in numbers and have sought a d d i t i o n a l

infor mation on the recovery rate of the kangaroo

POPULATION.

I AM PLEASED TO NOTE THAT THE USFWS RECOGNISED THAT

KANGAROOS NUMBER IN THE MILLIONS AND THAT AUSTRALIA

HAS A PROVEN RECORD OF EFFICIENTLY ADMINISTERED WILDLIFE

CONSERVATION PROGRAMS- THE USFWS HAS ALSO CLARIFIED

THE ALLEGATIONS THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF AUSTRALIA HAD

"MISLED" IT REGARDING THE SIZE OF THE KANGAROO

POPULATION. I SEEK LEAVE TO TABLE THIS CLARIFICATION-

I n October last year a Dutch independent 'Member of

the European Pa r l i a m e n t , Mr- Doeke Eisma and some of

HIS COLLEAGUES TABLED IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT A

21

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION CALLING FOR AN INVESTIGATION

INTO WHETHER IMPORTS OF KANGAROO PRODUCTS SHOULD BE

BANNED- .

I met with Mr. Eisma and h i s Br i t i s h a s s o c i a t e , Dr.

Bi l l Jordan , Director of the Pe o p l e ' s Trust for

Endangered Sp e c i e s , in Canberra last Fr i d a y . They

WERE ON A V I S I T OF LESS THAN ONE WEEK TO AUSTRALIA

TO EXAMINE THE KANGAROO SITUATION- I MADE THE

Au s t r a l ia n p o s i t i o n clear to t h e m -

I f ir m l y b e l i e v e there is no need for the European

Parlia me nt to consider an import b a n - However , we

WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO RECEIVE A V I S I T BY A DELEGATION

of the European Pa r l i a m e n t , e s p e c i a l l y i f i t could

SPEND SUFFICIENT TIME TO APPRECIATE THE VASTNESS OF

THIS COUNTRY AND THE ABUNDANCE OF KANGAROOS IT CONTAINS-

Fi n a l l y , Mr. Spe aker , I would l i k e to r e it e r a t e that

Au s t r a l ia n Commonwealth , State and Territory Wi l d l i f e

Au t h o r i t i e s are of the hig he st c a l i b r e and e x p e r t i s e .

These p r o f e s s io n a l s , res pons ibl e to the various Conser ­

va tion Mi n i s t e r s , have as t h e i r primary goal the conser ­

va tion of all Au s t r a l ia n w i l d l i f e and suggestions that

THEY WOULD ALLOW KANGAROOS TO BECOME EXTINCT ARE

r i d i c u l o u s . The Kangaroo Management Programs conducted

by these Au t h o r i t i e s a r e , I b e l i e v e , the equal of the

22

BEST PROGRAMS OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT IN THE WORLD·

I WELCOME DIALOGUE WITH THOSE ANIMAL WELFARE GROUPS

AND CONSERVATIONISTS WHO ARE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN

PRESERVING ANY ENDANGERED SPECIES OF WILDLIFE BUT I

HAVE NO TIME FOR THOSE WHO FOR THE SAKE OF MEDIA

ATTENTION AND FOR THEIR OWN SELF AGRANDISEMENT,

DISSEMBLE AND DECEIVE·

ooOo o- ·

TELEGRAM FROM THE U-S- DEPARTMENT OF STATE

TO THE U.S* EMBASSY IN CANBERRA

SUBJECT; WI LDLI FE; WITHDRAWAL OF KANGAROOS DELISTING

PROPOSAL· .

1 · PROFESSOR OVINGTON IS INDEED CORRECT THAT GOVERNMENT

OF AUSTRALIA DID NOT CITE POPULATION OF 32 MILLION

KANGAROOS IN ITS PETITION OF NOVEMBER 10 , 1982 RPT

1982- FIGURE OF 32 MILLION DERIVES FROM ESTIMATE BY

FWS EXPERT ANDERSON BASED ON DATA PROVIDED BY GOA ·

FIGURE ALSO APPEARED CONSISTENT WITH SURVEY DATA WHICH

INDICATED OVER 18 MILLION KANGAROOS. IN AREAS AMOUNTING

TO 4 6 - 5 PERCENT OF MAINLAND AUSTRALIA, WHICH WERE BELIEVED

NOT TO BE AS IDEAL KANGAROOS HABITAT AS UNSURVEYED

AREAS· POPULATION DATA WAS DISCUSSED EXTENSIVELY IN

APRIL 6 , 1983 FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE ON PROPOSAL TO

REMOVE 3 SPECIES OF KANGAROOS FROM U· S · THREATENED

L I S T - GOA DID NOT QUESTION DATA IN THIS NOTICE, ALTHOUGH

IT DID PLACE ESTIMATE AT 19 MILLION IN SUBSEQUENT PUBLIC

HEARING-2 · IN ANY EVENT, FWS DID NOT BASE ITS CONSIDERATIONS

ON 32 MILLION FIGURE AND DOES NOT CONSIDER IT WAS MISLED

BY GOA IN ANY WAY. FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE WAS NOT

INTENDED TO IMPLY THI S- DECISION WAS BASED ON DECLINE

FROM 19 MILLION ESTIMATE ESPECIALLY IN NEW SOUTH

WALES AND SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA, AND FEELING THAT IT WOULD

. . . . 2

2

TELEGRAM (CONTINUED)

SEEM ILLOGICAL TO REMOVE SPECIES FROM LIST WHEN THEY

APPEARED LESS NUMEROUS THAN WHEN FIRST CONSIDERED FOR

DELISTING·

3· FWS WILL BE HAPPY TO ISSUE CORRECTION TO FEDERAL

REGISTER NOTICE OF APRIL 24 IF DESIRED·

State Species 1983

Quota

Current Population Estimate

Suggested 1984 Quota

Quotas as Percentage of

Population

1984 Quota as Percentage of 1983 Quota

WA Red kangaroo

Western Grey

140,000 1.027 million* 140,000 14%* 100%

!

i v y

kangaroo Euro** -----

50,000

— -1-0,000 200,000

0.436 million* 50,000 --167ooo-200,000

11%* 100%

100%

SA Red kangaroo

Western Gre%

239,000 0.864-million 115,000 13% 48%

kangaroo 58,000 0.208 million 22,000 11% ‘ 38%

•

Euro 3,000

300,000

0.090 million 6,000

143,000

7% 200%

NSW Red kangaroo

Grey kangaroo 550,000 3.4 million 399,000 12% 73%

(both species) 288,000 2.1 million 100,000 5% 35%

Tas

Wallaroo

Bennetts

5,000 843,000

.1,000 500,000

20%

Wallaby ' 175,000 ) 6.0 million 175,000 ) 5% 100%

©

Rufous Wallaby 125.000 300.000 ) 125.000

300.000

) 100%

Qld Red kangaroo

Grey kangaroo 450,000 2.102 million*** 250,000 12%*** 56%

(both species) 900,000 3.102 million*** 500,000 16%*** 56%

Wallaroo/Euros 100,000 - 60,000 - 60%

whiptail Wallaby 50,000

1,500,000

35,000

845,000

70%

GRAND TOTAL 3,143,000 - 1,988,000 - 63%

1981 Caughley, Grigg and Short estimate. WA states that subsequent good rains have resulted in strong recuitment. ** Culling to be done only in response to specific damage situations. *** Caughley, Grigg and Short estimate (1983). Incomplete since it covers only part of

the species range of the Eastern Grey kangaroo. Some reductions would have occurred as a result of the 1982/83 drought, particularly in S. Queensland.