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End the slaughter of kangaroos on public land in the Australian Capital Territory

This petition had 2,470 supporters

Australian Capital Territory government is still killing thousands of kangaroos every year in a cruel, unnecessary, ineffective and ecologically destructive annual slaughter on public reserves. This has been going on since 2009, and we expect the latest slaughter to be announced any day.

In 2015, the Australian Capital Territory government authorised the slaughter of at least 25772 kangaroos across the Territory. Most of these were to be killed on farms because farmers believe that native kangaroos compete for pasture with introduced livestock. But 5000 of the 25772 were to be killed by the government's own hired guns, on public reserves. Last year the government killed less than half of those they planned to kill on the reserves, and they intend to kill the remainder this year, if they can find that many.

Overwhelming evidence has shown that the slaughter is: ineffective in terms of reducing kangaroo grazing pressure on reserves (because kangaroos are pretty mobile within their ranges, and quickly move in from nearby farms to make use of the empty space); unnecessary (because eastern grey kangaroos are so slow breeding, have such a high infant mortality rate and manage their own populations effectively in times of food shortage); and actively harmful to ecosystems (because kangaroo grazing ensures diversity of habitat for a great diversity of others species, many of which cannot thrive in either ungrazed land or livestock grazed land).

The evidence also shows that the government’s kangaroo counts are inherently inaccurate, the government’s Kangaroo Management Plan’s notion of an ideal number of kangaroos per hectare is simply wrong, and that eastern grey kangaroos across their entire range seem to be in steep decline.

The government’s own ecologist has admitted that the government’s assertions about kangaroos being a threat to vulnerable species were just “PR”, and that its claim that killing kangaroos will benefit biodiversity generally is based on a simplistic assumption that more biomass (vegetation) is better for biodiversity than the diversity of vegetation achieved by kangaroo grazing.

The government claims the slaughter is carried out in accordance with its Kangaroo Management Plan but even that is not true. The Kangaroo Management Plan, for all its faults, at least requires monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management, none of which have been undertaken since the Kangaroo Management Plan was published 6 years ago.

The government also claims that the shooting is conducted in accordance with a strict Code of Practice for humane killing, but this Code does nothing to prevent the killing of mothers with young. Instead, it permits pouch young to be bludgeoned to death or decapitated. Adult survivors of the shooting can injure themselves in their panic to escape, dying on the roads, or on the barbed wire surrounding the reserves, or drowning in dams. Other survivors live to suffer the emotional distress and disruption to the mob’s social structure. The Code of Practice does nothing to prevent any of this suffering.

Furthermore, evidence shows that even the weak and cynical provisions of the Code of Practice are not obeyed. Although the Code of Practice requires kangaroos not killed instantly to be immediately euthanased by a shot to the head or heart, one young male kangaroo found in a government burial pit had been shot, bludgeoned, stabbed, then died of either blood loss, or possibly suffocation from being buried while still alive. Although the Code of Practice requires shooters to shoot young at foot whose mothers have been killed, in preference to leaving them orphaned, hundreds of young at foot are orphaned and left to starve every year.

In 2015 the ACT government even permitted kangaroo shooting to take place on public, recreational land outside the reserves. This action put many human lives at risk - joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists, horse riders and many others. If shooting continues to take place on land that is open to public at all time, it is certain to result in human injury or death sooner or later.

The ACT government must stop hiding behind its out-dated Kangaroo Management Plan, start looking at the actual evidence, and take some measure of responsibility for its own decisions. Please do whatever you can to end this terrible crime against animals and people right now and forever.

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Frankie Seymour needs your help with “Megan Fitzharris: End the slaughter of kangaroos on public land in the Australian Capital Territory”. Join Frankie and 2,469 supporters today.