The government hides the dark secrets of the kangaroo industry

The Liberal, National and Labor parties have ensured that the public will never know the findings of a kangaroo welfare inquiry, writes Linda Paull.

WHEN the Parliament of NEW SOUTH WALES first announced that there would be an inquiry into the health and welfare of kangaroos and other macropods, it was a cause for celebration among advocates for the well- be animals, First Nations, wildlife custodians and other concerned citizens.

For the first time in 50 years, Parliament would be able to investigate how kangaroo populations are coping, especially since the Black Summer bushfires, and investigate allegations by former shooters , from biologists and insiders who have been trying for years to expose how badly managed and unsustainable the commercial kangaroo industry is.

After hundreds of submissions, the investigation was underway, bringing together representatives of the commercial kangaroo industry, First Nations peoples, animal groomers, scientists, statisticians and the own Ministry of Planning, Industry and Environment of the Government of New South Wales.

The hearings themselves were made for compelling visualization, revealing overwhelming evidence about the methodologies the Department uses and still uses to measure populations, the misrepresentation of the data, the cruel treatment of the Joeys, and the sadness of the First Peoples. Nations on what they say is manifestly abusing a species they see as native Australians.

One of the key findings of the survey was that, in the specific reports on quotas department, there are areas of the state where the kangaroo population densities have fallen so low that some species could be threatened with localized extinction. Claire Galea, an independent biostatistician called to examine the department’s statistics, verified that some regional species, including the northern wallaroos trays, gray kangaroos Tibooburra and gray kangaroos Cobar have all been pushed to the brink of extinction .

For example, the Cobar Gray Kangaroos saw their population drop by 99% between 2014 and 2019.

There is a strong connection here with the commercial harvesting industry, which has been found to have:

“… has exacerbated the decline in macropods in New South Wales.”

Another finding is that the mathematical methods used by the Department to derive population estimates have changed four times over the past 30 years, have never been validated, and are not subject to any peer review or external verification. When asked how many joeys were killed, the ministry replied that it had not counted them.

The survey found that the methodologies used to measure populations were so unreliable that they:

“… makes it impossible to trust the data on long-term trends kangaroo populations. “

He also recommended:

“… urgently, the Ministry of Planning, Industry and the Environment [should] introduce a moratorium on the wallaroos harvest in the northern plateaus and red kangaroos in the plains of west until new population surveys are conducted. ‘

The economic advantage of saving our environment

Perhaps most heartbreaking of these findings is that the committee accepted evidence from animal welfare groups that current practices regarding the slaughter of joeys are not acceptable. Apparently clubbing joeys to death, banging their heads against the side of a truck, or leaving them orphaned in defense of predators is not considered a high standard of animal welfare.

When the draft report was released it was applauded by advocates as an accurate account of the investigation’s findings and there was finally some hope that Parliament was prepared to concede that the industry – so often hailed as clean, green and human – hid dark secrets.

Fast forward a week after committee members have had time to return to their respective parties to review the findings and decide what they wanted the final report looks like, the public was presented with a report very different. The final report has seen many of the most important conclusions excluded or significantly watered down. Crucial discoveries were gutted on inaccurate and misleading information, the alarming number of kangaroos in parts of the state and the profound impact of the attacks on the social, emotional and cultural kangaroos and wallabies.

What happened during these seven crucial days between the publication of the draft and final reports? How is it that representatives of the Liberal Party, National and Labor, who seemed visibly disturbed by what they heard during these hearings, returned after their deliberations and have formed an alliance to omit the most conclusions important final report? Was it because there was too much at stake for them?

We all know what to expect the Nationals and their constituents trigger happy. The Liberals, of course, take the low road to appease them. But the work? It is common knowledge that they have made a vote of bleeding during the 2019 elections, nor in regional electorates as Upper Hunter. They also seek desperately seats in areas that were once the heart of National, areas where shooters, fishermen and farmers are gaining ground.

In the desperate race for the rural vote that would help bring Labor over the line in the upcoming Federal and Federal elections, is the cruelty and unsustainability of the continued kangaroo killing an inconvenient truth? A question they’ll gladly turn a blind eye to when they think no one is watching to appease voters in the seats they might have a chance of winning?

One group of people who refuse to close their eyes is First Nations Elder “Uncle” Max Dulumunmun Harrison and his family from Yuin Country. He explained to the inquiry how kangaroos have contributed to the survival of his people for the past 80,000 years and strongly criticized the cruel treatment of joeys as well as the indifference of farmers to the lack of defense of kangaroos, as he implored Parliament to take action. .

On World Kangaroo Day, he presented a message stick to NSW Upper House MP Mark Pearson, which contained the “Yuin statement for kangaroos”. The Declaration contains seven articles that recognize the link sensitivity, intelligence and Ancient History kangaroos and the spiritual connection, cultural and environmental that First Nations people have with them. It also recognizes their songs, their language, their culture and their unique dreams and calls on federal and state governments to ensure that they are not sold or subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Mr. Pearson is about to bring this message to the country Gadigal for a ceremony at NSW Parliament in 2022 in order to be recognized by the NSW government the importance of the Declaration.

Uncle Max and Mark Pearson are not alone in their fight to protect kangaroos. Although the investigation of the kangaroos we have shown that our government seems only concerned with the protection of the commercial viability of an industry that threatens to bring the populations of kangaroos to extinction, the unprecedented number of public submissions the survey (more than 400) we also showed that people are noticing what is happening and deal with it.

Now, more than ever, it is important that we all stand up and fight for our national icon – the gentle, social, gentle-footed kangaroo.

Linda Paull is a member of the National Council of the Animal Justice Party. She is a fervent animal rights and environmental activist.

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