29 May 2002
Australian Army Cashes in on Kangaroo Slaughter
Australias Department of Defence has authorised the
shooting of 40,000 kangaroos on the Packapanyul military base
sited in the outback of Central Victoria. It claims to be
saving the animals from extreme suffering and starvation but
a spokesperson indicated that the aim is to turn the slaughter,
which began this week, into a commercial venture. Currently,
Victoria does not allow commercial killing. The slaughter
follows the heavy promotion of kangaroo leather by Australian
embassies and high commissions and its use by sports shoe
manufacturers such as Adidas, Nike and Umbro in expensive
football boots. Both David Beckham and Michael Owen will have
kangaroo skin on their feet during the World Cup.
Australia has the worst wildlife record in the world and
has already exterminated half of all kangaroo species. Biologist
and wildlife lecturer, David Croft (University of NSW) has
condemned the shoot as has TV performer, Steve Crocodile
Dundee Irwin. Wildlife vet, Dr. John Auty, monitored
the kangaroo population around the army base for four days
and said: Most appeared to be in good body condition
and population density was a little over two per hectare on
the 46,000 hectare base. That is normal density and poses
British activist Juliet Gellatley - of the animal group Viva!,
which persuaded all 1,500 UK supermarkets to ditch kangaroo
meat - has twice visited Australia in recent months to co-ordinate
resistance to commercial kangaroo killing. This years
quota stands at seven million animals. She said: It
is now open season to profit from Australias national
symbol when all the latest science shows there is no justification
for it. Kangaroo killing has been sustained by myths and greed
and now seriously threatens the long-term survival of the
target species. We in Europe are playing a part in this destruction
by providing a market for the products made from kangaroos.
The cruelty involved is horrendous, which is why the Defence
Department has refused to allow anyone to monitor this slaughter.
Viva! has a dedicated website - www.savethekangaroo.com
- and is co-ordinating global resistance to Australias
wildlife massacre by targeting users of kangaroo products
and consumers. When the new football season begins, it will
target sports shoe manufactures and high street shops with
the slogans - Kick the hooligans out of football!
and Help end football violence - stop killing kangaroos.
Humans management of wildlife has
been a disaster, whether fish, whales, tigers, elephants or
rhinos. The same decline threatens kangaroos because the kill
is perpetuated on lies and self interest. Will we ever learn?
concludes Ms Gellatley.
For more information, stills or video footage of kangaroo
killing or Viva!s 40-page report, contact Juliet Gellatley
or Tony Wardle on 0117 944 1000.