25 May 2004; immediate use
Oz to Attract Tourists – With Dead Kangaroos
Australia has launched its biggest ever push for visitors with
a $360 million (Aus) promotional campaign. Seeing mobs of kangaroos
in the wild is a must for most visitors but the chances of them
achieveing this are diminishing by the day. “Many
an outback tourist will lament that of the few kangaroos they saw,
were roadkills”, says Dr David Croft, University of NSW.
The problems stem from the country’s commercialisation of
wildlife which this year will see 4.4 million adult kangaroos slaughtered
for meat and leather, with sports multinational Adidas being the
biggest purchaser of the latter. Hundreds of thousands of baby ‘joeys’ – considered
useless byproducts – will also be killed by the officially
recommended method of being bludgeoned with iron pipes or decapitated.
A report leaked to the Australian press reveals that the
Government now admits the annual slaughter
is unsustainable as there are no
longer enough kangaroos to satisfy the commercial demands. The
problem is exacerbated by a recent severe drought which has led
to an unprecedented collapse in kangaroo numbers. Despite this,
the Government has refused to end or even significantly reduce
the commercial death toll in what is the biggest massacre of land
animals on the planet.
Campaign group Viva! has consistently warned that this catastrophe
for kangaroos was inevitable. It now appears that it is also catastrophic
for Australia’s embryonic safari tourism, which is likely
to be killed off before it even gets started. Earnings from tourism
are already worth $70 billion and many in Australia believe that
promoting ecotourism could swell this figure hugely. It compares
with just $200 million earned from killing kangaroos.
Viva! campaigner, Justin Kerswell, says: “It’s something
of a sick joke that a kangaroo logo is being used to attract tourists
to Australia. If the Government continues with its policy of mass
slaughter, it might as well replace its national emblem with a
“Each of these magnificent, gentle and unique creatures
is worth just a few dollars dead. The pitiful earnings of the industry
as a whole show that foreign currency earnings are not the reason
for sustaining the slaughter and there are other considerations
at work. It is mostly about providing low incomes to unsustainable
rural communities in return for votes. Kangaroos are dying to keep
politicians in employment. Given the choice, I know which most
people would rather have!
“For anyone planning to travel to Australia, Viva!
would urge them to contact the Australian Tourist Commission
about the barbaric destruction of the unique wildlife that distinguishes
this extraordinary country.”
For further information on Viva!’s campaign to stop the
kangaroo killing, go to
www.savethekangaroo.com or call 0117 944 1000.
8 York Court
T: 0117 944 1000 F:0117 924 4646 E: firstname.lastname@example.org