22 July 2004; immediate use
Massacres its National Symbol on the Capital’s
Campaigning animal welfare group Viva! has condemned
the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government’s decision to shoot up
to a thousand kangaroos at the Googong Dam wildlife reserve, outside
the nation’s capital Canberra, as barbaric, unnecessary and
A logo featuring the iconic kangaroo fronted Australia’s
recently launched push for visitors with a $360 million (Aus) promotional
The shooting was ordered after fears that water at the dam may
become contaminated by the kangaroos, which have been forced to
seek new water supplies after a crippling drought. Commercial shooters,
with a government-issued permit, began the cull Sunday at night,
when kangaroos are most active, and have already killed around
100 kangaroos with the carcasses likely to be processed for pet
The shooters have been instructed to shoot female kangaroos in
order to reduce the population. At this time of year female kangaroos
have a baby in their pouch - so for each female killed a ‘joey’ is
also killed. Joeys are killed either by decapitation or by being
bludgeoned to death.
Australian animal rights protestors have held protests at Googong
Dam, and are at present acting as human shields in an effort to
disrupt the killing. Welfare groups have suggested alternative
methods to protect the water supply, such as fencing off the dam,
but these have been dismissed by authorities. The ACT Government
has also been accused of stalling on an offer by a local wildlife
rescue organisation to relocate up to 60 orphaned joeys.
Animal Liberation ACT is planning to bring the carcass of a joey
which it claims was bashed to death at Googong to the office of
ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope today.
Viva! campaigner, Justin Kerswell, says: “The tragic events
at Googong Dam are sadly indicative of Australia’s appetite
for destruction as far as its native wildlife goes. Each year millions
of adult kangaroos are shot in the outback for their meat and skins
in the largest wildlife massacre in the world today. The only difference
here is that the slaughter is happening on Canberra’s doorstep,
in full view of the world’s media.
“Even then, it is incredible that the Australian Government
seems to hold its national icon in such contempt that they will
allow the massacre of these gentle marsupials and their babies
in a wildlife refuge. The brutal deaths of these joeys are as sickening
as the clubbing of baby seals in Canada - and just as indefensible.
Unbelievably, Australia promotes itself using the image of a kangaroo – whilst
in the ultimate betrayal clubbing and blasting them off the face
of the earth.”
Notes for Editors: Images of kangaroos and kangaroo shooting are
available from Viva!.
Contact: Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000