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Kangaroo cull triggers 'macabre' protest plan

Protesters say they will actively dig up burial pits on Kangaroo cull sites.

Protesters say they will actively dig up burial pits on Kangaroo cull sites. Photo: James Davies

Protesters say they will attempt to dig up burial pits on kangaroo cull sites to expose the true nature of the government-sanctioned killings.

The exhumation of kangaroo carcasses sparked outrage during last year's cull, with the government describing it as illegal and potentially dangerous.

Protesters distributed photographs of dead kangaroos to support allegations of government impropriety.

This year's cull is expected to target 1455 eastern grey kangaroos on seven sites at nature reserves across the ACT. The operation is on hold, with the government promising not to start shooting until after the hearing of a dispute between officials and protesters in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Wednesday. Shooting could begin on Wednesday night at the earliest, should the protesters fail at the tribunal.

But, in a move the government described as ''macabre to say the least'', protesters have pledged to look for and dig up burial pits again this year.

Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman Carolyn Drew said protesters did not like the grim task of digging up the pits, but said it was the only way to show the public what was happening.

''When you say to someone the kangaroos are being killed, the joeys are being killed humanely, like the government's line … it doesn't mean anything to people,'' she said. ''We want to show people the reality.''

She said that wildlife carers who dug up the burial pit last year were still recovering from the experience, which she described as being ''soul destroying''.

The government said its highest priority was making sure the animals were killed safely and humanely. It said it employed sharpshooters and two veterinarians - one independent and the other from the ACT government - to take part in the cull.

Officials have stepped up internal scrutiny on the operation, increasing the ''audited animals'' from a 10 per cent sample to 20 per cent.

Parks and Conservation director Daniel Iglesias said the digging up of animal carcasses was roundly criticised last year.

''What we will be doing is ensuring that we take measures to try and minimise the chance of that happening,'' Mr Iglesias said.

''I can only appeal to them to say please protest if you don't agree with what we're doing, but do it in a peaceful way.''

The issue will be back before the tribunal on Wednesday, when Animal Liberation ACT and the Australian Society for Kangaroos will argue they have the right to apply to temporarily suspend the culls. Once that barrier is overcome, the protesters need to apply for interim orders to suspend the government's seven kangaroo cull licences.

That may, as it did in 2009, further delay the culls but would not mean they were stopped permanently.

Mr Iglesias reminded the protesters that the reserves were closed to protect people's safety.

34 comments

  • I still have comments pending from the debate started by this reporting last week that cast doubt on the conservationist credentials of these protestors. Seems there is now no need to publish them as they are behaving exactly the same way as last year.

    My concern remains the conservation areas around Mulligan's Flat and my hope is that the betong cages remain secure this year. The being undertaken in that area is true conservation but doesn't grab the headlines in a "shock and awe" fashion.

    Commenter
    Outraged of Palmerston
    Date and time
    June 11, 2013, 6:41AM
    • The comments made in the article are from protesters who had nothing to do with the Mulligan's Flat debacle from last year. The whole incident was misreported and blown out of proportion... at no point were bettongs or any other species in danger. Animal activists would not endanger one species to protect another!

      Commenter
      iDon'teatanimals
      Date and time
      June 11, 2013, 8:37AM
    • Selective memory? The predator proof fence had a hole large enough to allow cat/fox into the reserve. You can argue that the rent-a-crowd cut the fence, or some other group, but you can't deny the impact of a predator through the fence would have.

      Commenter
      Dregs
      Date and time
      June 11, 2013, 9:15AM
    • to i donteat animals
      you say at no point were bettongs in danger. I'm sorry but that is completely wrong,

      Cutting holes at ground level in a fence designed to keep predators (cats/foxes) out of an area where they had previously been eradicated puts at risk all the critters that are at risk or fox predation that are living within that area.

      Bettongs are extinct on the mainland, with the largest factor of that extinction being that they are ideal fox tucker. One fox inside the exclosure and it could've easily wiped out the bettongs.

      Putting at risk a species that is gone from much of its natural range in a misguided attempt to protest against a relatively insignificant cull (comparted to what is shot acrcoss thge country each night) of the most abundant wild herbivore in this part of Australia is sheer animal libber nutjobbery!!!

      Commenter
      Big Ears
      Date and time
      June 11, 2013, 9:31AM
    • @Outraged of Palmerston, you are dead right. The Mulligan's Flat work is very important. These simpletons out on a whim to save the planet are too stupid to understand the ramifications of their actions. Only a moron would jepordise the survival of one species to save another that is so plentiful and in need of culling.

      Commenter
      RamRod - ACT
      Date and time
      June 11, 2013, 4:28PM
  • Like most of Canberra, I am well informed but somewhat ambivalent about the cull: it seems necessary and legal. I am well versed about the protests: life will always have people that want to stand for animal's rights, feral, domestic or whatever. The legal system will have the final say and that should be that. But threatening to do such a vile act to "bring attention" to your cause (after losing the fight in court) is cowardly and the utterly spiteful act of a sore loser. I find I am no longer ambivalent. If the protesters actually follow through with this vile, inhumane and appalling act of disrespect, blatantly exploiting that which they claim to uphold, I'll regard them as barely human themselves.

    Commenter
    Third Protest
    Date and time
    June 11, 2013, 6:53AM
    • Are you serious, Third Protest? Are you truly saying that the people who seek to expose the cruelty, the lies behind the 'humane slaughter claims', are inhumane while those who carry out the cruel, sloppy killing of healthy, sentient animals are the good guys??

      Commenter
      MOS
      Date and time
      June 12, 2013, 11:24AM
  • Media spin at the time, the people in charge of the project were devasted that such vandalism would occur in the first instance. And the activists made little attempt to hide their support/endorsement of the act.

    Commenter
    Outraged of Palmerston
    Date and time
    June 11, 2013, 9:20AM
    • .............just when you thought these animal libber nuts couldn't get any nuttier

      Commenter
      Nigel
      Date and time
      June 11, 2013, 9:20AM
      • ................... just when we thought those in power couldn't be more uneducated and extreme.

        Commenter
        Pamela
        Location
        Sunshine Coast, Qld.
        Date and time
        June 12, 2013, 12:42PM

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