Kangaroos - The 100 Days Project: Day 2
Night After Night
It didn’t take long before we spotted a group of around a dozen roos. But there was just one problem, the kangaroos were on the passenger’s side (my side) of the truck. Steve climbed onto the back of the truck and used a sandbag to steady his rifle on the roof. Pointing the spotlight directly at the mob, the kangaroos all stood upright, dazzled by the light. My gaze was aimed directly at the kangaroo standing at the end of the beam of light. I felt a horrible, weird anticipation as I waited for the inevitable sound and result that would shortly follow. CRACK!! The distinctive, piercing sound of a rifle shot finally broke the silence. I heard a thud immediately after the shot, as the bullet entered the roo, and it slumped down, hitting the ground without a struggle. Steve repeated this process three times within the space of just one minute and all three were kill shots.
– David Gray, ‘A Necessary Evil – The Kangaroo Cull’
Night after night, in all parts of Australia where they are still to be found, kangaroos are being slaughtered as they graze. The state governments come up with annual population estimates of their larger species – typically these are Red Kangaroos, Eastern Greys, Western Greys, and Wallaroos (or Euros) – and suggest a ‘harvest’ quota for approval. The tally of the harvest quotas for 2015 for New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, for example, was 7,834,178, of which, according to official records, 1,632,098 were actually killed. Divide this figure by 365 and you have 4,471 kangaroos being ‘harvested’ every night of the year. Add to this number those being killed nightly on our highways, and those being privately culled by landholders who see them as eating grass their sheep and cattle might graze, and the number, already staggering becomes astronomical. Australia’s cull of its national icon is seen internationally as the world’s greatest annual wildlife slaughter. We know Australians love to hold world records, but this?
The luckiest ’roos receive a bullet directly to the head and die instantly, but not all are so fortunate. It’s hard to get much information about the many females shot accidentally, but the circumstances – the night, bright light, the distance, the split seconds in which to focus and fire – ensure that there will be many. It’s likely that, like those killed on the roads, their bodies will stay where they fall, very near those of any joeys they might be carrying.
From Dr Howard Ralph’s forensic report on a young Eastern Grey kangaroo, 15 June 2012:
The above series of lesions indicates that the kangaroo was first shot, then bludgeoned on the head and then stabbed in the neck. The evidence is consistent with the kangaroo being alive until finally being exsanguinated and asphyxiated by a laceration to the throat. The kangaroo very likely suffered severe pain and distress for some time during this progressive attack, until the fatal exsanguination and asphyxiation.
Those – males – meeting the harvest criteria are ‘dressed’ in the field, which is to say disembowelled, their heads, paws and tails cut off and left where they lie. The carcases, commonly suspended on the back of a ute, are then taken – often this is a journey of one hundred kilometres or more (think dust, the possibility of hot nights, flies, contamination) – to ‘chiller boxes’, to be logged in and await collection for transportation to plants where their meat, their skins will be processed, to be canned as pet food, packaged for gourmet consumption, worn (yes, the skins, did you know?) on the feet of the world’s athletes.
Source: Animals Australia
Kangaroos are in plague proportions, we are told; the kangaroo industry is sustainable, we are told; we are told that this is for the good of the environment; we are told they are eating our sheep and cattle out of house and home; we are told that this is the only/most humane solution to a most difficult problem…
And those who speak up against these things are threatened with prosecution.