Association for Respectful Co-Habitation
Promoting and Practising Kindness and Respect for All Animals and the Natural Environment
ABSENCE OF CAUSAL EVIDENCE OF THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF KANGAROOS ON THREATENED SPECIES AND THE ECOSYSTEM AS A WHOLE
The claim that kangaroos negatively impact threatened species as advertised by the ACT Government in previous years is not evidence-substantiated. During the 2013 hearing even Dr Fletcher conceded that such claims served purely PR purposes.
Neither is there evidence for any correlation between biomass and biodiversity as reflected in the ACT Government’s position that the presumed “overgrazing” by kangaroos is currently posing a serious threat to the biodiversity on the reserves. Herbivores’ interrelations with their environments are complex, and a primary herbivore plays a significant role in the balancing of the ecosystem (including biomass reduction), which benefits the ecosystem as a whole and the various species constituting it. In the case of kangaroos, this native species has performed such function for millions of years, and of the thousands of consulted studies and recovery plans for various threatened animal and plant species across Australia, not a single one lists kangaroos as a threat, let alone a major threat. Such view seems to be held uniquely by the ACT Government based on no clear evidence. Importantly, the ACT Government and Dr Fletcher admit the absence of evidence and the need for more research, yet the killings continue.
Paradoxically, the ACT Government does recognise the need for biomass reduction. To compensate for the deficit in grazing pressure following the killing of kangaroos on the reserves, the ACT Government has in the past used “livestock” on designated sites and is determined to continue doing so. This is not only unethical given that kangaroos had to die for eating the vegetation in their own native environment, it also indicates a failure to recognise the wide-spread and scientifically substantiated understanding of the negative impact of animal husbandry on the health of the planet and biodiversity.
Instead of interfering with the kangaroo populations on these sites, given the absence of evidence of their impact, other measures should be undertaken at this stage to enhance the habitat for the species of concern (the introduction of dead wood debris for the benefit of beetle and reptile populations, etc).
 Personal communication with witnesses; see also: http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/kangaroo-killing-canberra.php
 Ray Mjadwesch, personal communication.
 See, for example, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772#.VVcfkZOLVyU