Australia Orders "Final Solution" on Kangaroos
An Animal Rights Article from


Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
January 2008

What does the slaughter of kangaroos by the government of Australia have to do with whales?

Everything actually.

Only six months ago, so many of us were elated to see the government of Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett elected to the Parliament of Australia.

A great many Australians voted Labor because of the promise to take a strong stand against illegal Japanese whaling. Unfortunately the strong anti-whaling stand got wimpified pretty darn fast and has now been reduced to posturing and posing.

Ahh politicians – the incredible jellyfish that walk like men with promises spewing from their sleazy lips up until the moment that they get elected and then it’s – "up yours suckers, and thanks for the votes."

That’s when they begin to dance to the tune of their real masters, the banks and the corporations. And if not making good on their campaign promise to protect the whales is not bad enough, the Australian government is now handing the Japanese whalers a public relations gift in the form of a kangaroo slaughter.

Not that the Japanese care much for kangaroos – they don’t. But they can smell out hypocrisy, and for the Australian government to be slaughtering defenseless kangaroos while condemning Japanese whaling is to be blunt – hypocritical.

Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett obviously is no longer worried about burning beds and is defending the slaughter by saying the kangaroo cull is based on “sound scientific management principles.”

That sounds vaguely familiar. Ah yes, I remember now. According to the Japanese Cetacean Research Institute the slaughter of the whales is based on “sound scientific management principles.”

Like Japan, Australia has not produced any scientific evidence backing their position that culling kangaroos is necessary. Indigenous animals are not a threat to the environment. Sheep and cows on the other hand are destructive meadow maggots and land lice, but there is no culling programs for them. Instead the national symbol of the nation is on death row in what is the largest slaughter of a terrestrial wild land animal on the planet.

Peter Garrett himself quite rightly pointed out that the slaughter of the whales is barbaric and cruel and was especially upset about the image of a whale mother and calf being hauled up the slipway of the Japanese factory ship the Nisshin Maru. Yet the slaughter of the kangaroos is horrifically cruel and joeys are bashed to death with a metal pipe or decapitated.

The Japanese media pounced on the Australian government endorsed kangaroo massacre like pesky Victorian flies on pedestrians with images and stories “exposing” the hypocrisy of Australia. And it’s not a fair accusation because most Australians oppose the killing of the kangaroos.

As for Peter Garrett, his political ambitions have blinded him to the cruelty endorsed by his own government policies while he pontificates about barbaric Japanese whaling operations. It’s bad enough that millions of kangaroos are slaughtered across the nation but this week it is the Australian government killing 400 kangaroos simply because they are on Department of Defense land. The kangaroos could be moved but the government rejected that idea preferring to reject kindness for hypocrisy.

In February when I was on the Steve Irwin down in the Australian Whale Sanctuary a reporter for Asahi News in Japan called me on the Sat phone to say, “Why are you against eating whale when you eat kangaroo every day.”

After pointing out that my ship is a vegan vessel I said that not only did we not eat kangaroos, I had never met an Australian that had eaten one. I know that Greenpeace Australia has been advocating a kill of three million kangaroo every year to reduce beef consumption but Australians don’t seem very wild about the idea.

But the bottom line is that if the Australian government is going to at least be giving lip service to opposing the slaughter of the whales, you would think they would stop being the billy calling the wok black.

The Australian government endorsed slaughter of kangaroos on public land is cruel, scientifically unjustified and down right hypocritical.

And Rudd and Garrett should know better.

Background Info:

  • The Code of Practice permitting killing joeys is extremely cruel. In-pouch joeys are decapitated or bashed to death with a metal pipe. At foot joeys run away to die of starvation, predation or hypothermia.
  • The slaughter of kangaroos is the largest slaughter of terrestrial wildlife on the planet (quota for 2008 is 3.7 million).
    Promoting eco-tourism around kangaroos would be more profitable than killing them.
  • Humans and livestock are far more of a threat to species than kangaroos which have lived here in harmony with the land for the last 16 million years and in fact help regenerate grasslands.
  • That kangaroos are in plague proportions is a myth as they have been decimated 90% since the arrival of the white man 200 yrs ago
  • Up to 70% of kangaroos killed by the Kangaroo Industry are female. Killing more than 50% females is unsustainable.

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