U.S. Activists Try to Halt an Australian Way of Life: Killing Kangaroos

A bill in Congress aims to ban all kangaroo products in Australia, causing a conflict between two different types of people at opposite ends of the earth.

Surat, Australia – Ian White slowly walked across the red dirt track, past wheat stub and tall grass, where he saw a bunch of white fur on his left near the forest.

It was a warm autumn night in the Australian Outback. He turned on the spotlight sitting atop his truck, finding a kangaroo from 150 yards away.

“Look, it’s a doe,” he said. “I don’t particularly want to shoot a doe.”

There is usually a joe in a doe bag. He and others who hunt kangaroos take this into consideration, Mr. White said, despite claims to the contrary by American activists who are trying to shut down their livelihoods, calling it inhumane.

These critics, he said, simply do not understand how life in the middle of Australia actually works here. Mr. White said, “Kangaroos have been hunted on the continent for thousands of years, and there are still more of them than people.”

He stressed that Australia’s commercial kangaroo industry is not like John Wayne’s Western, with guns blazing. It is a regulated business that works with the government. Hunters must pass a sharpshooting course to ensure a human killing, and kangaroo numbers are closely monitored by state and federal authorities, who set quotas to ensure a permanent population.

Most important, said 58-year-old Mr. White, a third-generation full-time shooter who goes by “whitey”, kangaroos produce healthy meat, strong leather, and jobs that keep small towns full.

“I don’t like killing things,” he said. “I do this only when I want to eat the animal or make money.”

A dozen kangaroos suddenly jumped. Mr. White pulled up and carefully loaded the Sacco .222 rifle resting on his lap.

He exhaled and shot at a young deer standing in the light.

Around the same time that Mr. White began killing kangaroos, activists in the United States began fighting to protect them.

In 1971, California banned the import of kangaroo parts. Three years later, the US Fish and Wildlife Service did the same for three commercially shot kangaroo species – not shared by many Australians, based on concerns about declines in all kangaroo populations.

Australian National University professor George Wilson, who has spent 50 years in wildlife management, told a worried American biologist who arrived in the mid-70s that so many trucks in Australia had metal rods in front of them.

“It’s a case of killing a kangaroo,” he said. “How abundant they are.”

Kangaroo Were removed From the US list of endangered and endangered wildlife in 1995, and California law hung without notice until the mid-2000s, when a vegetarian activist group sued Adidas for selling soccer shoes that included imported kangaroo skins. Was used.

In 2006, English soccer player David Beckham stopped wearing Adidas shoes (called hunters) after watching videos of an active group killing a doe and a joe.

Now, the campaign is being revived through collaboration between international activist groups, a California member of the US House of Representatives, and an Australian politician who is the sole elected representative of the Animal Justice Party.

Their goal is to persuade companies, consumers and lawmakers to boycott or ban anything that is often described as the biggest commercial animal slaughter in the world. He argues that the commercial industry should be shut down, especially after a fire in Australia last year that killed possibly several million kangaroos.

“We found out after the fire that we don’t know how many animals survived,” said Mark Pearson, executive director of the Animal Liberation Group in Australia before entering the South Wales Parliament in 2015. Don’t know how many, there should be no one to shoot them. “

Mr. Pearson stated that the current effort gained momentum as before, through a push from the United States. Although many Australians find it strange – local media outlets have repeatedly chased him “Hoping Crazy” American “ – Mr. Pearson stated that he had welcomed a call a few months ago by Wayne Pacelle, a prominent animal rights activist in Bethesda, MD, who asked him for relevant research.

That relationship eventually led to an international campaign, “Kangaroo shoes are not,” Including an online video, a website, and worldwide lobbying efforts.

Mr. Pasele said he had taken a bill that would ban kangaroo imports to California Representative Salud Carbajal, which he described as one of several animal-friendly lawmakers. If the bill is known as Kangaroo Protection Act, Nearby, both leather and meat – which often find their way to pet food – will no longer be allowed. It would cut off a large portion of Australia’s global exports, which are estimated to cost $ 60 million a year, and other countries could follow suit, shrinking the industry or forcing it to bend.

“We think it will reduce overall killing,” said Mr. Paikle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy. “You wouldn’t have this energy to kill if you didn’t have a market for it.” (In 2018, Mr. Pacelle resigned after 14 years as president of the Humane Society of the United States, one of the most powerful animal welfare groups in the country, after being accused of sexual harassment – a vehement accusation of allegations Refute.)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, considered by many to be the most high-profile animal rights group in America, praised the “Kangaroo Are Not Shoes” campaign. It said in a statement, “Any move to prevent kangaroos from being shot, their happiness from their dead mother’s pouches and their head being crushed – which kangaroo killers do – is a good move.”

That night, Mr. White’s first shot hit Kangaroo right above the eye. He went to the grass and picked up the dead animal, wrapped it on his shoulders and carried it back to his truck, predicting that it would weigh 18 kilograms or about 39 pounds.

He wore yellow rubber gloves and ate the kangaroo like a butcher. He weighed his catch at 17.94 kg, earning him around $ 18.

He took off his gloves.

“No illness, but I got all my younger grandchildren,” he said. “If you don’t wear gloves, small bits of blood fall under your fingernails, and you can never remove it.”

In a place like Surat, it can be difficult to draw the line between cruelty and compassion. The city has a population of 407, which means a grocery store, a pub and a school. It sits a few hundred miles west of Brisbane in the heart of the grass of the cattle and kangaroo country. People talk of shooting kangaroos for money, with the nuances of a rural village where loving and killing animals are both indispensable parts of life – sunrise and sunset.

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