5 February 2023

NSW political party calls for ban on kangaroo culling in flood-affected parts of state

| Oliver Jacques
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Greg Keightley next to a kangaroo

Greg Keightley of the Animal Justice Party wants to put an end to kangaroo shooting. Photo: Supplied.

The NSW Animal Justice Party has called for a temporary ban on the shooting of kangaroos in flood-ravaged regions of the state such as the Riverina, arguing recent heavy rains have depleted the population of the native animal. The minor party, which shares the balance of power in the NSW Upper House, is calling for an immediate moratorium on all culling “until the damage and loss of life from the floods has been established”.

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Animal Justice Party Blue Mountains leader Greg Keightley said: “These are unprecedented floods and we don’t know what the losses are but they’re big. So why would the Government not apply the precautionary principle here? We know why – because they’re committed to keeping the pet food industry’s big mincing machines churning over.”

“The survivors have been forced out of natural bushlands, protected areas and national parks. They’ve managed to escape floodwaters and navigate fencing, but then find themselves in areas where they’re not wanted – on sheep or cattle farms and commercial killing zones.”

Jeremy Crocker, a Coolamon Shire councillor and recreational shooter, said the idea had no merit.

“I certainly wouldn’t support the ban,” he said.

“In the past two to three years, kangaroo numbers have gone through the roof.

“A while ago I was at a property at Barellan and you wouldn’t believe the number of kangaroos, they were like mice.

“There is no reason whatsoever to wind back kangaroo shooting at this point in time.”

An eastern grey kangaroo.

Should kangaroos be out of the firing line? Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The AJP have singled out what they call “the commercial killing zone of Broken Hill”, saying the NSW Government has set a kill quota of 27,000 eastern grey kangaroos even though the population has dropped by a third.

Mr Crocker said things were very different in the Riverina.

“We are already heavily regulated out here,” he said. “It’s very hard to get a permit [to shoot kangaroos] in the Riverina, it’s not the same out west.”

According to the NSW Government’s Wildlife Trade Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest of Kangaroos in New South Wales 2022–26, commercial harvesting “has not adversely impacted [kangaroo] population viability”.

The Victorian Government actually increased the number of kangaroos that can be culled by 30 per cent in early January, arguing there was no evidence recent flooding had significant impacts on the kangaroo population.

This decision angered the Victorian AJP, while their NSW counterparts continue to push for action north of the Murray River.

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“Influenced by the interests of graziers, the [NSW] Government often speaks of kangaroos as a ‘pest’ – but kangaroos are a keystone species in the Australian landscape,” Mr Keightley said.

“They’re ecological engineers, like the wombat. They do a job to keep the country going.

“Wildlife carers are stretched thin and they have no government support. They’ve been put in an untenable situation trying to rescue kangaroos that are stranded, starving, and surrounded by dangerous contaminated water as the flood continues.

“The mortality being seen from floods is worse in some places than the Black Summer bushfires. It’s time for a moratorium. The Government is obligated morally and legally to apply the precautionary principle and suspend the killing.”

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