Latest Letters in Support of Animals

Compiled by Tracey Lofthouse

COWS INSTEAD OF ROOS
The ACT government has some explaining to do. An annual kangaroo kill takes place on the basis these animals allegedly overgraze and damage the ecosystems that support threatened species. At Gungaderra Nature Reserve, where the kangaroo cull takes place, cows have deliberately been introduced “to reduce plant material and improve habitat for threatened species”.  -Chris Doyle, Gordon
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/princely-sum-wasted-20151117-gl185u.html#ixzz3sHB9Oqg4

SUFFERING SHAMEFUL
Once again,   thousands of Australian animals have been subjected to extreme cruelty in the Middle East. Why  are exporters who are blatantly breaking export laws not being held to account?

It is a shameful society that allows such avoidable suffering to continue. Effective and permanent changes to the live export industry are needed immediately.  –  Lesley Wallington, Yarralumla

Animal cruelty
I attended the rally in Canberra on Saturday protesting against the appallingly cruel live export of animals from Australia based on dubious economic premises. Apparently, no more than 7per cent of the animals produced for meat by Australian farmers are sent for live export. Yet, the federal government insists in encouraging this trade, rather than improving the viability of the far less cruel export meat trade, where animals are killed in Australia.

However, I think the issue that astonished me most arising from the speaker’s presentations at the rally was the government’s inaction in the face of some live-export companies’ blatant disregard for our laws.

Despite the government’s assurances, it is obviously impossible to monitor treatment of all Australian animals sent overseas for slaughter. And, despite threats to do so, it appears an equally impossible step for the government is to take to court live-export companies that ship to countries that do not comply with Australia’s standards for treatment of animals. This inaction continues, even with calls by some in the industry for the government to enforce its live-animal export regulations.

As one speaker put it, minister Barnaby Joyce said no one is above the law when he challenged film star Johnny Depp bringing his dogs into Australia outside customs rules. How then is it that when it comes to the cruel live exports of Australian animals, the companies concerned that flagrantly disregard existing Australian laws are not penalised?

Turning a blind eye to this blatant law breaking seems to boil down to the major political parties’ primary motivation apparently being not to disrupt powerful interests.

What I call team LIBOR – Liberals and Labor – less and less represent the interests of ordinary community members in favour of powerful lobby groups.  –  Geoff Pryor, Kambah

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/tram-research-flawed-20151020-gke0rf.html#ixzz3rKt3gZR9
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/use-a-strategy-that-gets-results-to-tackle-radicalisation-20151016-gkbbf3.html#ixzz3rKnc9ZKt

Sharks not baddies
Sharks are not the villains the media are making them. How ridiculous that people go into the water knowing there could be sharks where they are supposed to be. This is typical of the arrogance of man. If you do not want to encounter sharks, stay out of the areas where they are.  – Julie Gray, Burra, NSW

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/more-buses-more-often-20151111-gkwl51.html#ixzz3rFv9yNLv

28 Dec
Scant ham no calamity
I read with some bemusement the complaints of shoppers over the big Coles and Woolworths Christmas letdown (“Coles and Woolworths slammed for Christmas supply shortage”, December 24).

While a variety of foodstuffs were in short supply, it seems it was the lack of Christmas ham that aroused the most ire. Apparently, it isn’t Christmas without a succulent ham.

Does it not seem that Christmas cheer and goodwill are in short supply when an animal that suffers is killed for nothing more than to save someone’s Christmas lunch from the disaster of “no ham”?

About 5 million pigs are slaughtered every year in Australia, and more than 90 per cent of these pigs are factory farmed with all the horror that entails, yet the best we can do is collectively moan that more pigs weren’t killed for Christmas.

Our pork industry promotes the consumption of pigs and desensitises us to their suffering with the trite “Get some pork on your fork” advertising slogan.

I say instead, “Let your pork walk”.  – Graeme McElligott, Isabella Plains

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/leases- used-for-profit-20151228- glvuzk.html#ixzz3wKjwCKX7

26 Dec
Cruel consumerism
Mike O’Shaughnessy’s letter (“The cruelties of meat”, December 20) reflects upon a remarkable schism in societal attitudes to one of the biggest issues in animal welfare in modern Australia.

While many argue that we evolved to eat meat, the truth is that our behaviour is anything but natural. Sadly, almost no one needs to eat meat in Australia today. We do it because we like it.

Eating is a major entertainment with untold millions of dollars spent pursuing gustatory pleasures. And in the process we have industrialised livestock farming and slaughter.

As a result, huge numbers of animals no different from our family pets suffer awfully for a moment’s enjoyment. As Mike observes, people will exclaim in horror at the ill treatment of a dog, yet turn not a hair at the awful fate of the pig who provided the pork on their plate. It is to our shame that in this particular part of our moral and ethical frameworks we have progressed not at all as a thoughtful and caring society.  – Graeme McElligott, Isabella Plains

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/ renewables-wont-stack-up- 20151226-glv6nq.html# ixzz3wFFTSlhN

19 Dec
The cruelties of meat
It’s easy to take a narrow view of animal abuse (“Increase in animal cruelty cases a concern for the territory”, Editorial, December 13) while the majority of us continue to abuse millions of animals every year for unnecessary foods.

It’s no more cruel to dump kittens in a bin than it is to dump millions of baby male chicks in a bin to be gassed because they have no value to the egg industry. And they are possibly the lucky ones, the others are minced alive.

The burning of a dog is horrendous, as is the burning of pigs’ lungs and eyes by the CO2 bath used to stun them prior to slaughter. And as was shown recently in Victoria, some of those five million pigs killed each year for food also get tortured with electric prods on their way to slaughter.

Via the dairy industry, we separate newborn calves from their mothers so we can continue to take mum’s milk for ourselves. The calves are often slaughtered as they have little commercial value.

Our continued delusion that we need eggs, meat and dairy in our diets means that millions of animals suffer and die needlessly every year. The fact that so many animals have been seized, surrendered or rescued due to mistreatment by others is a concern, but I suggest we examine our own records first. -Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence

SMH letters November

Defending animal rights deserves applause
I agree with Paul Sheehan in his condemnation of factory farming in Australia (“Forget cancer: the worst thing about bacon is it used to be a pig”, October 29). It’s so easy to look at neatly packed meat in a supermarket and remain ignorant of the appalling conditions in which animals live and die. Our society is really only on the brink of awareness of the needs and rights of animals. I salute those brave and strong enough to fight for them. – Julie Aysom Casula

It is wonderful to see Paul Sheehan has taken up the battle for animal welfare where the venerable Sam de Brito left off. I became a vegetarian when those “ag-gag” laws were introduced. If I eat meat, I want to know it is produced humanely. The ag-gag laws are conclusive proof that the meat industry has something awful to hide.   – Nazife Bashar Marrickville

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-letters/keeping-control-of-uranium-resources-sensible-20151029-gkljon.html#ixzz3sSwwFRX0
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/forget-cancer-the-worst-thing-about-bacon-is-that-it-used-to-be-a-pig-20151028-gkkv5q.html

Vegans’ options broaden after lobbying
So after intense lobbying, vegans will now be able to enjoy a Guinness (“Stout campaign gets to the guts of the matter”, November 6). They can now happily go to the football or cricket and have an ale and a pie knowing that neither have any animal content at all.  –  Peter Miniutti Ashbury

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-letters/fair-claim-poorly-thought-out-20151106-gksdwj.html#ixzz3swKT21ZR

Letters in support of wildlife

Found by Tracey Lofthouse

Don’t feed magpies:  News travels slowly to us southerners. But as a former Canberran I was sad to learn that magpies are being trapped and killed at Gungahlin. The aggressive birds had grown used to getting food from humans. Now, after the cull, what have the authorities done to stop people from feeding the birds and perpetuating the problem? It seems warning signs alone are ineffective. How about making it an offence to feed magpies, at least in the problem locality? Patrol the area, impose serious fines, and publicise the results.
The alternative is to encourage more irresponsible behaviour, and make innocent birds suffer. Canberra needs tourists and its natural environment is a drawcard.
Don’t poison your image by killing native birds!  –  Mary Wilkinson, Surrey Hills, Vic
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/csiro- and-abc-are-pillars-of-our- society-that-need-

How to escape when a magpie attacks you:   It’s magpie swooping season again. There are many suggestions on how to deal with this. But as someone who walks in the bush and cycles regularly, I find the best solution is to wear a hat/helmet and wraparound sunglasses and then ignore the magpies. If a magpie dives, don’t look around, alter speed or acknowledge its existence. Amazing how they cease to be scary when one does this; even those like the very persistent one that dived me closely, often past my face, a dozen or so times as I cycled towards Queanbeyan, or the one that thumped hard into my helmet near Albert Hall.
None of them were scary, because I wore a bicycle helmet and wraparound glasses. If walking, wear a wide-brimmed sunhat, which works too. The magpie will eventually go away. I find the magpie will stop diving sooner if you don’t acknowledge it. I have on occasions turned around to look after they have stopped diving, and seeing me look, the magpie has begun attacking again. No, pretend you haven’t noticed them. –  Julie Macklin, Narrabundah
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/sprawl- threatens-ginninderra-falls- 20150917-gjpase.html# ixzz3oh4Q6dfi

CRIME AGAINST LIFE:  Why is the government’s first response to inconvenient wildlife that of killing the “offenders”? The latest being magpies. This is a crime against life. Who can protect them from the vested interests of lawmakers? – H. Leigh, Farrer

Hunting wildlife for trophies an abhorrent business:  Anyone with even a modicum of concern for the future of the world’s wildlife will feel both anguish and sadness at the recent killing of a well-known nature park lion in Zimbabwe. The 13-year-old lion, known as Cecil, was a tourist favourite in Hwange National Park, but was lured out of the park so a hunter could shoot the beast with a crossbow. The wounded lion didn’t die until 40 hours later, when the hunters tracked him down and shot him with a rifle. They then skinned him and cut off his head.
The hunter, an American dentist, had reportedly paid $US50,000 for permission to hunt outside the park. Attractive as such income must be to the authorities, surely it is time to end this cruel activity; or does it finish when there are no more lions left to kill?  –  John Sever, Higgins
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/hunting- wildlife-for-trophies-an- abhorrent-business-20150731- gip46c.html#ixzz3j2YBQ1D6

Stop the cull:  The ACT government has trapped another magpie, this time in Dunlop. They received a complaint the magpie was swooping. Now, no doubt, the magpie is dead. And the babies he was protecting will, no doubt, also die. The newly created hotline to report so-called aggressive magpies is now doing what was feared, encouraging people to complain instead of learning to live with the wildlife. The ACT government has simply succeeded in making more people fearful.
It used to be that most Canberrans were prepared to live with wildlife in the so-called bush capital. Now, instead, like the government, they prefer to see the animals dead.  – Carolyn Drew, Page
From: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/canberra-times-cq-letters-template-20151002-gk06i9#ixzz3nn2j3Xdj

Cull of magpies is an epic fail for the ACT:  Last Thursday’s magpie cull at Yerrabi Ponds is an epic fail for the Bush Capital (“Magpie cull prompted by theft of food from child’s mouth”, September 5, p3).
The excuse used by ACT Parks and Conservation that they were looking after public safety is laughable. What threat to life and limb does a magpie really present to a human being of any age? Besides frightening people with their flapping wings and there being some risk of a scratch or two being received, what harm can these birds really do to a person?
While Daniel Iglesias, director of ACT Parks and Conservation, claims in an interview with The Canberra Times that if his agency “didn’t act a child could have lost an eye” the actual probability of that happening is in statistical terms non-existent given the number of magpies in Australia and that only one or two such injuries have been reported in the last decade. The cull is a gross overreaction to a minor inconvenience for a few people by a department and a minister more concerned about pandering to a few vocal naturephobes than conversation.
The decision to undertake a cull smacks of bureaucratic overreach.
Since when has an animal’s “pestering” people for food become a crime with a sentence of death attached to it?
The hyperbole used by Daniel Iglesias to describe the magpies in his interview was disturbing.  –  Brad Rogers, Weston

Canberra is fortunate to have so many Australian birds. Are we to destroy all native species that annoy us, keep us awake or make a mess?
If magpies are being a nuisance, it is surely not too much to expect that people use a little sense and move away from them.  –  Alan N.Cowan, Yarralumla
http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/ wobblies-wear-thin-20150907- gjh7mj.html#ixzz3mchIzbdh

Judge and jury:  Here they go again, although this time the ACT government is culling magpies (“Magpie cull prompted by theft of food from child’s mouth”, September 5, p3). In killing these magpies they also threaten the lives of other magpies. Magpie young generally need both parents to help them survive. Magpies have only one clutch a year and it takes at least eight months to incubate and raise them to independence. The parents also depend on others such as older siblings to help raise the young. The killing puts the eggs and young at risk.
Does the government understand the distress they will have caused the mates and other family members? No. But then they don’t care, do they? The animal becomes a mere object to be dispatched. The psychopathy leaves one gasping.
How did they know which magpie was the “criminal” who dared to steal food from a child? I doubt they would know, hence they killed seven of them just in case. How anthropocentric.
They set themselves up as judge and jury and condemn magpies to death for what they consider misbehaviour. They don’t bother to stop, and think the issue through. Oh no, they are all too “trigger” happy and decide killing is the first and only solution.  –  Carolyn Drew, Page

Habitats bulldozed:  The ACT government, quite rightly, is determined to have all cats confined. This decision is also applauded by the Conservation Council. But neither have mentioned the terrible damage done to the ecosystem and the animals that live within it by the building of new suburbs in the first place.

Whole swaths of ecosystem (including pasture lands) are bulldozed and built over. I assure you, this also kills the animals that live within these areas; animals, no doubt in their thousands, such as lizards, snakes, insects, birds who live in the grasses and in the trees, plant life, all destroyed or displaced by development.

Yet no one poses this as a problem. Whilst we insist on our anthropocentric solutions, the natural environment and non-human species that  live within it are under constant threat.   –  Carolyn Drew, Page
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/little-to-be-proud-of-20150119-12thsw.html

PICTURE SAID IT ALL:  The pic that illustrated Meg McKone’s tetchy letter (Horses pose threat) of glorious, free mountain horses, tails and manes flying in the high country winds, said it all. The mountain horses are national icons. Good on you, NSW Member for Monaro John Barilaro for welcoming the announcement to rule out the cruel and unnecessary aerial cull.

The mountain horses are descendants of the tough, handsome “walers” that carried the Anzacs into battle, including at the charge at Beersheba — they are absolutely worthy of our respect, compassion and protection. No frog, in my book, Meg, can match that.  –  Christina Faulk, Swinger Hill

CULL STAND LAUDED:  Meg McKone will be comforted to know there is no evidence to show the wild horses are in danger of killing the Corroboree frogs or destroying the bogs they live in (Comment, December 29).

Evidence does show however that the frogs breed in the pug marks (footprints) the horses leave behind and, in some areas where there are no longer horses, ceramic imitations of the pug marks have been used with limited success.

The immediate threats to the frogs is climate change drying out the bogs and disease, not the horses.

John Barilaro, NSW Member for Monaro, is to be congratulated for taking a stand against animal cruelty.

Aerial culling of any animal, native or not, is a cruel and unnecessary control method and would have had no positive impact on the lives of the Corroboree frog.  – Denise Parr, Anembo
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/a–bastion-for-good-20141231-12g1ql.html

Opposition to hunting:  The hundreds of Eurobodalla Shire residents from all walks of life who have protested in various ways against the Eurobodalla Shire council’s undemocratic decision to allow celebrations of hunting, with sale of guns, in a public building in seaside Narooma, do not not deserve to be called “members of a guerilla group” (The Canberra Times, December 24). On the contrary they represent the many Australians who are opposed to gun proliferation, and the indoctrination of children to think killing animals is “fun”.  –  Susan Cruttenden, Dalmeny
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/no-them-and-us-here-20141227-12efw8.html

Land management:  Oh dear. The pro-culling ACT government will welcome the ANU research on reptiles and native grasslands (“Mobs of ravenous ‘roos eat endangered reptiles”, December12, p6) because it belatedly supports its kangaroo management policy. But to protect lizards, we apparently need grasslands over 20centimetres tall.
Surely, the fire ecologists will then tell us we have created a fire hazard, dangerously close to housing and other developments. We could potentially find ourselves with no kangaroos, no lizards and no grasslands. But, thankfully, there will always be plenty of human beings to make botched decisions on land management.  –  Lynda Graf, Garran

ROOS V REPTILES:  John Thistleton’s article on the proliferation of kangaroos and the subsequent “mowing” of the longer grasslands at the expense of cover for endangered lizards was very interesting (December 12, p6). My attention was drawn to the heading, “Mobs of ‘roos eat endangered reptiles”, which surprised me greatly, as I thought kangaroos were vegetarian.  –  Ian Towill, Fisher
http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/katy- gallaghers-sad-legacy-of-cost- blowouts-20141215-127qav.html

LIVING WITH POSSUMS:  Learn to live with your local possums, Rosemary Matley (Letters, June 11). We’ve built on their land and knocked down many of the trees. Put up a tailor-made box (or two well separated boxes), make sure your roof is sound, protect your vegie garden with a non-rigid plastic border, and enjoy the company of these sweet animals. A tip though; don’t put a nesting box outside your bedroom window.
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/abbott-must-explain-20130613-2o6qa.html

IF THE ANIMALS COULD TALK:  If circus families care for their animals so much (”Youngsters unite in the fun of the circus”, February 13, p3) then why do they use force to control them?

Why not let them roam around? If the animals of the Stardust circus were given a moment of freedom they would not walk into the tent freely and choose to perform these tricks.  –  Carolyn Drew, Page
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/community-can-be-reassured-on-services-at-hospital-20130214-2eg5v.html

NEW STADIUM DEBATE:  Before we can have a debate on the next Canberra Stadium, we need to know in what way the current one will be rendered obsolete in 10 years’ time.

Will parts of it be declared too dangerous for fans to sit in, like St George’s stadium in Sydney? It is reported to be ”dilapidated and crumbling after years of neglect”.

Or are we talking about its ability to host corporate supporters, media and, below the stadium, home and away sporting teams to the standard of our interstate rivals?

There’s a big difference between keeping up with the Joneses and having the roof fall on their heads.

Yuri Shukost, Isabella Plains We’re the worst Bruce Lindenmayer, Michael Mason and Timothy Walsh (Letters, November 29) should get some perspective – the biggest threat to the environment does not come from cats, dogs, pigs, deer, toads, foxes, rabbits and so on, it comes from the biggest feral species of all – us.

How about focusing on the damage we do for once. It’s all too easy to blame other species.

Humans are rarely ever punished for the damage they do to the environment. Indeed, more often they are invited by governments, through corporations, to continue the destruction, which we call development or progress. Once people start focusing on what humans are doing to the environment and start putting a stop to it, then and only then might I have some respect for people who point the finger at other species.   –  Carolyn Drew, Deakin
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/new-battleground-carbon-protectionism-by-western-nations-20111205-1uhyz.html

Deer Killers:  I’m more than a little bemused by Aaron Tucker’s description (Letters, September 1) of deer hunting as a ”legitimate, healthy, outdoor, conservation-based” activity.

Let’s break that down: ”Legitimate” – deer hunting is probably lawful, sadly, but reasonable or justifiable?

Not when you consider deer as sentient animals who value their lives and will certainly suffer when the hunter’s first shot is less than 100per cent accurate.

”Healthy” and ”outdoor” – both would apply to a bush-walk carried out without the violence and killing.

”Conservation-based” – now here’s the cracker.

The Australian Deer Association’s interest in conservation is focused on conserving enough deer for its members to kill.

The association’s website states that it was ”formed specifically to better the deer’s status and to ensure its perpetuity as a free roaming game animal”.

I have to admit a total lack of understanding of anyone who can regard the wanton killing of another being as a legitimate, healthy recreational activity.

Finally, I’d have expected the vice- president of the ACT branch of the association to have identified himself in his self-serving letter – or is that a different Aaron Tucker?  –  Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/deer-killers-20110911-1wquk.html

Letters in support of farmed animals

Found by Tracey Lofthouse

Don’t feed lies to kids:  It’s great to see the next generation showing concern and empathy for animals as Darcy Flanagan did (Letters, August 3). Sadly, though, she has already been fed the fallacy that we need to kill animals “because we need to eat”. Of course we need to eat but we don’t need those foods derived from killing millions of our fellow sentient beings every day (not counting fish). We can thrive and lead healthier lives while avoiding meat, dairy and eggs. We should stop feeding lies to our kids.  –  Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/trams- cost-me-more-20150805-gisedr. html#ixzz3j8frohie

DAIRY BASKED ON ABUSE:  It’s disturbing to see that our kids are being subjected to the brainwashing of Dairy Australia, an industry body who’s stated aim is to “achieve a profitable, sustainable dairy industry” (“Dairy and ‘zen’ combined as colourful cow wanders in school”, (Sunday Canberra Times, August 23).

The dairy industry is based on the abuse, exploitation and killing of animals. Cows, like all female mammals, produce milk for one reason only – to feed their newborn calf.

The cow is artificially inseminated on an apparatus known in the industry as the “rape rack”. After nine months’ gestation the calf is born only to be taken away from his or her mum within 24 hours of birth – to the lingering distress of both mother and calf.

If male, the calf may be killed immediately or some time later for veal or beef. Some females suffer the same fate while others are fed on milk replacer to later join the milking herd. Mum can now be milked and is almost immediately inseminated again – giving birth every 12 months. After a few years of this vicious cycle she is exhausted so is sent off to become hamburger meat. Are our kids going to be taught these facts? Not likely.

Finally, the article states, “National guidelines recommend 3.5 servings of dairy daily for 12- to 18-year-olds, and 2.5 serves for adults”. No they do not. The guidelines recommend dairy “and/or alternatives” and there are many plant-based alternative sources of calcium and the other nutrients found in cow’s milk – without the saturated fat and cholesterol and without the cruel abuse and killing of cows and calves.  – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/dairy-based-on-abuse-20150829-gjas9j.html

FLIPSIDE OF ATTACK:  “Beaches along a 600,000km stretch of the entire Pacific Ocean remain closed while police investigate human attacks that claimed the lives of thousands of whales and dolphins.”
You didn’t read about that? No, I didn’t either.  –  Greg Battye, Bruce
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/corporates-must-pay-fair-share-of-tax-revenue-20150212-13dehg.html

Think outside the herd:  Andrew Hunter (”Love of meat comes at a cost”, Times 2, July 1, p4) gets it partly right: the production of meat comes at awful costs to the animals used and also inflicts a high price on our health and our environment. But he is wrong in two respects – there is no such thing as humanely killed animals, and his focus on meat production ignores the suffering and deaths of egg and milk production. The vast majority of ”free-range” pigs and chickens end up side-by-side with their ”factory-farmed” brothers and sisters in the abattoir. They are killed in exactly the same violent way. And even if those animals were killed in the most gentle and considerate manner, we would still be taking their most precious possession, their lives.

No matter what label is on the cartons of those unnecessary eggs, all layers will be killed at about 18 months of age when their productivity dips. In order for a cow to lactate she has to have given birth. She is forced to do so every year until worn out after three to five cycles. The only way to get her milk is for the calf to be taken from her in the first few days of life. Males and some females become veal while other females are fed artificially then added to the milking herd.

We don’t need any of these animal foods and simply can’t justify using these sentient animals as machines. All animal farming is a ”spectacle of unexplained horrors”.  –  Mike O’Shaughnessy
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/pall-over-highrise-plan-20130702-2p9uz.html

Letter:  Michael Evans (”No sacred cows: let me eat whale for dinner”, July 13), while pretending he wants to try a whale burger, actually shows why we should all stop eating animal products.

He admits to being ”appalled at footage of how we slaughter cows, pigs and chickens for human consumption”. He points out the inconsistency of being squeamish about eating some animals while slaughtering others.

He also says that the breeding, growing and slaughter of animals is ”arguably a questionable use of limited resources”. He says the ”only truly logical argument appears to be not to eat or even domesticate any animal”.

He’s right. He asks how realistic that may be but for me and millions of others it’s our daily routine. Moreover, our choice of a plant-based diet now has the blessing of the National Health and Medical Research Council along with health bodies in other countries as a perfectly viable, healthy option.

Evans can join us and as the number of vegans increases, the numbers of animals bred and slaughtered will decrease. – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/cull-is-more-humane-20130715-2q0cl.html

RSPCA STRAYS OFF COURSE:  Sadly, it’s an indication of how far the RSPCA has strayed from its mission, ”To prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection” when it can run a Christmas promotion featuring the sliced, seared body of a turkey. It has become the Royal Society for the Promotion of Cooked Animals. – Mike O’Shaughnessy
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/endorsement-for-low-esteem-in-which-media-are-held-20121210-2b5wz.html

Parkwood prison:  The conversion of the Parkwood site (”Battery egg farm will go cage-free”, July 5, p4) will mean nothing in terms of improved animal welfare. Pace could well build a new barn facility which will imprison even more hens than were ever in the cages and they are likely to be crammed inside just as tightly – 15 birds a square metre is standard and even the RSPCA allows nine a square metre. Eggs are totally unnecessary in our diet and all egg production is inhumane.

I’m certainly not happy that my rates are going to the construction of a new Parkwood prison. – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/ban-1080-baits-20120705-21kbf.html

Egg farm attack:  The question ”whether the ends justify the means” (”Egg attack wrong”, Editorial, March 15, p16) can only elicit a subjective answer. Breaking property is against the law, but the law is not always right. The law, in this case, condones and protects the right of the egg producer to commit torture on animals that feel pain and misery just as we do. And that is wrong. Parkwood Egg Farm has a history of continuing to torture animals, regardless of public opinion or those concerned with animal welfare. Contrary to the claim that governments are receptive to voter opinion, governments are only receptive to industry opinion.

While governments and the law refuse to recognise and act on this torture in our neighbourhood, people like the ”Blackbird” will continue to take direct action such as this.

If the system refuses to listen to what is being said, what else can the system expect but for those voices to grow louder and more insistent and, if still not given the genuine reception they deserve, to then strike at the heart of what is causing the suffering for themselves.

It might not necessarily be the ”right” thing to do (according to social norms) but it may be the only thing left that can be done if the system won’t bend even a little on issues such as these.  –  Carolyn Drew, Deakin
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/minister-and-military-supported-in-defence-stoush-20120319-1vfpe.html

Pace’s egg farm:  You have to wonder why Katy Gallagher defends the value of the Pace egg factory to the ACT. Pace employs about 14 people, pays a pittance ($486 pa) for its lease on 41 hectares, creates a stink, looks awful and is ethically repugnant. Some industry!  – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/residential-towers-will-not-create-quality-public-realm-20120316-1vb1q.html

TURKEY CRUELTY:  Once again we endured the United States presidential pardoning of a turkey that would otherwise be used for a Thanksgiving table. This stunt simply involves the implicit validation of the annual US slaughter of 46 million turkeys. Similarly, millions of turkeys in Australia will be killed as a result of the traditional Christmas celebrations.

Turkeys suffer a range of health problems and are so large their legs are crippled and therefore they are prone to heart failure. Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations involve inherent cruelty with no consideration of the animals being used for these rituals.  –  Lara Drew, Deakin
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/right-and-wrong-20111129-1v1s9.html

MULESING IS CRUEL:  Gary J. Wilson (Letters, November 4) is simply wrong. Mulesing is the cutting away of skin from around the sheep’s anus and genitals which results in an open, bloody wound and causes the sheep pain and distress for many days.

A simple search of the web will provide photos and videos of the operation with ample evidence of bleeding, and the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Sheep) makes it clear that mulesing is both bloody and painful.

Mulesing is one of the most offensive ways we cause pain and stress to these sentient animals whom we exploit for food and fibre even though there are plenty of plant-based alternatives.  – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/those-responsible-for-jail-should-hang-their-heads-in-shame-20111106-1v1na.html

PRAISE FOR SWAN RESCUE:  Well done to Stephen Trowell and all those who assisted the swan caught up in fishing hooks and line (Letters, October 13).

But there’s a glaring contradiction in his call for care.

The anglers who take fishing hooks, lures and line to the lake do so with the express intention of harming and killing our aquatic wildlife.

It would be great if they stopped inflicting pain and death for fun rather than just tidying up afterwards. – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/fears-on-personal-invective-20111013-1v6t4.html

(Updated) Letters in support of kangaroos

Found by Tracey Lofthouse

Go to http://www.al-act.org/campaigns/13 to learn more about the kangaroos killed in Canberra.

Roos in deep trouble:  Given the truckloads of misinformation regarding kangaroos to which the Australian public are subjected by governments, farmers and the kangaroo industry, T.J.Marks’ response (Letters, September 13) is predictable.
Sadly, there are few genuinely independent ecologists working in Australia today but those who are independent all seem to agree that eastern grey kangaroos are in deep trouble: Croft, Ramp, Ben Ami and Mjadwesch spring to mind.
And let us not forget Charles Darwin, who predicted the extinction of the kangaroo within a couple of centuries of European settlement.
Indeed it is impossible to look at the state data on quotas and harvesting numbers for this species without realising populations are in steep and alarming decline. Nor is it hard to understand why.
Eastern grey kangaroos have a naturally very high youth mortality rate. Add to this the huge additional anthropogenic pressures: harvesting, culling, habitat loss, climate change, collisions with motor vehicles, pollution and diet related diseases.
Perhaps worst of all is the loss of learned wisdom when few kangaroos are permitted to live long enough to both learn and pass on their life lessons.
T.J Marks is certainly right that kangaroos are not confined within the Canberra Nature Park reserves.
This is why there is such a high death toll among them from motor vehicle accidents, especially straight after a cull when the roads that run along the sides of the reserves are lined with terrified orphaned young.  –  Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan

My letter of September 6 stated: “Since the cull is described as taking place in enclosed reserves from which the kangaroos cannot escape”, which T.J.Marks has misunderstood as meaning that I don’t believe roos can jump or push through fences.
Since I see them do this every day, obviously I don’t believe that, but the ACT government appears to.  –  Peter Marshall, Captains Flat
From: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/accessory-after-the-fact-20150919-gjqipr.html#ixzz3oh657Uki

Fences improve odds:  Well done to the ACT government for including animal fencing as part of the road improvement measures along the Tuggeranong Parkway (“Animal fences to target Canberra black spots”, September 16). The ACT Kangaroo Management Plan includes the use of fencing and underpasses along high-risk roads, but there has been precious little done since the plan was introduced in 2010. While not a panacea, fencing in high-risk areas must help reduce the risk of having an accident with a kangaroo, or any other animal for that matter.
Most motorists don’t bash into kangaroos and have got the message about slowing down and being more alert in wildlife-rich areas. Knocking off a few kilometres per hour and being more alert when driving at dusk and overnight can significantly increase one’s reaction time.
Perhaps there could be more focus on passive measures to manage the ACT kangaroo population rather then simply killing them off.  –  Philip Machin, Wamboin, NSW
From: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/taxis-trump-light-rail-20150922-gjsizs.html#ixzz3oh9K69fS

Kangaroo culling:  Re the interesting assumptions of your recent editorial “Kangaroo management failing in ACT”, Times2, September 7, p2).
At least we can rest easier knowing that (as many have suspected) the real reason for kangaroo culling in the ACT is all about insurance and motorists’ comfort and has little to do with sustainable management of reserve flora and fauna. It does not occur to suggest motorists too may have to compromise, be alert and slow down to live in a bush environment, even an urban “bush capital”.
It sounds like the cruel commercial kangaroo industry which is in this area at the moment is also getting its messages in the ear of Canberra Times editorial writers.
I and many of my neighbour “blockies” welcome wildlife on our blocks and that includes the eastern grey kangaroo families that spread native grass seed and do their bit to keep grass from becoming a bushfire hazard. Equating them with feral pigs and goats and deer is absurd and says more about the editorial writer than about the blockies.  –  Maria Taylor, Bywong, NSW

Your editorial quotes ACT rangers as saying that “the supply of nutritious grass has been well and truly eaten down” and that “kangaroos are almost starving at this time of the year”. This needs to be questioned.
I suggest the editor take a walk in Mulligan’s Flat or the Ainslie Majura reserve and look for himself. There is plenty of grass and the kangaroos are well nourished. Spring is coming when grass growth is at its peak. There won’t be a problem with grass for kangaroos for a good while yet if at all this summer but a lot of kangaroos would probably prefer to have an inadequate diet than be shot, especially if they aren’t killed outright and have to wait to be put out of their misery. Had you gone to Mulligan’s Flat at the end of the last drought e.g. around 2008 or 2009, you would have seen a tragic situation which might have warranted the culling of starving roos, but the situation is very different now.  –  Stan Marks, Hawker
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/stop– the-quibbling-20150909-gjiu4x. html#ixzz3mcjQhTIU

Roo evasion best cure:  According to John Thistleton’s article (Hungry kangaroos on collision course with snow traffic from Canberra, Canberra Times, 28 August) it would seem the only winners in the battle between our native wildlife and the speeding four-wheeled wildlife bound for the snowfields are the smash repairers.
While I have sympathy with the owners of cars bearing imprints of kangaroos and other wildlife on their expensive duco, it distresses me mightily to see the carcasses of these lovely creatures lining our highways.
A couple of possible solutions spring to mind, the first of which is driver awareness. Let’s face it people, it makes sense.
Having lived for several years in the Snowy area, it has not escaped me that kangaroos are quite daffy when it comes to vehicle awareness. Consequently, if the car owner doesn’t want to spend hard-earned dosh on car repairs, it’s up to him or her to take the initiative and endeavour to avoid the animal.
The other alternative, for those drivers who, for whatever reason, prefer not to take evasive action, is to purchase animal warning devices which can be fitted to their cars. It could probably cut the holiday expenses back considerably.
For the princely sum of around $5 for a high-frequency sound generating appliance, it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that this paltry expenditure beats having to pay between “$2500 and $4500” in smash repairs. – Patricia Watson, Red Hill
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/fair- labour-market-shouldnt-depend- on-individual-crusaders- 20150901-gjcxon.html# ixzz3mREEYkob

Watch out for wildlife:  Were the headlines simply coincidental? “Roadkill country … path to snow marsupial minefield” (August 28, p1) and “Lunatics on our roads” (Gang-gang, August 28, p12).
There is much that can be done to reduce the risk of bashing into wildlife or rear-ending something on our roads.
Years ago there were government-sponsored driver education programs to remind us how drive better and improve our awareness. And perhaps they need to come back. With regards to wildlife on the road – in high risk areas, better signage, fencing and reduced speed limits to improve reaction time might help too. – Philip Machin, Wamboin, NSW
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/rates- rises-rampant-20150902-gjdstc. html#ixzz3mRFS8t73

Cull confusion:  In linking the ACT government’s kangaroo cull and road kill, Gary J.Wilson (Letters, August 29) makes a common mistake.
The cull has little to do with preventing collisions between kangaroos and vehicles, and is far too small and localised to have any meaningful effect.
Road safety is not one of the reasons that the government or Ministers Corbell or Rattenbury use to justify the cull, although nor are they seen trying to counter such claims when they are made.
Since the cull is described as taking place in enclosed reserves from which the kangaroos cannot escape, it also defies logic that the kangaroos being culled are the ones which would have otherwise come into conflict with vehicles. If the reserves aren’t enclosed, then culling could conceivably increase mobility, with kangaroos moving in to replace the culled population, thereby increasing the risk of conflict with vehicles. – Peter Marshall, Captains Flat

I would like readers of Gary Wilson’s letter (Sunday CT, August 30), arguing that the ACT government’s cull target is appropriate, to ask themselves three questions.
First, what has the NSW kangaroo injury data from Wildcare Queanbeyan got to do with the ACT reserves? Aside from some minor cross-border movement between the Queanbeyan Nature Reserve and East Jerrabomberra Reserve, these are entirely different populations.
Second, if it is true that 2000 kangaroos a year are already dying in car accidents, not to mention those dying due to culling on farms, urban expansion and climate change, why in the name of all that’s sane would we want to kill even more of them? No wonder ecologists are predicting the extinction of this species within a few decades.
Thirdly, if the cull target is appropriate, why were the ACT government’s shooters unable to find enough kangaroos to meet their target in 2015, even after extending their shooting time by an extra month, and even with a belated extension of their killing to places well beyond the Canberra Nature Park?
They still had to stop 800 animals short of their target, presumably due to nowhere near enough kangaroos to meet it.
And this does not even refer to the government’s dodgy counting methods, and its arbitrary and science-free assertion that one kangaroo per hectare is somehow a desirable population density. Nor to the  horrendous cruelty of the cull. – Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan
From: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/problem-is-bad-planning-20150905-gjfx52.html#ixzz3mRXUCdoj

Animals suffer trauma:  TJ Farquahar (Letters, July 14) may seek to deride the notion that kangaroos suffer psychological trauma; but nothing is achieved by these comments except to demonstrate the same human chauvinism towards animals that has become normalised by Greens and Labor ministers in the ACT government in recent years. My 15 years working closely with individual kangaroos recovering from trauma and various peer-reviewed research publications in this area might be seen as irrelevant in the chauvinistic world of Farquahar. However, a simple Google search in the fields of neuroscience and neuropsychology with regard to animals will show huge evidence that all mammals, birds and some sea life have the same neural substrates as humans and that kangaroos, like elephants, primates, parrots and a whole host of animals, do suffer emotional loss and trauma. Failing all of that, I suggest TJ Farquahar talk to empathetic dog and cat owners in his own street to find they will have observed the same.  –  Professor Steve Garlick, Bungendore, NSW

It is arrogant to consider that humans are the only animals that experience emotion and psychological stress (see Cambridge Declaration). The bond between mother and baby is very strong, whether in a human, elephant, whale or kangaroo. There is no doubt that the infant kangaroo joeys orphaned during Canberra’s recent kangaroo cull would have been severely traumatised through loss of association prior to their death due to exposure or predation.
Perhaps TJ Farquahar has only ever been exposed to kangaroos via stuffed toys and TV programs, or perhaps is just totally devoid of the ability to empathise with others.  –  Dr Rosemary Austen, Kingston
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/if-were- bigtaxing-bigspending-let-it- be-for-the-right-reasons- 20150719-gifoup.html# ixzz3gOsjN3IX

Cattle hop in:  The ACT government has argued that pro-kangaroo activists don’t care about the nature reserve grasslands and the animals that live within them. Yet on Mount Painter this week, there’s not a kangaroo to be seen. However, there are plenty of cattle wandering all over the place after discovering fences in disrepair are easy to get through.
Cattle, as non-natives, do far more damage to sensitive native grasslands than kangaroos could ever do. When brought to the attention of a ranger there was simply the shrug of shoulders as a reply.
So where is the government’s professed concern for the damage to our reserves? I certainly don’t see it.  –  Carolyn Drew, Page
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/ congaline-of-conservatives- pushes-clean-coal-uphill- 20150717-giexjg.html# ixzz3gOpUDwRC

ROOS FEEL TOO:  Kudos to Professor Steve Garlick and numerous animal carers dealing with the orphans from the recent kangaroo cull. I was intrigued with TJ Farquahar’s suggestion (Letters, July 14) regarding a magical talking kangaroo.
I wonder if a victim impact statement would impact on the current propaganda promulgated by humans. Doubt it, I’ll check myself in.  –  Chris Doyle, Gordon
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/congaline-of-conservatives-pushes-clean-coal-uphill-20150717-giexjg.html#ixzz3hVZ8wQsx

Kangaroo cruelty
The kangaroo killing program has ended and, despite the huge and uncalled for expenditure on security, secrecy, shooters, consultancies and misinformation, we have been able to witness first hand its extreme violence. At no cost to ACT residents we are also dealing with the acute psychological distress of those few infants that survived the carnage and were rescued and brought into care. Given the availability of well-known non-lethal kangaroo management methods and the lack of wildlife corridors, it’s time for ACT residents to reflect on whether the moral direction provided by ministers Rattenbury, Corbell and Barr is really what they are prepared to rely on. – Professor Steve Garlick, Bungendore, NSW
From: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/builders-time-bomb-20150712-giamuw.html#ixzz3g70OlDi2

Stick to facts:  ACT Parks and Conservation director Daniel Iglesias claims (“Kangaroo cull photo sparks war of words”, June17, p3) he is giving the community the facts when justifying the kangaroo cull. If only he would. Daniel is the government spokesman who said we must kill kangaroos because they might starve in the future.
When Territory and Municipal Services comments, “it is not normal behaviour for a kangaroo to try to crawl under a fence”, they are dead wrong. This is actually a common occurrence.
And when Daniel says there are thousands of kangaroos killed on the ACT roads, this, too, is misinformation. The ACT government annual crash reports suggest there are about 200 vehicle crashes due to animals being struck.
It would be good if the ACT government got back to basic, rigorous, scientific research to convince all of us we are not making a huge mistake. A moratorium on the culling of kangaroos and an independent scientific review is needed.  –  Philip Machin, Wamboin, NSW
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/with- friends-like-shorten-workers- dont-need-enemies-20150619- ghsqpj.html

Roo Control:  As a regular walker around Canberra’s urban reserves,   I’ve seen no evidence of an “over abundance” of kangaroos. The real problem of temperate grassland loss is not indigenous wildlife but unchecked human population and poor infrastructure planning.
I reject Mr Tyndale-Biscoe’s solution to shoot and kill kangaroos on that basis. Instead people need to come up with better (and more humane) solutions to live in harmony with the environment rather than simply destroying it.  –  R. Soxsmith, Kambah
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/corbell- strangely-quiet-20150531- ghdmdy.html

KANGAROO COINCIDENCE?:  The only certainties in life are death and taxes according to the quote. I will add another: the Canberra Times’ propensity to report on crashes involving kangaroos (“Canberra, Queanbeyan top road kill hot spot list”, May 20). Is it a coincidence that these articles always appear while the annual kangaroo killing season is underway? – Chris Doyle, Gordon
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/public- housing-better-peppered-among- each-suburb-20150522-gh7ulu. html

Roo Science Fiction:  Just returned to the region and picked up your article ”Cost of roo cull protest vandalism tops $50,000” (September 22, p2).

Have police arrested or courts charged anyone for these crimes? Accusations ”believed” or ”understood to be” the case by someone in the government is not the way the legal system or journalism should work in our democracy.

We just saw how well that style of reporting worked for trying ”terrorists” in the media. We saw embarrassing mistakes and unverified hysteria. Regarding the ACT car vandalism, according to CCTV footage it may have been a lone animal activist or then again it may have been an ”agent provocateur” out to discredit activists. Either way, it has worked marvellously for the government’s position.

The September 22 story states that the ACT Administrative Appeals Tribunal this year threw out the anti-cull case because if found a ”solid scientific basis”. I have followed this program closely for four years. The public record shows that the ”science” proving need or benefit is pretty well non-existent. Verifiable.

I have heard from leading ACT officials that they haven’t obtained evaluation data on this killing program. That is not science nor is it acceptable process with taxpayer money.

The ACT kangaroo kill now costs taxpayers at least $350,000 annually, not counting legal challenges and vandalism. It was never intended to become a default activity, according to public documents and conservation groups. Why it has become an annual ritual, is a better question for ACT taxpayers.  –  Maria Taylor, Bywong, NSW
From: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/roo-science-fiction-20140930-3gz12.html#ixzz3HVyaVFbE

Protest unsurprising:  It is remarkable that the public can be angered by the ”vandalism” at the Farrer Parks and Conservation depot yet completely unaffected by the killing of kangaroos. This illustrates the ways in which we classify property as more valuable than life. By condemning the ”vandalism” rather than condemning the killing of kangaroos, we are buying into the illusion that property is worth more than life itself. It is not unusual for social movements to implement radical forms of protest given the public remains unmoved by moral and ethical argument.

For example, freedom fighters in Nazi Germany liberated Holocaust victims and destroyed equipment that the Nazis used to kill their victims. These kinds of actions are important symbolically because they target private property ownership as a cause of animal subjugation as animals themselves are treated as property and objects.

Using moral and ethical argument is important but unfortunately ignored by those in power. Is it any surprise that individuals are choosing to engage in other protest actions – especially given they are repeatedly ignored?  – Lara Drew, Page
From: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/too-hard-to-defend-marist-brothers-20140624-3arff.html

Kangaroo feelings:  John Cashman (Letters, July 3) acknowledges that animals such as kangaroos have sentience to the extent they ”feel pain and hunger”. But that sentience means they have the capacity for pleasure, to enjoy aspects of their life and seek out the good life. In taking the life of healthy sentient animals we are denying them future pleasure. Whether they grieve for killed members of their mob may be debatable, there are certainly those who believe they do, but what is not debatable is the effect on dependent young who escape when their mother is shot – they suffer a prolonged death through starvation and exposure. And finally, Cashman bases his argument on the ”clean kill”, yet nobody claims every shot animal dies instantly – many suffer from being shot in the face, neck or body.  –  Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/a-million-better-uses-20140706-3bgks.html

Roo activists to fight on:  The idea that animal rights protesters should ”accept the umpire’s decision” misses the whole aim of the anti-kill actions, which is to stop the cruel and needless shooting of sentient, healthy native animals and the slaughter of their dependent children (”Roo target in doubt as protests disrupt cull”, July 16, p3).

The legal action at the tribunal was just one way of trying to achieve that goal.

Just because that tactic wasn’t successful (though it did reduce numbers and delay the start) does not mean that other methods would be dropped – quite the opposite.  – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/abbott-a-risky-choice-20130716-2q2ey.html

Roos not starving:  Robyn Guy (Letters, July 31) has it completely wrong about ”kangaroos starving” at Tidbinbilla. We photograph and observe the kangaroos of Tidbinbilla on a weekly, sometimes thrice weekly basis and have done so for over six years now. Currently, the kangaroos are in very good health. Their tails are very fat which shows good body weight. Contrary to Ms Guy’s claims, there is green grass underneath the dry winter cover. The grass in the wild is often dry at this time of year in the ACT unlike pasture land which is highly fertilised.

And as for the licking of soil around signs, kangaroos are not stupid, and, as with other wildlife, certain parrots for example, they lick it for dietary or health reasons. As for lice or worms, these are wild animals and will sometimes have these problems. These are wild kangaroos and some, many in fact, will die; the mortality rate of Eastern greys is very high normally in the wild. And they are not enclosed completely. Tidbinbilla is only fenced on three sides so they can get out (and they often do). Suggesting that 75 per cent of kangaroos should be killed sounds like a hidden agenda to me, certainly it does not show a concern for the welfare of the Tidbinbilla kangaroos.  –  Carolyn Drew, Deakin
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/graffiti-cost-20120801-23fu1.html

Who really did it?:  It’s interesting to see The Canberra Times (”Activist concerns”, Editorial, June 8, p18) and a number of other people blaming animal activists, explicitly or implicitly, for the damage at Mulligans Flat – all on the basis of absolutely no evidence. On the basis of exactly the same amount of evidence, I’d like to suggest that it may have been TAMS who did the damage in order to divert attention and sully the name of the activists. The story certainly broke at a very convenient time for TAMS, given the amount of publicity the anti-cull activists were getting and the evidence of apparent breaches of the code of practice unearthed from that burial pit. – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/a-royal-indifference-20120611-206b7.html

Label hypocritical:  Daniel Iglesias (”Eco-Terrorism claim”, June 6, p2) labels animal activists as eco-terrorists. What is with society’s inherent identification with property, as if it’s more valuable than life itself? Ownership of property has historically and is currently being used as a way to dominate others, both human and non-human.

And the term ”eco-terrorism” is a strategic attempt to silence the voices of those who dare defend the rights of nature. While they are worrying about the bettong the government continues to shoot eastern greys in large numbers year after year. If animal activists are implied to be ”eco-terrorists” then I would argue that the government which initiates the killing of kangaroos on a yearly basis is the biggest perpetrator of it.  –  Lara Drew, Deakin
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/too-many-obstacles-20120607-1zz6c.html

Letters in support of companion animals

Found by Tracey Lofthouse

CALL OF THE WILD:  Don’t blame cats. Blame the god who created them as carnivores and humans who dumped them in the bush, while themselves destroying many more wild creatures, great and small.  –  Meta Sterns, Yarralumla
From: http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/if-were- bigtaxing-bigspending-let-it- be-for-the-right-reasons- 20150719-gifoup.html# ixzz3gOt4n8fp

Dog fine laughable:  How can magistrate Peter Dingwall find the animal abuse by Annette Banks of Theodore (“RSPCA fury at court penalty for maggot-infested dog”, July 8, p3) is worth a fine of only $350 for disgraceful neglect of both her dogs? Why did this magistrate not award costs to the RSPCA, without which this case could not have gone ahead, and which took over the care of these two unfortunate dogs? How can the magistrate not have banned the offender from owning more dogs, at least for the foreseeable future? Why did the Director of Public Prosecutions in the ACT decide that due process has been followed in this case, and that they are unable to appeal the case on the grounds of a manifestly inadequate sentence?
If the law allows such a tiny fine for such neglect and abuse, then the law is indeed an ass. – Anna Marsden, Murrumbateman, NSW

Yet again the RSPCA is totally let down by another pathetic decision by an ACT Magistrate. The fine dished out to this woman was laughable, and to add insult to injury the RSPCA had to pay its own costs of $1900.
And even worse, this woman could have left the courts and gone straight to a pet shop to purchase another dog.
I am so sick of these gutless decisions by ACT courts. Magistrates should be made to spend a day or two at the RSPCA. – Sue Mcleod, Watson
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/builders-time-bomb-20150712-giamuw.html#ixzz3g71Vpi6b

Cruelty to creatures:  While the trade in cats for human consumption is deplorable, we should, perhaps, look at our own cruel marketing practices, before slinging too much mud at the Vietnamese (“Cat on the menu: outrage at Vietnamese trade in felines”, smh.com.au, February 6).  Go to the Sydney Fish Markets any Saturday morning and witness the abject cruelty of mud crabs trussed up with twine, being kept alive until someone finally puts them out of their misery.

Don’t tell me that these cold-blooded creatures are not affected by this cold-blooded treatment.     Most of them roamed wild till their luckless fate overtook them.  Then bound up, bound for Sydney, bound for the plate.  So don’t call the Vietnamese “cruel” before we first clean up our own deplorable practices.  –  Michael O’Brien, Newtown
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-letters/coalition-fails-to-see-alternatives-20150206-137elr.html

Abuse of animals:  Where is the justice when a woman who can starve and neglect dogs in her care is slapped with only a moderate fine and allowed to own animals again (“Woman who starved dogs fined, but allowed to keep pets” February 6, p2)?
Canberra’s relevant authorities spend thousands of dollars building cases against people who have no regard for animal welfare, in some cases demonstrating the cruellest treatment towards them. The magistrate’s ruling in this case is absolutely useless and will do nothing to deter current and future offenders.
As ACT taxpayers and people who care about the welfare of all animals, we demand much better from our legal system. It has a duty of care to make its conclusions and rulings commensurate with the crime. Any person with common sense would never allow this woman near an animal again. Justice indeed.  –   Alison Chapple, Macquarie
http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/give-up- on-light-rail-20150209-13a155. html

Cats are not at fault:  Why blame domestic cats?  I refer to the proposed legislation to keep cats indoors.
The greatest cause of loss of species is humankind through destruction of habitat, pollution, over exploitation of food sources and human-induced climate change.
Human activities such as migration and global trade have greatly accelerated the movement of living organisms.  –  M. S. Amar, Phillip
http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/january- 26-our-brigadoon-20150128- 1309eg.html

Letters in support of fish

Found by Tracey Lofthouse

What about the fish?:  I was very sorry to hear of Molly the cavoodle’s suffering after biting a discarded fishing lure near Lake Burley Griffin (Letters, December 23).

Like Molly’s owner, Peter Stanley, most of us would be concerned about her pain, but why don’t we feel the same concern for the millions of other animals  that also bite fishing lures and baited hooks?

Research over the last decade has concluded that, on the balance of probability, fish do feel pain.

In 2010, Dr Victoria Braithwaite published her book, Do Fish Feel Pain?,  summing up the recent research with: “I believe that the weight of evidence now shows fish do feel pain.”

If we can understand and empathise with the suffering ofdogs, why not the suffering of fish?
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/a-loss-of-freedoms-20141228-12ep36.html

FISH FEEL PAIN:  I agree with Mike O’Shaughnessy (“What about the fish?”, December 29). It’s high time we acknowledged  fish feel pain and dragging them from their watery homes, by means of a barbed hook, is blatant animal torture. – Jenny Moxham, Monbulk
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/a-world-of-wellness-20141230-12fppq.html

Torture for a Photo Op:  WHAT a sad photo and story on page 3 of last week’s Sunday Canberra Times (”Oh my cod: the night Rob tamed ‘The Hulk”’). That 30- or 40-year-old native fish, and member of a threatened species, is no ”monster” – no ”hulk”, nor ”beast”. He was simply minding his own business until some human thought it would be fun, an adrenalin shot, ”the fight of his life” to put a metal hook through the mouth and haul him out of the water to be posed, unable to breathe, for a photo op. When are humans going to learn to live with other species without subjecting them to pain, stress and death for entertainment and fun? – Alan Bateman, Lyneham

WHAT if that native animal Rob Paxevanos (”Oh my cod: the night Rob tamed ‘The Hulk”’, December 23, p3) impaled and dragged into an environment where he couldn’t breathe had been a native mammal or bird instead of a native fish?

Would The Canberra Times publish a photo of the animal being held underwater? Fish are like all vertebrates with a central nervous system, they have intelligence and, most importantly, sentience. It’s time we started treating them better – at least as ”well” as we treat other animals. – Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence
From:  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/letters/torture-for-a-photo-op-20121229-2c0rb.html

Letters in support of animals used in ‘entertainment’

Found by Tracey Lofthouse

Ban the racing:  After ABC-TV’s definitive exposure of the cruelty we have always known occurs in greyhound racing, the industry will express shock and dismay for about five minutes before resuming business as usual. Animal welfare will always run a poor second to profit; the only way to eliminate cruelty in racing – greyhounds or thoroughbreds – is to ban it outright.  –  Gaynor Morgan, Braddon
http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/ political-scalps-dont-lower- rates-20150218-13ifri.html

It seems that it takes the exposures of a systematic torture of animals, such as engaged semi-officially in practice by the greyhound racing industry in the eastern states (despite eternal denials officially), to bring the words “self-regulation does not work, because of obvious conflicts of interest” out of a politician’s mouth and onto our airwaves, like this morning in the aftermath of the shocking Four Corners report on Monday   night.

It also naturally does not work in the building industry, which would just possibly account for the near guarantee of fairly shocking faults hidden in newly completed apartment blocks inspected and certified by people recurrently selected and paid for these purposes by the developers themselves. Simple, no?

But we are yet to hear a word of acknowledgement of this inconvenient truth from ACT and NSW politicians. Indeed, in the ACT,  Andrew Barr, who in his previous (and actually, current) portfolio oversaw such an unscrupulous industry, has now been promoted to Chief Minister.

They say we get the politicians we deserve. Are we really so abysmal? – Alex Mattea,  Kingston
http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/ inconvenient-truth-of- selfregulation-20150219- 13jlzq.html

Greyhound racing:  I was pleased to see Wednesday’s editorial (“Greyhound racing faces dark days”, Times2, February 18, p2) as this is a serious matter that needs full investigation. I especially support the editor’s last paragraph suggesting that ‘firm, concrete action is now required’ otherwise, ‘governments could be pressured and ultimately persuaded to ban greyhound racing altogether’.

It is encouraging to see that the responsible ACT Minister is taking appropriate action. We look forward to hearing about the outcome of [Joy] Burch’s discussions at the next meeting with her interstate colleagues. I will also be interested to know if she is able to obtain assurances from other states that greyhounds racing here have not been trained using live bait. Of course, a significant issue raised is the lack of funding of the RSPCA to provide for policing activities and it is to be hoped that the ACT government will do more to assist in this and their other vital work.

It is difficult to comprehend the animal cruelty involved in the live bating of greyhounds and that it has been happening in this ‘civilised’ country of ours.  – Jack Barlow, Curtin
http://www.canberratimes.com. au/comment/ct-letters/ governments-duty-to-tax- sufficient-revenue-for- services-20150220-13ksu3.html

All honour to Animal Liberation, Animals Australia and Four Corners for exposing the hideous cruelty that is rife in the greyhound racing industry (“Animals used as live bait by greyhound racing figures“, February 17). Let us hope that charges, convictions and appropriately severe prison sentences will follow.
All humane Australians should support the selfless actions of such activists and oppose in every way we can, including at the ballot box, the attempts that have been made from time to time to criminalise covert surveillance of such barbarities. – Robin Margo Macmasters Beach

Animal welfare will always come a poor second to profit. It’s about time greyhound racing went the way of dog fighting and bear baiting. – Gaynor Morgan Braddon (ACT)

I imagine I am one of many who slept fitfully last night after viewing Four Corners. Watching people derive pleasure from inflicting unspeakable cruelty upon bound, defenceless animals in the name of sport putrefies that sport irreparably. Greyhound racing clearly lacks the implied or express codes of fairness we expect in all sport. How could it when the actual money-makers of the industry, the animals, must either die in excruciating agony or kill to stay alive?  – Jacinta McManus Rozelle

Having watched as much of the Four Corners expose of the greyhound industry as I could stomach, two things became obvious. Greyhounds, being some of the sweetest dogs you could ever meet, are being unfairly tainted and those vile beings who torture poor defenceless animals must be banned for life from ever having anything to do with the  industry.
Even better would be a complete ban on this appalling sport, thereby saving hundreds of poor puppies that don’t make the grade that are disposed of each year, and the unimaginable suffering of all those poor defenceless animals being mauled to death on a lure. – David Mackenzie North Sydney

In response to the Four Corners report on live baiting in the greyhound racing industry, Adam Wallish, chief executive of Racing Victoria, claims it’s only a “small minority” involved in illegal practices. As it happens, there were so many of the celebrities of the sport on camera that it looked like its annual awards night. They weren’t picking up trophies, however, they were strapping baby animals to sticks so they could watch their dogs shred them alive. Mate, get a grip. – James Buckman Enmore

The ABC’s Four Corners program showed the illegal use of live animals as bait for the training of greyhounds. There are just no words to describe those people who make millions of dollars by the use of utter cruelty and animal torture.
The ABC was able to find these cases of live baiting, yet Greyhound Racing NSW and the NSW government’s report into the greyhound industry last year, seemed unable or unwilling to.
Not touched in the program was the widespread use of drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines on dogs, nor the routine killing of thousands of greyhounds when they are unable to perform or are simply too old to do so.
This industry – one that is vocally supported by the LNP, ALP and the Shooter and Fishers Party – is so totally bereft of morality that it makes you wonder what place it has in our society at all.  –  Judy Hungerford Crows Nest

Will the Labor state governments show the same resolve and rapid action and ban greyhound racing, as did the Gillard government in 2011 when it immediately banned live cattle export to Indonesia following a similar Four Corners expose?  –  Alan Slade Dover Heights

A few years ago I treated a man who had anaemia and required EPO injections (to regulate red blood cell production). He was a greyhound trainer from the Illawarra. “I know all about EPO ’cause we give it to the dogs,” he told me. Then I told him he’d need iron injections to boost the effect of the EPO.
“We give that too, it also makes then go faster,” he said.
I was flabbergasted. It seems that healthy greyhounds being subject to the full range of the medical pharmacopoeia is also part of the racing industry.  –  Dr Elliott Savdie, Darlinghurst

Greyhound racing officials know live baiting has always been part of the sport, so turn a blind eye. Magistrates have the answer; jail the lowlifes who torture terrified creatures. No fines.   –  Joe Payne, Coogee
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/ smh-letters/put-animal- abusers-on-fast-track-for- prison-20150217-13gyd3.html

Greyhound racing shows dark side:  I wish I was a fly on the wall when those upstanding individuals in the greyhound racing industry look their children and grandchildren in the eye and justify how they torture small defenceless animals for money  (“Ban greyhound racing: the reasons are compelling”, February 18). And don’t think the greyhounds themselves are beloved pets either – they are sacrificed too, whenever necessary.  In some ways we have not progressed much since the Dark Ages.  –  Lin Sinton Killarney Heights

I find it passing strange that we are outraged at the cruelty visited on defenceless animals to “blood” greyhounds, while largely ignoring the plight of children held in detention on Christmas and Manus islands. We Australians are a weird mob.  –  Andrew Thompson, Chatswood West
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/ smh-letters/past-generosity- should-not-be-a-bargaining- chip-with-indonesia-20150218- 13hxqy.html

Ban the ‘sport’:  I would love to see greyhound racing completely banned in Australia. It may be a $144 million-a-year industry, but it’s such a shockingly cruel, “so-called” sport (“Trainers suspended over live bait for greyhounds”, February 15).  – Carolyn Wills Cremorne
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/ smh-letters/bishop-beware- 20150221-13jrr9.html

UNNECESSARY DEATHS:  I gave up supporting the racing industry long ago. The tragic outcome of the last two Melbourne Cups has just vindicated my position. I hope the industry and its supporters acknowledge the devastating and unnecessary deaths of both Admire Ratki (2014) and Verema (2013). RIP.  –  Chris Doyle, Gordon
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/now-seeing-the-light-20141104-3jlpe.html