(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

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