University of Technology, Sydney


Kangaroo Court: new report on enforcement

Published September 25, 2012 16:02

Kangaroo Court Cover

THINKK has released a new groundbreaking report entitled 'Kangaroo Court: Enforcement of the law governing kangaroo killing'. The report highlights weaknesses in the enforcement of the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies, which establishes national standards for the killing of adult kangaroos and dependent young.

The report has uncovered a number of key findings, which are summarised below:

  • Data relating to the compliance and enforcement of the commercial kangaroo industry is limited and only a few studies have been undertaken. The primary sources of information on enforcement in the kangaroo industry are available from the annual reports prepared by the relevant state government agencies. However, there are differences between the jurisdictions both in terms of availability of data and information reported.
  • The standardisation of inspections in the industry and reporting by state government agencies would help to overcome the variety amongst the jurisdictions both in terms of practices and reporting on the National Code.
  • A fundamental problem is that government agencies do not inspect carcasses at the point of kill. Without inspections at the point of kill it is impossible for agencies to ensure compliance with the Code's conditions on killing dependent young and injured adult kangaroos.
  • The regulations in some states, particularly in Western Australia, need to be amended to ensure that the Code is enforceable against all parties involved in the commercial industry.
  • Enforcement by state agencies is undermined by a conflict of interest because these agencies are responsible for both promoting the welfare of kangaroos and supporting the commercial kangaroo industry.
  • Prosecutions rarely occur and where prosecutions have been successful, low fines are generally imposed.

The report highlights a number of areas for legal and policy reform to improve animal welfare outcomes for kangaroos targeted by the commercial industry. The key recommendations include:

  • The introduction of National Standards for Reporting of Offences in the Commercial Kangaroo Industry and National Standards for Inspections of the Commercial Kangaroo Industry to be adhered to by state agencies.
  • In order to ensure compliance with all aspects of the Code state agencies need to allocate more resources for inspections of the industry, particularly of shooters. Video surveillance technology should be introduced to aid these inspections and improve reporting on the numbers of injured kangaroos.
  • Prosecutions would be aided by mandating that heads remain on carcasses in order to determine whether carcasses have been shot correctly in the brain.
  • To minimise conflict of interest an independent department at the federal level or a number of independent departments at the state level should be established and given responsibility for enforcement as part of a wider reform of enforcement of animal cruelty laws.
  • Harsher penalties should be made available in order to ensure that the regulatory system creates a sufficient deterrent for wrongful behaviour. These penalties should include higher fines, imprisonment and the strengthening of licence suspensions and revocations.

Read the Kangaroo Court report.

Read the Executive Summary.

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