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Australians Save 3,001 Kangaroos


An Australian court decided to end the military’s plan to shoot 7,000 kangaroos on a base near Canberra. But the decision comes half-way through the program, so they’ve already killed 4,000 gray kangaroos. The military says the 9,000 kangaroos living in Austtralian Capitol Territory were over-grazing and destroying native grasslands.
Animal Liberation, the group that sued to stop the cull, says the science behind saving the kangaroos is flawed and that kangaroo culls are pushed by the “kangaroo industry” as a way to produce a kind of cheap, free-range ‘roo meat. The meat is often contaminated and the clubbing of joeys and clumsy shooting of adults makes the Canadian baby seal-clubbing look quaint, the group says.
The local government is going to try to write some new laws and a way around the judgment so it can carry on slaughtering the kangaroos.
The case highlights the vastly different ways of viewing animals: either as populations to be managed to human desires or as individuals. I know it’s supposed to be soft-minded to anthropomorphize and describe animals as unique characters. But you can’t be around them without starting to think of them that way.
Think about another Australian making a decision about kangaroos at the same time. Surfer Neil McCallum saw a joey go out for an ocean swim and get caught in a riptide. He grabbed his surfboard and pushed the little kangaroo back to shore. The story made headlines around the world–not, I think, because everyone thought he was crazy to have bothered. But that’s the story we’d rather hear about and rather believe about ourselves, the one where we go out and save even just one animal, no matter how pointless the gesture.

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