Animal rights groups hopping mad over kangaroo pet idea
A push by Australia's threatened species commissioner to allow native animals to be kept as pets has prompted a passionate debate about whether kangaroos, wombats and koalas belong in the nation's living rooms and back gardens.
Gregory Andrews, a government official whose role is to prevent extinctions, said Australians should be allowed to have some native animals as pets rather than keeping invasive species such as dogs and cats. He said it would be "patriotic" for families to take in animals that "define who we are as a nation".
"People can pay Aus$2,500-$10,000 (€1,800-€7,200) for a designer poodle," he told 'The Australian' newspaper. "Why not...pay even 10pc of that to own a critically endangered orange-bellied parrot to help conserve that species?"
But the proposal prompted a backlash from animal rights groups. In Robertson, south-west of Sydney, Richard Woodman and his wife Kerstin Schweth opposed the commissioner's proposal, even as a wombat named Ava, a tiny eastern grey kangaroo named Lily and a kangaroo-like wallaroo named Eric gently strutted about the fur-strewn couch in their living room.
Mr Woodman and Ms Schweth are allowed to keep these animals at home because they are authorised carers for injured and orphaned animals. The couple will return the orphaned creatures to the wild once the animals are rehabilitated.
"They might be cute when they're little but they will trash your house once they grow up," Mr Woodman said. "They require a lot more care and attention than cats and dogs. A kangaroo could attack you if they became dependent on human feedings and it's not given."
"Native animals belong in the wild. They pee and poop on everything," said Ms Schweth. (© Daily Telegraph, London)