Saturday 21 October 2017

Man 'filmed slitting a kangaroo's throat' could face two years in prison for killing protected wildlife

After video of the 'abhorrent' killing went viral, a 43-year-old man was arrested in Melbourne

Adam Lusher

A man allegedly filmed slitting a kangaroo’s throat while his friend looked on and laughed has been charged with killing protected wildlife and could face up to two years in an Australian jail.

The video of the killing, which went viral on Chinese social media, shows a man with a large knife strolling up to the already injured kangaroo as it snarls and struggles to get to its feet.

In an act described as "abhorrent" by Australian officials, the man grabs the animal’s tail, places his foot on its hind quarters and slashes at its neck about 18 times.

His friend, filming the killing on a smartphone, can be heard laughing.  The man killing the kangaroo can reportedly be heard saying in Mandarin: "Just face it, that’s your fate. Let me finish this as quickly as I can."

The video, thought to have been filmed somewhere in the Australian bush, closes with the man sitting down to rest from his exertions, his bloodstained knife clearly visible.

After the video was viewed almost 4 million times and Chinese internet users condemned the cruelty, officers from the Australian state of Victoria’s Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) arrested a 43-year-old man in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

The man, arrested on Wednesday night and reported to be from Shenyang city in north-east China, has now been charged with one count of destroying protected wildlife, an offence which upon conviction carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

The DELWP issued a statement which revealed: "Evidence including firearms, knives and mobile phones was also seized from the property.

"The man was granted bail and will appear at Ringwood Magistrates Court at a later date."

DELWP Compliance Operations Manager Glenn Sharp added: "We take all alleged cases of animal cruelty very seriously."

"The wildlife offences captured in this video are particularly abhorrent.

"We’d like to thank members of the public who came forward with information about the alleged offences and enabled us to act quickly in response.”

The kangaroo killed in the video appears to have been an Eastern Grey Kangaroo, a species which along with all other native Australian wildlife is protected in the state of Victoria under the Wildlife Act 1975.

Under the act, the penalties associated with killing or destroying protected wildlife range from $7,928 Australian dollars (£4,861) to $38,056 (£23,335) and/or six to 24 months’ imprisonment.

In common with many other parts of Australia, the Victoria State Government does allow kangaroos to be killed in areas where they have become a crop pest or pose a threat to humans because of issues like the risk of traffic accidents.

Such culling, however, can only be carried out where non-lethal control methods are considered ineffective or impractical.  And in Victoria anyone seeking to control kangaroos on their property – either lethally or non-lethally – must apply to the state government for an “Authority to Control Wildlife”.

The Victoria State Government also stipulates that where killing is necessary "Shooting is considered to be the most effective and humane method” and should be done “in accordance with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies."

In Australia as a whole there are an estimated 500 million kangaroos in the wild.  Human intervention including land clearance has resulted in an abundance of grass and a relative absence of predators, allowing the kangaroo population to grow to the point where many farmers regard them as a pest.

Official statistics show that more than 1.5 million kangaroos were killed in 2015, and in 2013 it was estimated that about 90 million kangaroos and wallabies had been lawfully killed in the previous 20 years, with some of the meat being sold in supermarkets or restaurants.

Independent News Service

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