Saturday, December 18, 2010

CROCODILE TROPHY HUNTING - Letter to The Honorable Peter Garrett MP, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

May 25, 2009
RE:  Crocodile Trophy Hunting

Dear Sir,

Predictably, the issue of trophy hunting of crocodiles has been raised in the context of recent attacks on humans and the release of the Northern Territory's Draft Croc Management Program.  The apparent increase in croc numbers in the NT and spate of attacks on people are provided as justifications for allowing "safari-style" hunting of crocodiles.  Just to make the notion even more socially and politically palatable, it's going to be a program "…that focuses on Indigenous participation, employment and enterprise….". Who's going to knock that – a lucrative, sustainable eco-venture that supports our indigenous brothers? 

But let's get the issue into its proper context before we go any further.  Trophy hunting is not seriously going to stop unfortunate souls from getting killed by crocs – that just needs better education and awareness campaigns.   Neither will it be the economic salvation of local indigenous communities; their opportunities for less violent forms of ecotourism are far more lucrative.  This type of hunting is going to appeal to the type of folk (a small, rich and vocal minority) who get their kicks out of shooting other large and potentially dangerous wildlife, like rhinos, elephants and lions;  great white hunters who often justify their blood-sport by arguing that they contribute to the conservation of the magnificent animals that they blow away.  If you want to get a taste for the industry get on to Google and search "trophy hunting", or try this one: for a list of all the animals in Africa you can hunt and kill.  Follow the links for some disturbing photos of giraffes, hippos, vervet monkeys and some endangered wildlife with the brave hunters who shot them. (By the way, there's not a single species of endangered animal that has ever been saved from extinction by virtue of its attraction for trophy hunters.) On the topic of whether shooting crocs is humane:  They've got a brain smaller than my pinkie finger, and I'm not a big bloke.   Imagine trying to hit that on a moving target submerged in water, encased in a big solid bone skull, and you get what I'm saying:  there are going to be a lot of maimed crocodiles dying slow deaths if this gets the green light. There's nothing humane about trophy hunting, particularly for animals like crocs.

There will be animal cruelty issues!

In my mind, the question of whether trophy hunting of crocodiles should be allowed is a question of morality.  For me, it it's just not right to hunt and kill something for fun. I thought in this country we had made enough moral progress to have put that one to bed years ago.  But here it is again, rearing its ugly head, under the guise of "sustainability" and helping indigenous communities, to boot. Too often now, the proponents of "sustainable wildlife use" seem to think that if they can argue that an activity is ecologically sustainable, then any ethical or moral concerns are irrelevant or redundant.  Developing an ecotourism venture with indigenous folk as the guides and beneficiaries is a great idea, but let the shooting be done with cameras, not guns.  Then it's humane, sustainable and morally right, and I reckon will make a lot more money than the small, loud, safari hunting elite would ever have brought us.

I believe that if this proposal were to proceed it would have a very negative impact on Australia's lucrative Tourism Industry and severely damage Australia's image world wide as a friendly, caring country.

Let us not go back to Medieval times.

Reject the Northern Territory Government's proposal.
--Bob Irwin

Click on the links below to see other articles written against the proposal.  If you would like to write the Government Minister regarding the croc proposal, click here

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