July 19, 2007
Humane Society International is again asking for your help in letting the Northern Territory Government and the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources know that allowing the safari hunting of Australia's native wildlife is unacceptable!
In 2004, the Northern Territory Government submitted for approval from the Federal Government, a Management Plan for crocodiles in the Top End. This Plan included a proposal to introduce safari hunting of wild crocodiles, to then be exported as trophies. While the Management Plan was approved by the then Federal Minister for the Environment Ian Campbell in 2005, safari hunting of crocodiles was firmly opposed, and a condition was placed on the approval prohibiting safari hunting.
Minister Campbell's decision followed extensive public consultation and he concluded that he did not ' believe that safari hunting of crocodiles is consistent with a modern day approach to animal welfare and responsible management.'
Not content with this decision, and with a new Federal Environment Minister in office, the Northern Territory Government is again seeking approval of this Management Plan, as a means of getting the safari hunting proposal approved. Trophy hunting raises serious animal welfare concerns, and the Federal Government has consistently opposed the export of trophies from Australian native animals, a position that has historically been upheld by both the Federal Coalition and Labor Governments. Federal Environment Ministers have made the prohibition on trophy hunting a condition of approval for all crocodile management plans. We believe this properly reflects the attitude of the Australian community to trophy hunting of native animals for pleasure and profit.
The Department of Environment and Water Resources is again seeking public comments on the ' Management Plan for Crocodylus porosus in the Northern Territory 2005-2010' , specifically to decide whether safari hunting should be allowed. It is essential that we use this opportunity to ensure that this cruel and unnecessary practice is not approved, and that Australia's long held policy of not permitting the trophy hunting of Australian native wildlife for export is upheld.
Further information on the Management Plan can be found at: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/invitecomment/crocodile-nt.html
Action required by 17 August 2007:
Please write to the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 or by email to Malcolm.Turnbull.MP@aph.gov.au and copy email@example.com
Following are some suggestions to include in your submissions:
- Urge the Minister to uphold the previous Federal Coalition and ALP Government decisions which have considered the trophy hunting of Australia's native wildlife unacceptable, and let the Government know that under no circumstances should this long held policy be overturned.
- The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation EPBC Act (EPBC) 1999, Australia's environmental legislation, has strict provisions for the approval of wildlife trade management plans. These include that an assessment of the environmental impact of the activities covered by the plan must be completed before a decision can be made to grant an approval. It is clear from the Management Plan that no environmental impact assessment has been completed for either the harvesting or the safari hunting aspects of the Management Plan, nor is there sufficient information in the Plan to satisfy the animal welfare provisions of the EPBC Act. Therefore, approval under the EPBC Act on these grounds cannot be granted.
- The potential animal welfare issues involved in allowing tourists to shoot wild crocodiles are significant and a humane kill cannot be guaranteed. The Plan states that safari operators are required to abide by a code of practice to ensure that all animals are killed humanely. Yet this Code of Practice is still in draft form, even though it was written in 2003. The Northern Territory has had four years to finalise this draft, and the fact that they have not done so prior to re-submitting this application is a reflection of the lack of up to date ecological and environmental evidence to support the Management Plan.
- It is proposed that staff from the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory (PWSNT) will accompany the hunts to ensure standards of animal welfare are met during the first year, with reductions to 75% then 50% in subsequent years. Enforcement of animal welfare codes of practice in remote environments after this period will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. With little or no monitoring, sports hunters are unlikely to give too much heed to animal welfare codes of practice.
- The wider and longer term benefits of a sustainable eco-tourism industry to local communities far outweigh the one-off profits that could be made from this small niche market. International conservation and animal welfare groups would strongly condemn the approval of trophy hunting and the damage to Australia's reputation as an eco-tourism destination could be severe.
- Leading proponents for the safari hunting of crocodiles are well-known pro-hunting identities that are on record as supporting commercial whaling and are regular advocates for the ranching of marine turtles for commercial profit. Approving the trophy hunting of crocodiles as part of the Management Plan would be a show of support for the hunting of native animals Australia-wide, and would do untold damage to Australia's international reputation.
Send your replies to us.