Kangaroo Shooting Code compliance

A Survey of the Extent of Compliance with the Requirements of the Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos
Prepared for Environment Australia by RSPCA Australia
July 2002

Appendix 2 Schedule of Consultancy Services

1 Inquiries with government agencies

1.1 Discuss with State government agencies their view of compliance with the Code within their jurisdiction and activities on compliance with the Code. In particular, consideration should be given to compliance within the commercial industry, compliance within the non-commercial take and any known or inferred illegal take.

1.2 Discuss with the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service - Meat Inspection Service and State Meat Inspection Services their view of compliance with the Code within their experience and activities on compliance with the Code.

1.3 Discuss with government agencies their views of the current Code. This should include a discussion on the elements of the current Code.

1.4 Identify existing compliance checks which could be amended or expanded to ensure compliance with the Code of Practice.

1.5 Assess the shooter competency programs within each State.

2 Inquiries with non-government bodies

2.1 Discuss with industry organisations, non-government organisations, veterinarians, landholders and industry participants their view of compliance with the Code. In particular consideration should be given to compliance within the commercial industry, compliance within the non-commercial take and any known or inferred illegal take. Determine whether the views held are based upon hearsay, single observations or long term observations.

3 Field inspections of commercially harvested kangaroos

3.1 No less than 3,000 carcasses or skins must be inspected. Of these, no less than 1,000 should be inspected in NSW, no less than 1,200 in Queensland, no less than 500 in South Australia and no less than 300 in Western Australia.

3.2 A stratified random sample statistical design should be followed within each State to reflect the geographic distribution of the harvest. The design should be robust enough to allow meaningful analysis against hypotheses. The following hypothesis is provided by way of example only: That the commercial kangaroo take meets an acceptable level of compliance with the Code of Practice.

3.3 Within Queensland approximately half of all inspections must be of skin-only take, reflecting the industry within that State. Within NSW approximately one-third of inspections must be of kangaroos taken for human consumption, and two thirds of kangaroos taken for pet meat.

4 Reporting

4.1 Review the current Code against the recommendations on the Code of Practice in the 1985 report.

4.2 Review the other conclusions and recommendations in the 1985 report against the current management of kangaroos.

4.3 Review the extent of compliance within the commercial take by industry sector and by State. The assessment should incorporate the requirement of the Code where a follow up chest shot may be required.

4.4 Review the extent of compliance with the Code of Practice within the commercial take by State and, where possible, by region. Where a skin-only industry occurs, review the extent of compliance within that industry in comparison to the carcase industry. In NSW review the extent of compliance within the Human Consumption carcass trade as compared to the pet meat trade. As far as possible identify any trends in compliance compared to the 1985 survey. The review should take account of the Codes section on follow up chest shots, and the fact that the industry operates within the natural environment and is subject to random weather events and similar circumstances.

4.5 Review the extent of compliance with the Code of Practice within the commercial take with the extent perceived to occur by government, non-government and industry organisations.

4.6 Outline as far as possible a level of incidence of body shots that could be expected where shooters were seeking to head shoot kangaroos but, either a second shot to the body was required, or an abrupt alteration in weather or deflection by vegetation may have caused a deviation to the bullet.

4.7 Identify compliance checks within the commercial take which could be incorporated into appropriate industry quality assurance program or into existing government inspection procedures.

4.8 Report on the level and requirements of shooter competency assessments within each State, including any requirements that should be included in assessments.

4.9 A separate report (if required) outlining the results of any non-commercial or illegal kills examined incidentally to undertaking this contract.

 

Appendix 3 Letter to wildlife management agencies

 

As you know, I have been asked by Environment Australia to undertake a survey of the extent of compliance with the requirements of 'The Code of Practice for Humane Shooting of Kangaroos'. A similar survey was undertaken in 1984-85 and the results used in the development of the Code. The survey involves two main aspects - consultation with State agencies concerned with the management of kangaroos, and field examination of kangaroo carcasses and skins. It is planned to undertake the second aspect later in the year, when there is a peak in kangaroo harvesting activities.

The first part of the survey requires some input from the appropriate agencies in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. The objective of this part of the survey is to determine the views of compliance by the State agencies with the Code, within their jurisdiction and activities. This part of the survey is to be completed first, before the second part i.e. field inspections are undertaken.

It seems impracticable to undertake two excursions to all four states, ie first to talk to the agencies, then to return and undertake the field surveys. Instead, I would like to be able to discuss some aspects of the Code and each State's management plan with each agency representative. I have read the latest plans of management for the harvesting of kangaroos for each state and would like to ask you some questions that may clarify some issues associated with compliance with the Code. I am sending these questions by e-mail and will ring you in a weeks time to see if it possible for you to provide answers. When I visit you later in the year I would like to discuss these matters further. But, in the interim, I need to provide a report to Environment Australia before proceeding further. It is hoped that I can add to the first report after the field assessment has been undertaken.

The questions are as follows:

  1. What are the conditions placed on a shooter's licence, ie licensed trapper, field processor, professional shooter or wildlife harvester?
  2. Is there a training course for shooters of kangaroos, particularly those shooting for human consumption?
  3. Is the Code of Practice issued by the agency to each commercial shooter?
  4. What conditions are placed upon 'damage mitigation permits'? Is the Code issued to the permit-holders?
  5. Is it possible to identify the shooter and area where a kangaroo has been shot from the carcass and/or skin tag?
  6. Law enforcement - how many law enforcement staff and what are their duties? How many rangers are involved with kangaroo management and what are their duties?

Appendix 4 South Australian field processor proficiency course

Title: Field Processor Proficiency Course

Duration: 6 hours Cost: $140 Maximum Group Size: 10

Venue: Generally at a station on which permission has been obtained to hold the course.

Theory component: a room that can comfortably seat the group, with facilities suitable for use of an overhead projector and video (ie 240 volt power).

Practical: a location where targets may be located safely and fired at, during hours of darkness, under conditions that replicate those in the field.

Prerequisites: Employment in (or nominated by an employer from) the Industry, current Firearms Licence.

Materials needed: Notebook or pad, pencil and pen. May bring own rifle and equipment or use that supplied by training provider; require minimum calibre .222 Rem rifle, scoped and ammunition to suit.

Shooting will be conducted at nighttime, target illuminated by a spotlight. Shooting carried out from a vehicle with shooting platform / rest.

Target frames with life-sized kangaroo head targets will be situated at a distance of 100 metres, in front of suitable back-stop.

Content:

  1. Firearms Safety - 8 rules of safety, danger zones, states of readiness, target identification
  2. Firearms Related Laws - Firearms Act, Summary Offences Act, Summary Procedures Act, National Parks and Wildlife Act, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Pastoral Land Management Act, Explosives Act.
  3. Firearms Operation - interior, exterior and terminal ballistics, troubleshooting, accuracy, sight adjustment and zeroing, equipment maintenance (sights, bore care, care of stocks and metal surfaces, spotlight maintenance)
  4. Reloading of Ammunition - safety, methods, testing
  5. Accurate Shooting - ethics, physiology and anatomy of kangaroos, shooting technique (target identification, shooting position, range estimation, breathing, sight picture, trigger control, follow through) skills acquisition & improvement

Assessment: Multiple Choice theory test of ½ hour duration, practical zeroing test (make a rifle shoot so as to hit point of aim), accuracy tests (shoot a 5 shot group of no more than 80 mm diameter at 100 metres range, under field conditions at night, using a centrefire rifle)

 

Appendix 5 Survey sent to veterinarians and animal carers

 

(a)  Letter to veterinarians and animal carers

The RSPCA Australia has been commissioned by Environment Australia to undertake an investigation into cruelty in kangaroo killing. A similar investigation was carried out 1984 and the results from this investigation were used to develop the current 'Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos'.

One aspect of this investigation is the degree of cruelty associated with the killing of kangaroos by non-commercial, recreational or illegal shooters. To obtain information about kangaroos that have been killed or injured by such shooters it was decided to survey people and groups associated with the caring and rehabilitation of native animals.

The purpose of the survey is to collate information on methods used to kill kangaroos. Even though the project is designed to identify cruelty aspects, it is not our intention to single out specific acts of cruelty, name individuals or attempt prosecutions for cruelty. The information will, however, be considered in any future Code of Practice.

The scope of the investigations covers the commercial kangaroo industry, culling operations and illegal shooting activities. Once all of the information is collected then assessments will be made on the methods of killing from an animal welfare perspective.

The project is an important one as far as the animal welfare aspects of kangaroo killing is concerned and we would appreciate your assistance in completing the attached survey form and returning it to the RSPCA in the envelope provided.

Thank you for your assistance, and we look forward to your early reply.

 

(b)  Summary of responses

 

Question 1: If you are a veterinarian is your practice private or are you employed by the government?

 

NSW

Qld

SA

WA

ACT

Vic

Total

 

Private

158

134

35

51

1

1

380

Government

27

21

1

11

0

0

60

 

Question 2: Have you treated kangaroos with injuries resulting from obvious acts of cruelty?

 

Yes

No

Number (if yes)

 

Veterinarians

26 (5.9%)

416 (94.1%)

150

Carers

15 (60%)

10 (40%)

37

 

Question 3: How were the injuries inflicted?

Injury

Vets

% Total

Carers

% Total

Combined

% Total

 

Rifle

20

13.3

8

21.6

28

14.9

Shotgun

24

16.0

4

10.8

24

12.8

Knife

12

8.0

2

5.4

14

7.5

Vehicle

76

50.7

11

29.7

87

46.5

Snare

0

0

2

5.4

2

1.1

Bow/arrow

1

0.7

2

5.4

3

1.6

Dog

4

2.7

1

2.7

5

2.7

Iron bar

0

0

1

2.7

1

0.5

Inexperienced carers

2

1.3

2

5.4

4

2.1

Unspecified

11

7.3

4

10.8

15

8.0

 

TOTALS

150

 

37

 

187

 
 

Question 4: Have you inspected or heard about dead kangaroos with injuries resulting from obvious acts of cruelty?

 

Yes

No

Number (if yes)

 

Veterinarians

23 (5.3%)

409 (94.7%)

77

Carers

14 (60.9%)

9 (39.1%)

38

 

Question 5: How were these injuries inflicted?

Injury

Vets

% Total

Carers

% Total

Combined

% Total

 

Rifle

27

35.1

9

23.6

36

31.3

Shotgun

16

20.8

4

10.5

20

17.4

Knife

3

3.9

2

5.3

5

4.3

Vehicle

23

29.9

12

31.6

35

30.4

Snare

0

0

2

5.3

2

1.7

Bow/arrow

1

1.3

2

5.3

3

2.6

Dog

3

3.9

2

5.3

5

4.3

Bashed

2

2.6

1

2.6

3

2.6

Inexperienced carers

2

2.6

0

0

2

1.7

Unspecified

0

0

4

10.5

4

3.5

 

TOTALS

77

 

38

 

115

 
 

Question 6: Do kangaroo drives occur in your area? If yes, are they common or uncommon?

 

Veterinarians

Carers

Total

 

Yes

97

13

110 (25.8%)

No

305

10

315 (74.1%)

Common

16

6

22 (20% of 110)

Uncommon

61

6

67 (61% of 110)

 

Question 7: Who takes part in these kangaroo drives?

Group

Veterinarians

Carers

Total

 

Professional Shooters

55

5

60 (33.1%)

Weekend Shooters

21

11

32 (17.7%)

Property Owners

72

12

84 (46.4%)

Others

2

3

5 (2.8%)

 

Total

   

181 [1]

 

Question 8: Do you know about any instances of kangaroos being poisoned?

 

Veterinarians

Carers

Total

 

Yes

7

1

8 (1.7%)

No

440

23

463

 

Question 9: By whom?

Group

Veterinarians

Carers

Total

 

Professional Shooters

4

0

4

Property Owners

4

1

5

Others

2

0

2

 

Question 10: Which group is responsible for killing the largest number of kangaroos in your area?

Group

Veterinarians

Carers

Total

 

Professional Shooters

113

3

116 (32.8%)

Weekend Shooters

29

9

38 (10.7%)

Property Owners

112

15

127 (35.9%)

Other

68

5

73 (20.6%)

 

Total

   

354

 

Appendix 6 Conclusions of the 1985 Report

7.2 CONCLUSIONS

  1. If achieved correctly, kangaroo culling is considered one of the most humane forms of animal slaughter. An animal killed instantly within its own environment is under less stress than domestic stock that have been herded, penned, transported, etc.
  2. A study of the effects of head shooting kangaroos showed that the brain was destroyed on the bullet's impact and that death could be considered instantaneous.
  3. There was a greater chance of inhumane slaughter if a kangaroo was chest shot rather than head shot. Inaccuracy in both methods results in wounding of the kangaroo and, if not relocated and killed, will result in a slow death. There was a higher chance of wounding with a chest shot than a head shot. Head shooting from the front of an animal may require a different form of projectile than those used at present and a head shot from the side is the recommended technique.
  4. The shooting of kangaroos can be likened to the technique used to slaughter rabbits i.e. instantaneous death without stunning or to a one-stage animal slaughter method i.e. stunning and death very close together.
  5. Some of the criteria used in the slaughter of domestic animals should be applied to the culling of kangaroos. These include the consecutive stunning and killing of one animal at a a time i,e. finding all wounded animals and the regular checking of all equipment by a licensed authority.
  6. Other methods reportedly used to kill kangaroos cannot be considered humane. These are hip shots, kangaroo drives, dogs, poisons and snares.
  7. The incident of head shot i.e. humanely killed, kangaroos within the kangaroo industry is not as high as that usually quoted. From the survey the overall proportion of head shot kangaroos in Australia was 85%. There is considerable variation between states, with N.S.W. having a 95% incident of head shots and 81% in Western Australia.
  8. The variation in the percentage of head shots is based upon industry demands and the preference and abilities of professional shooters.
  9. All full-time professional shooters observed maintained a high standard in their shooting technique and equipment. There was no evidence of intentional cruelty from these shooters.
  10. There is a high proportion of part-time kangaroo shooters in the industry (about 90%). Many of these are unskilled i shooting techniques and are the main contributors of inhumanely shot kangaroos.
  11. There are several ways in which the industry should reduce the amount of cruelty during kangaroo culling. The industry should be stronger in its demands for humanely killed kangaroos by only using full-time shooters and only accepting head shot carcasses and skins.
  12. There should be a checking system of carcasses and skins by an appropriate authority and any shooter and/or processor should lose its license if found to have inhumanely killed kangaroos. There should be a check on all licensed shooters equipment and ability to shoot.
  13. There is a need for further research into the impact of projectiles upon kangaroos and into the humane disposal of pouch young.
  14. The incidence of cruelty within the non-commercial sector is higher than that found with professional shooters. Many farmers etc. use inhumane methods of killing kangaroos e.g. chest shots, shotguns, small calibre rifles, kangaroo drives, etc.
  15. Cruelty associated with non-commercial kangaroo culling is neglected by the authorities and there is no control over the number of kangaroos killed and the methods used.
  16. Reduction of cruelty during non-commercial culling could occur by education of the landholders, stricter gun licensing laws and the use of 'Wildlife Controllers' paid by the government via the royalty tag fee.
  17. There are two types of illegal culling, commercial and fun shooters. The illegal commercial shooter still needs to be relatively humane when killing kangaroos because of the standards set by the industry into which the shooter must sell. The fun shooter is not so humane and a high incidence of cruelty occurs in this type of kangaroo culling.
  18. There is a tolerance by some landholders to illegal shooting as it eliminates kangaroos without cost to them.
  19. Suggestions for ways of reducing incidence of cruelty during illegal culling include imposing stricter controls on the marketing of carcasses and skins, a greater degree of self-regulation by the kangaroo industry, more law enforcement staff, use of 'Wildlife Controllers', stricter gun laws and conducting a moderate but professionally presented public awareness campaign.
  20. Each of the recommendations are in R.S.P.C.A. Australia's view not difficult to implement. Initially R.S.P.C.A. Australia see the establishment of the whole Wildlife Controllers program being referred to Council of Nature Conservation Ministers (CONCOM) for their consideration and implementation. R.S.P.C.A. Australia would recommend to CONCOM that this scheme be implemented in a decentralised way in co-operation with the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (ANPWS). Each state and territory will appoint its own Wildlife Controller who should be an officer with adequate policing powers. This officer would keep a 'register of professional shooters' and have a 800 telephone number which would allow farmers and those affected by large numbers of kangaroos to contact his state Wildlife Controller for the price of a local call. The officer after checking that a permit has been issued would then arrange for a professional shooter or shooters to carry out the necessary culling. He would receive payment for his time at an appropriate level including allowances and expenses under the same terms as that provided to a State or Territory Public Servant.
  21. The funding of the 'Wildlife Controllers' would come via the current royalty tag arrangement at 10 cents a carcass, which was originally implemented to be used for the Conservation of Wildlife but appears to be simply fed into consolidated revenue in each State.
  22. The operation of Wildlife Controllers should be expanded to cover other species of animals if culling was thought to be absolutely necessary. But to ensure all considerations are met on animal welfare and humane grounds R.S.P.C.A. Australia propose that a body called The Wildlife Control Conference (WCC) be established which would meet annually to discuss these matters and hear reports from each Wildlife Controller and to further make recommendations to CONCOM if necessary.
  23. WCC would consist of the Director of the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service or his nominee, each state Wildlife Controlling Officer or nominee, a representative from R.S.P.C.A. Australia and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). A secretariat to be established in the A.N.P.W.S. to co-ordinate and to service the states and territories and to prepare agendas and minutes for meetings as well as other administrative duties.
  24. The public relations campaign should be conducted by the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service in consultation with R.S.P.C.A. Australia. A series of commercials be prepared using the more well known native commercial animals (i.e. koala, kangaroo, possum, wombat, galah or parrot and so on) which could be shown free on community announcement time. The only cost involved would be in the preparation of the commercials. If these commercials are well presented in an educational way, which highlights the value of native animals, the community itself will then ensure that non-commercial culling, illegal shooting and acts of cruelty, not only of kangaroos but of all other native animals, are reduced.

Appendix 7 Recommendations from the 1985 Report relating to the Code of Practice

7.3.3  Code of Practice

The Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos for February, 1985 is given in Appendix 7. This Code endeavours to set an achievable standard of humane conduct and is the minimum required of persons shooting kangaroos. Overall, there are few changes suggested by the present report. One recommended change is to eliminate the use of shotguns from the code, until a more thorough investigation of its impact upon kangaroos and wallabies has taken place. As pointed out in section 3.4, existing data tends to show that a humane kill is not always possible using a shotgun at 30 metres.

Although the fire-arm/ammunition combination are described adequately in the Code, there is no mention of restricting the use of military or full metal jacketed bullets.

In addition other amendments to the Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos should include:

  1. Page 5. 'Paragraph 3'. Each animal shot should be checked to ensure it is dead before another is targeted. - Item (i) under 'Conditions' ought to reflect this too.
  2. Page 6 'Conditions' (v). It may be necessary to shoot and this should be an option.
  3. Page 5. As a general comment, references to skilled shooters in paragraphs 1 and 3 and 'when a high standard of marksmanship prevails', should perhaps be deleted or rearranged so that there is no impression that unskilled shooters or any other standard of marksmanship other than very high could ever be acceptable.
  4. Page 6. 'shooting for Scientific Purpose' preamble, last sentence may provide an option and should be reworded to read 'Such variations must never detract from the primary etc'.
  5. Page 6 'Conditions' (ii) (a). Only if there is an Animal Care and Ethics Committee at the applicant's institution which has examined and approved the proposal.
  6. Page 6 'Conditions' (iii). The waivering of any requirements of this code shall not relieve the shooter of the absolute requirement to provide a sudden and painless death for the kangaroos.
  7. Page8 'Schedule 2' - diagram for a shot to the brain. Perhaps it should be noted that a side shot is preferred due to the size of target compared to that of a frontal shot.

[1] Some respondents put down more than one group for this question