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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Kangaroo cull plan sparks anger
Kangaroos
Culls of kangaroos have proved controversial in the past
Plans to cull more than 3,000 kangaroos roaming near the Australian capital Canberra have been labelled cruel and violent by animal rights groups.

Defence officials say the animals are near starvation. They have asked the local authorities for permission to cull almost half the area's population.

Campaigners claim there is no evidence of starvation, and have pledged to protest if the cull is approved.

Canberra's local government is deciding whether to grant a shooting licence.

"Our concerns are for the welfare of the animals and the potential for a starvation event," city official Russell Watkinson told ABC radio.

The defence department already runs a pilot scheme using food laced with contraceptives to try to thin the kangaroo population in the area.

But military officials say the problem near their Majura training area is so severe that they cannot wait for the scheme to take effect.

They want to shoot 3,200 common grey kangaroos by July.

Mary Hayes, of local campaign group Animal Liberation, said a cull would burden the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) with a worldwide reputation for cruelty.

"It is a very cruel, violent way to treat animals - on a par to just treating them as if they were weeds to be mown or pulled out," she said.

And Pat O'Brien, another wildlife campaigner, said the cull plan was "just an excuse to kill them".

"If they go ahead with it, they are going to be sorry. We will do whatever it takes to stop this," he said.

According to the ACT's government, the Canberra area contains the densest populations of kangaroos ever recorded.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Animal rights spokesman on the planned cull



SEE ALSO
Australia eyes pill for kangaroos
23 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Kangaroos 'scared by own noise'
23 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Kangaroo meat rebranding launched
19 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Australia
09 May 07 |  Country profiles

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