ACTION UPDATE! Legislation has now been introduced to amend the Animal Care and Protection Act and the Native Title Act to ensure that turtles and dugongs killed under indigenous hunting rights are protected under Queensland cruelty laws. This does not prevent Indigenous Australians from hunting turtles and dugongs; it simply allows the minority of people who use these traditional rights and treat animals cruelly to be prosecuted under animal protection laws. The legislation still needs to be passed by the state government, so please watch this space for further updates.
Following undercover investigations and video footage of turtle and dugong hunting shown on the 7.30 Report on ABC, Premier Campbell Newman pledged to remove exemptions in Queensland state law to ensure that it is illegal for anyone to wound, mutilate or torture an animal.
While the Native Title Act 1993 will still allow traditional owners to hunt these animals, this change in state law would prevent anyone from being exempt from prosecution under cruelty laws.
Turtles are currently listed as endangered and dugongs as vulnerable, with limited information available on their dwindling numbers. Most importantly, they feel pain and distress as any animal does. Methods of slaughter that cause unnecessary pain and suffering to these gentle animals should be forbidden under Queensland law.
Please remind Premier Campbell Newman of his pledge to remove cruelty-to-animals exemption laws within 100 days of gaining office by sending him a polite e-mail: [email protected].
Posted by Ashley Fruno