What is a social licence to operate? Social licence is as important as a formal regulatory licence to operate but it is informal and intangible and is issued by communities rather than a government agency, and may be gained or lost through complex processes with high levels of uncertainty. Social licence also requires active maintenance over time. It is dynamic and may change over time because public beliefs and perceptions can change over time.
- The development of a new code of practice for the commercial harvesting of kangaroos
- Animal harms and food production: informing ethical choices
- The Australian kangaroo industry: male only harvesting, sustainability and an assessment of animal welfare impacts
- Characterising the Australian public and communicating about kangaroo management
- Social acceptability of pest animal management in meeting TGP targets
- Thought again: fair criticism or a muddle-headed grandstanding?
- Kangaroo Court: Enforcement of the law governing commercial kangaroo killing
- Kangaroos at risk: nomination to List the Large Macropods as threatened species under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act
- Compassionate versus consequentialist conservation
- Advocating kangaroo meat: towards ecological benefit or plunder?
- Bringing Compassion to the Ethical Dilemma in Killing Kangaroos for Conservation
- THINKK again: getting the facts straight on kangaroo harvesting and conservation
- Evaluation of organised tourism involving wild kangaroos
- The fatal flaws of compassionate conservation
- People and the Kangaroo Harvest in the South Australian Rangelands
- The welfare ethics of the commercial killing of free-ranging kangaroos: an evaluation of the benefits and costs of the industry
- Welfare implications of commercial kangaroo killing: Do the ends justify the means?
- Envisioning the future with “compassionate conservation”: An ominous projection for native wildlife and biodiversity
- International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control
- Gunpowder-powered captive bolts for the euthanasia of kangaroo pouch young
- Long-acting contraceptives: a new tool to manage overabundant kangaroo populations in nature reserves and urban areas
- Makings of Icons: Alan Newsome, the Red Kangaroo and the Dingo
- Stakeholder judgements of the social acceptability of control practices for kangaroos, unmanaged goats and feral pigs in the south-eastern rangelands of Australia
- Public attitudes to animal welfare and landholder resource limitations: implications for total grazing pressure management in the southern rangelands of Australia
- Do concerns about kangaroo management represent an existential threat for the red meat industry in the southern Australian rangelands?
- An assessment of animal welfare for the culling of peri-urban kangaroos
- The role of inspections in the commercial kangaroo industry
- Social and cultural dimensions of commercial kangaroo harvest in South Australia
- Support for Indigenous wildlife management in Australia
- The role of kangaroos in Australian tourism
(McLeod & Sharp, 2020)
This report presents an overview of the process and consultations to develop a revised national code of practice for the commercial harvesting of kangaroo. The report includes the results from public consultation on the new code and survey results on attitudes and understanding of kangaroo harvesting.
(Hampton, Hyndman, Allen, & Fischer, 2021)
Consideration of animal welfare in food choices has become an influential contemporary theme. Traditional animal welfare views about food have been largely restricted to direct and intentional harms to livestock in intensive animal agriculture settings. However, many harms to animals arising from diverse food production practices in the world are exerted indirectly and unintentionally and often affect wildlife. Here we apply a qualitative analysis of food production by considering the breadth of harms caused by different food production systems to wild as well as domestic animals. Production systems are identified that produce relatively few and relatively many harms. The ethical implications of these findings are discussed for consumers concerned with the broad animal welfare impacts of their food choices.
The Australian kangaroo industry: male only harvesting, sustainability and an assessment of animal welfare impacts
(McLeod & Sharp, 2020)
The purpose of this study was to look closely at the impacts that this policy change had on several issues: the welfare of kangaroos; the sustainability of commercial kangaroo harvesting; the population dynamics of kangaroos; and the attitudes and perceptions of landholders. The methods used to address these issues include the following: expert assessment of the animal welfare impacts of commercial harvesting practices and comparing commercial harvesting with other methods of managing kangaroos; a review of the ecological sustainability of harvesting; simulation modelling to predict the long-term effects on kangaroo populations and the environment; and a survey of landholder attitudes toward the male-only harvesting policy.
Sharp, Trudy M, McLeod, Steven R & Hine, Donald W RIRDC Project No. PRJ-008967 (2014) (Sharp, McLeod, Steven R, & Hine, Donald W, 2014)
The management of kangaroos is often the subject of considerable controversy, both within Australia and abroad, yet there has been very little research to determine why this issue attracts such a high level of concern, or how extensive the concern is. There is also confusion about how best to communicate with the public about this sensitive issue. This report presents the results from formative research that identifies the different kangaroo management mindsets within the Australian community and how these different groups respond to different forms of kangaroo management messagesLatent profile analysis using a range of psychological and behavioural variables revealed three distinctive groups who share similar views and understandings about kangaroo management.
(Sinclair, Atkinson, Curtis, & Hacker, 2018)
This research drew upon a mix of quantitative and qualitative data and reviewed literature to explore how the management of both native and feral herbivores impacts on the social license to operate of the red meat industry. The key research questions were: Which stakeholder groups are most influential in shaping public perception, policy and management initiatives? What are the options to control these species and their relative merits? What are the attitudes of key stakeholder to those control measures?
(Croft, Ben-Ami, Ramp, & Boom, 2012)A response by the THINKK group to an article by Cooney, Baumber, Ampt, Wilson, Smits & Web called “THINKK again: getting the facts straight on kangaroo harvesting and conservation published in Science Under Siege.
(Boom, Ben-Ami, Dror, & Boronyak, Louise, 2012)
This report seeks to provide an assessment of enforcement in relation to the commercial kangaroo industry, focusing particularly upon enforcement of the Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies. The Code provides the principal regulatory instrument for the kangaroo industry by establishing national standards for the killing of adult kangaroos and dependent young. The Code itself is not enforceable, but gains enforceability through integration into the state laws. This report investigates which government agencies are responsible for compliance in the kangaroo industry and; whether they carried out regular and adequate inspections; what types of breaches had been detected; how breaches were addressed; rates of prosecution, conviction and sentencing for breaches of law in the kangaroo industry and whether or not the standards of compliance and enforcement in the kangaroo industry could be improved. The report is very critical of the standards of compliance and enforcement.
Kangaroos at risk: nomination to List the Large Macropods as threatened species under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act
Mjadwesch, R (20.12.2011)
(2 November, 2018)
This submission was made in 2011 to request that the four major macropod species be added to the threatened species list in NSW. The submission was prepared by a practicing ecologist in response to a cull of Eastern Grey Kangaroos at Mount Panorama in 2009 in preparation for the Bathurst 1000. The submission explores the status quo of kangaroos in Australia and the polarisation of views regarding this iconic animal. The author challenges the concept that European settlement has improved conditions for large macropods – explaining it is a myth that has been generated by an uncritical and uninformed media. The submission is long but makes little attempt to be unbiased or neutral. The author is highly critical of landholders, scientists and government and uses “inverted commas” liberally to imply a lack of credibility. The submission is highly critical of the way that kangaroos are counted and goes so far as to suggest that OEH-NPWS is complicit with the harvest industry. The author is critical of all kangaroo management methods including: shooting, managing artificial water points and fencing and even nominates “proliferation of roads as a key threatening process” to kangaroo populations.
(Hampton, Warburton, & Sandoe, 2018)
Addresses issues with term compassionate conservation as it takes a narrow view of animal welfare by primarily considering what is intentionally done to animals by humans and putting less focus on what happens broadly to animals as a result of anthropogenic processes.
(Ben-Ami, Croft, Ramp, & Boom, 2010)
This report was produced by THINKK, who claim their mission is to foster understanding among Australians about kangaroos in a sustainable landscape, through critically reviewing the scientific evidence underpinning kangaroo management practices and exploring non-lethal management options that are consistent with ecology, animal welfare, human health and ethics. These authors claim that scientific evidence does not stack up for utilising kangaroo as a resource, but instead recommend eco-tourism. Note, THINKK has a strong relationship with Voiceless, a vocal public opponent of the kangaroo harvest.
(Comment on “Conservation Through Sustainable Use” by Rob Irvine(Ramp, 2013)
Ramp argues that efforts to bring transparency and objectivity to the public debate over the ethics of killing game over livestock have to date been obfuscated by those seeking to maintain entrenched interests.
(Cooney, et al., 2012)
This paper challenges Ben-Ami’s 2010 publication denying the environmental benefits of harvesting kangaroos, and demonstrates that it is inaccurate, lacks academic objectivity and makes several invalid and misleading comparisons.
(Higginbottom, et al., 2003)
Commissioned and funded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare this report analysis current tourism approaches involving wild kangaroos and provides recommendations for developing this field further.
(Oommen, et al., 2019)
This report argues that compassion need not preclude humanely killing an animal if that reduces its suffering, enhances the survival of the species or its habitat, or safeguards human life or other more threatened species. The authors argue that there are fundamental flaws with compassionate conservation as it’s the product of blinkered thinking and fails to understand the interconnected nature of living creatures or the current scale of environmental or social problems. They also argue that conservationists should not presume that one set of anthropomorphized, culturally specific values is universally applicable to all and independent of regional factors or local politics. They argue instead for a broader, culturally informed approach to conservation that fully considers and utilizes the diversity of values and uses of nature.
(Thomsen & Davies, 2007)
This 2007 report addresses a need for better understanding of social and institutional issues impacting on kangaroo management and the kangaroo industry in South Australia. The report also investigates Aboriginal rights, interests and aspirations in relation to commercial kangaroo harvesting.
The welfare ethics of the commercial killing of free-ranging kangaroos: an evaluation of the benefits and costs of the industry
(Ben-Ami, et al., 2014)This paper is produced by members of THINKK (the Think Tank for Kangaroos) and investigates the ethics of the kangaroo harvest and finds them to be lacking compared to the welfare costs.
(Ben-Ami, et al., 2011)
A product of THINKK this report argues that the ends – defined as damage mitigation, commercial value and environmental value – don’t justify the means – defined as dependent young dying as collateral damage, mis-shot adult kangaroos, genetic integrity, compliance and public attitudes. Considering that THINKK is funded by Voiceless, this report understandably finds that those ends they define don’t justify the means they define.
Envisioning the future with “compassionate conservation”: An ominous projection for native wildlife and biodiversity
(Callen, et al., 2020)
The ‘Compassionate Conservation’ movement is gaining momentum through its promotion of ‘ethical’ conservation practices based on self-proclaimed principles of ‘first-do-no-harm’ and ‘individuals matter’. They argue that the tenets of ‘Compassionate Conservation’ are ideological – that is, they are not scientifically proven to improve conservation outcomes, yet are critical of the current methods that do. In this paper they envision a future with ‘Compassionate Conservation’ and predict how this might affect global biodiversity conservation. Taken literally, ‘Compassionate Conservation’ will deny current conservation practices such as captive breeding, introduced species control, biocontrol, conservation fencing, translocation, contraception, disease control and genetic introgression
(Dubois, et al., 2016)
Human–wildlife conflicts are commonly addressed by excluding, relocating, or lethally controlling animals with the goal of preserving public health and safety, protecting property, or conserving other valued wildlife. However, declining wildlife populations, a lack of efficacy of control methods in achieving desired outcomes, and changes in how people value animals have triggered widespread acknowledgment of the need for ethical and evidence-based approaches to managing such conflicts. We explored international perspectives on and experiences with human–wildlife conflicts to develop principles for ethical wildlife control. A diverse panel of 20 experts convened at a 2-day workshop and developed the principles through a facilitated engagement process and discussion
Euthanasia of macropod pouch young becomes necessary in situations when the mother has died as a result of situations such as: culling programs, vehicle collisions, bushfires, dog attacks, and entrapment in fences. Euthanasia methods currently recommended for older (furred) pouch young are contentious, hence the need to develop a more reliable method of euthanasia. To investigate animal welfare outcomes resulting from the use of a gunpowder-powered captive bolt, an independent veterinarian observed euthanasia of 28 furred kangaroo pouch young.
Long-acting contraceptives: a new tool to manage overabundant kangaroo populations in nature reserves and urban areas
When kangaroo populations reach high numbers in reserves and parkland near urban areas there are a number of implications. The animals may pose a risk to their own welfare as the population expands, have a negative effect on other aspects of the local biodiversity or impinge on human activities. In such cases active management of the population may be sought to ameliorate the negative effects. Traditional control techniques such as culling are often out of the question in these circumstances due to social pressures and concerns for human safety. In this paper Herbert reviews three fertility control techniques that are potential management tools for these situations.
(Newsome T. M., 2014)
The red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) and the dingo (Canis dingo) are two of Australia’s iconic mammals. Both are ingrained in the national psyche and well known internationally. For the red kangaroo, recognition has come despite the fact that the highest densities of the species occur well away from most of the human population. The dingo has achieved its status despite being present on the continent for perhaps as little as 3,000 years. This article considers the question of how, and why, these two animals became so elevated in the popular imagination and the scientific literature.
Stakeholder judgements of the social acceptability of control practices for kangaroos, unmanaged goats and feral pigs in the south-eastern rangelands of Australia
(Sinclair, Curtis, Hacker, & Atkinson, 2019)
Total grazing pressure (TGP) is a key driver of productivity in livestock systems in the south-eastern rangelands of Australia. Sustainable grazing in these environments requires the management of grazing pressure from kangaroos, unmanaged goats and feral pigs, as well as livestock. Any practices used to control these species must be socially acceptable. Twenty-four semi-structured interviews with individuals drawn from key stakeholder groups were conducted to assess the acceptability of control practices for each of these species. Commercial shooting was the most acceptable control practice for kangaroos with a much lower acceptance of non-commercial shooting.
Public attitudes to animal welfare and landholder resource limitations: implications for total grazing pressure management in the southern rangelands of Australia
(Sinclair, Curtis, Atkinson, & Hacker, 2019)
Sustainable grazing in the nationally iconic southern rangelands of Australia requires landholders to actively manage the grazing pressure from both domestic livestock and non-domestic herbivores. Landholders have primary responsibility for controlling the non-domestic herbivores. In doing so, they must meet the Australian public’s expectations for resource conservation (mainly a public good) and animal welfare. Governments are also involved in the management of non-domestic herbivores via native and feral animal legislation and control programs. The Australian public will not accept cruelty to animals, perceived or otherwise. In this paper we explore the challenges faced by landholders in their attempts to manage the grazing pressure from native herbivores, particularly kangaroos, feral goats and feral pigs, while meeting the Australian public’s expectations for animal welfare.
Do concerns about kangaroo management represent an existential threat for the red meat industry in the southern Australian rangelands?
(Sinclair, Curtis, & Atkinson, 2019)
Concerns raised, including those voiced by animal rights and vegan activists, have limited the available practices by landholders in the southern Australian rangelands to effectively control kangaroos and, over time, the actions of these groups may threaten the existence of the livestock industry. This paper draws on interviews with key stakeholders and workshops with technical experts and red meat industry participants to identify strategies to respond to this potentially existential threat. Strategies include establishing platforms and processes for effective stakeholder engagement, establishing a unified and resourced industry ‘voice’ to effectively engage with government and other stakeholders, and ensuring that the industry self-regulates in order to avoid the potential for rogue elements to undermine its credibility and trustworthiness.
(Forsyth & Hampton, 2016)
Context Shooting is used to reduce the abundance of kangaroo (Macropus sp.) populations in many peri-urban areas in Australia, but there is uncertainty surrounding the animal welfare outcomes of this practice. Aim We assessed the animal welfare outcomes of night shooting for peri-urban eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus). We quantified the duration of stress for: (1) shot animals; (2) euthanased pouch young; and (3) other animals in the same social group. Methods An independent observer collected thermal imagery data, enabling four key animal welfare parameters to be quantified: instantaneous death rate, median time to death, wounding rate and flight duration of conspecifics. The duration between pouch removal and insensibility was recorded for pouch young. Post-mortem data were recorded to confirm the location and extent of pathology from shooting.
(Boom, Ben Ami, Boronyak, & Riley, 2013)
This article provides an assessment of the enforcement of the law governing commercial kangaroo killing, focusing particularly upon inspectorial practices. Australia’s kangaroo industry is the largest commercial kill of land-based wildlife in the world. Professional shooters hunt kangaroos in rural and remote locations at night. Due to the remote and decentralised nature of the killing, the industry presents unique challenges to law enforcement agencies that are responsible for the enforcement of animal welfare standards. This article focuses upon the role that inspections have in detecting offences within the commercial kangaroo industry. It provides a comparative analysis across the states, highlighting key differences in terms of inspectorial practices and the resulting outcomes. A common theme across all of the jurisdictions is that none of the agencies responsible for enforcement regularly conduct inspections of shooters, making it impossible to ensure that these parties are complying with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies. Recommendations for reform are offered, including stronger compliance policy, higher rates of inspection, increased resourcing and the introduction of alternative methods of inspection.
Kangaroo management is important to the sustainability of Australia’s rangeland landscapes. The commercial harvest of kangaroos assists in reduction of total grazing pressure in the rangelands and provides the potential for supplementary income to pastoralists. Indeed, the commercial kangaroo industry is considered by natural resource scientists as one of the few rural industry development options with potential to provide economic return with minimal environmental impact. While the biology and population ecology of harvested kangaroo species in Australia is the subject of past and present research, the social, institutional and economic issues pertinent to the commercial kangaroo industry are not well understood. Our research is addressing the lack of understanding of social issues around kangaroo management, which are emerging as constraints on industry development.
(Wilson, Edwards & Smits, 2010)
Wildlife managers could play a greater role in ensuring that Indigenous wildlife harvesting is sustainable and helping to address community health and employment challenges facing Indigenous Australians in remote and rural areas. Wildlife managers need to listen more to what Indigenous people say they want from their country and for their people, such as increased game to supplement their diet and security for totemic species, to maintain culture. In pre-colonial Australia, adherence to customary law maintained wildlife species Indigenous Australians wanted. Today the long-term sustainability of Indigenous wildlife harvesting is threatened. Where Indigenous communities lack leadership and other social problems exist, their capacity to apply customary land-and sea-management practices and to operate cultural constraints on wildlife use is reduced. The Indigenous right to hunt should coexist with responsible management.
(Higginbottom, Northrope, Croft, Hill, & Fredline, 2004)
Generally absent from the debate on the management of kangaroos (Macropodoidea) is discussion of their role in tourism. This paper examines the role that kangaroos play in Australian tourism, synthesising the findings of four related projects undertaken recently by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism. It investigates the role of kangaroos in tourism marketing imagery, international tourist demand and existing tourism enterprises, and examines opportunities for future development of tourism involving kangaroos. In order to assess these aspects, experimental studies, interviews, visitor surveys, content analysis of advertising material, postal surveys of wildlife professionals and site visits were conducted.