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Social Studies
Grade: Middle

#2814. Animals in Scoiety

Social Studies, level: Middle
Posted Wed Feb 12 03:57:54 PST 2003 by Kate Fowler (katef@petaref.org).
PETA Research & Education Foundation, UK
Materials Required: The pack of lesson plans which are free from info@petaref.org.uk
Activity Time: as much or as little as required
Concepts Taught: Animal welfare and animal rights

One example of a lesson plan is:

Kangaroo Killing: Write and Perform

Davey and Karl have been invited to your school to take part in a debate. Write the dialogue that ensues and perform it with a friend to the class.

Davey Jackson is 32 and has been opposed to the killing of kangaroos in Australia all his life. He sees them as a beautiful symbol of Australia that needs protection and campaigns for an end to their killing.

The Campaigner's View:

* Millions of kangaroos are shot every year. For some death is instant but many are hit in the throat, neck or body and are left to die slowly. Once shot, kangaroos have their legs slit open and a hook inserted. They are then hauled onto the truck and hung by that leg, many still fully conscious and writhing in agony.

* Not all shooters are licensed professionals, in fact up to 90% are amateurs. There are many reports of drunk shooters taking pot-shots at any animal that moves. Shooters are not required to prove their marksmanship before licenses are issued or that they understand the code of conduct.

* The Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos is actually a voluntary code. No licenses are revoked or suspended if the code is broken. And who would ever find out? Shooters work in remote areas late at night. The code in unenforceable.

* Joeys in the pouch are supposed to be killed quickly but in reality once their mother has been killed, they are kicked around like a football, stamped on, smashed against a wheel brace or simply left to die. Older joeys are abandoned, left to die of starvation or cold on their own.

* This land is the natural home for kangaroos, not sheep and cattle. Even if kangaroos did compete with farmed animals (and evidence shows that it is these introduced animals that have a negative impact on the 'roos), it's clear who has the right to stay and who should go. Kangaroos are perfectly suited to this land while cattle and sheep only destroy the environment.

* The largest 'roos are shot because they offer the greatest profit. But this leaves the smaller, weaker kangaroos to breed, thus threatening the long-term viability of the species.

* Since the settlement of Europeans in this country, six species of macropod have become extinct and another 17 are classed as vulnerable. How many more native species do we want to lose forever?


Karl Adams is 40 and makes a living shooting kangaroos for the meat and leather industries. He sees them as a natural, renewable resource and wants to promote his trade as legitimate and acceptable.
The Shooter's View:

* I am a professional shooter, fully trained and licensed to shoot kangaroos. There are strict government laws - Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos - that I must comply with to ensure that kangaroos do not suffer. I stick to that code at all times.

* Shooting kangaroos is the quickest, cleanest way to kill them. A single shot through the head means death is instantaneous and that they don't suffer. No other method of killing is as quick. If I thought they suffered I couldn't do my job.

* Wildlife rangers regularly conduct unannounced inspections to make sure that everything is in order and that the rules are not flouted. Those people found committing cruel acts to kangaroos are dealt with under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals legislation.

* Sad to say, kangaroos are a pest. They destroy wheat crops and compete for resources with sheep and cattle. Their numbers need to be managed anyway so it makes sense to use their meat and skin. That way, their life is not wasted.

* Eating kangaroo is no different to eating any other animal. I don't understand why
people get so upset about them when they continue to eat cows and sheep. At least kangaroos live wild and are free all their lives, not imprisoned in factory farms like pigs and chickens are.

* Kangaroo leather and meat are important exportable products. Our country prospers from this renewable resource and this is great news for our economy.

* Each State sets a quota for the year to ensure that we do not take too many kangaroos from the wild. This way we can ensure that a strong and healthy population remains. After all, the last thing we want is to drive them to extinction. That would mean the end of my business and would be a sad day for Australian wildlife.

Discussion:

Ethicist Peter Singer states: 'To treat animals as resources, and argue about when use is sustainable, is a classic example of economic rationalism running heedlessly over non-economic values. We should no more hand our wild animals over to the tender mercies of the market forces than we should hand our children over to the same market forces.'

Do you agree?


For your FREE hard copy of the pack which has 11 lesson plans, email us at info@petaref.org.uk and we'll get one in the post to you!