Close to a thousand wallabies, an animal related to the kangaroo, were slaughtered last Sunday (7 May) in a day-long shooting hunt centred.
SV Gunmen through bush
GV Rifleman shooting wallaby
GV Two men firing (NATURAL SOUND BEGINS)
CU Participants listening to questions...
SOUND STARTS: "Accusations have been made......."
CU Clem Cale and scenes of hunt laid over
SOUND ENDS: "....I have never seen them" (13 shots)
GUNMEN THROUGH BUSH; WALLABY; GUNMAN SHOOTING; CALE SPEAKING; HUNT IN PROGRESS.
REPORTER: "Accusations have been made about this shoot and some say there's cruelty. How do you feel about this criticism?"
CALE: "Uh, well, I don't think there's any cruelty, because it's your wits against him, and you can't give him any latitude yo've got to kill him if you can, first up. And furthermore, cartridges are such a big price, that you just can't waste cartridges shotting at ridiculous distances. And that's why I think that there's no cruelty because all the shooters, they don't just shoot at random just for fun. They shoot to kill."
REPORTER: "A member of the National Parks and Wildlife Authority, Dr. Guylar, says that the shoot has an image of being a cruel and drunken day for amateur marksmen. Do you think this is correct?"
CALE: "No, definitely not correct. Any -- well, I can only speak for our party. We've got no room for a drunkie, or he won't be with us, he won't be shotten' with us."
REPORTER: "Do many of the shooters who do take part drink heavily before the shoot?"
CALE: "I've never seen them".
Initials ES.1140 ES.1155
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Close to a thousand wallabies, an animal related to the kangaroo, were slaughtered last Sunday (7 May) in a day-long shooting hunt centred. in Avoca, Tasmania -- Australia's southern state. The shoot is an annual affair and is described by its organisers, a local football club, as a sporting event. Naturalists have expressed concern, however, over the wholsesale killings.
Some 200 gunmen from all over Australia took part in the hunt, which has taken place for the past eleven years. This year, the organisers said there were some 500 fewer wallabies killed. Prizes were awarded for the person who'd killed the most.
The wallaby population in the Avoca area is estimated at between 40,000 and 50,000. The hunt organisers say the killing helps cut the herd down from pest dimensions. But there's been much criticism of the hunt and the way in which the so-called sportsmen go about it.
Wildlife preservation officials have called the slaughter "disgusting" and "barbaric butchery". They also state the hunts will result in the species' disappearance.
Local farmers, however, side with the hunters. And when the crew from the Australian Broadcasting Commission who supplied this material were filming in the area, they reported they were punched by residents outside the local public house. The farmers claim that wallabies compete with sheep on grazing grounds and, they say,the species can survive the culling anyway.
Scientists in Australia feel, however, that the risk to the species from the spread of civilisation and the activities of hunters is so great that they're re-introducing wallabies into Australia from New Zealand, where the animal is flourishing.
One of the shooters, Clem Cale, spoke about the Avoca hunt in an interview with a reporter from the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
SYNOPSIS: shooters in southern Australian state of Tasmania killed nearly a thousand wallabies in a hunt in Avoca which ended last Sunday. The shoot is de described by its football club organisers as a sporting event. But wildlife officials disagree and say there's real danger to the species. Local farmers side with the hunters, though. They say that wallabies compete with sheep for grazing land. But scientists have imported wallabies from New Zealand to preserve the species. A shooter spoke about the hunt.