An estimated two thousand emus-a wild Australian bird similar to the Ostrich - have been slaughtered in a two day shooting spree in Western Australia.
GV: Emus running along fence and across road (2 shots)
GV: Emus running into fences (2 shots)
CU: Dying Emu PULL OUT TO conservationist checking to see if it's alive
SV: Animals being killed shooting and clubbing
tracking shot along dead Emus
Thousands of dead Emus along road
The continuing dry spell in Western Australia is driving tens of thousands of Emus south, in search of food. They travel in large groups, some as large as two thousand or more. The emu cannot fly but can run all day without a rest. By the time they have reached their annual destination they have travelled more than 300 miles (500 kilometres).
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Background: An estimated two thousand emus-a wild Australian bird similar to the Ostrich - have been slaughtered in a two day shooting spree in Western Australia. Conservationists and government wildlife officers condemned the killings as "mass murder".
SYNOPSIS: The sight of the huge birds running south to new pastures is said to be one of the most impressive Western Australia has to offer. These days they follow the vermin fence which is designed to keep them out of agricultural areas. Occasionally they head off the track and into the scrub for food and water. When they're starving even the fence won't stop them.
Emus are not a protected animal like many others in Australia. And this gives farmers, or anyone else, the right to kill them if they're caught on private property. However, those responsible for this slaughter, broke the law by shooting along the vermin proof fence, and on the roadway. No one involved is prepared to say, but wildlife officials think that these Emus were blasted with shotguns, rifles and even run down by cars. Two days after the shooting spree, protection officers were still finding wounded birds, that had been left to die a slow agonising death.
A wildlife protection officer described the slaughter as a needless and useless exercise. He accused local farmers and other people who were there "probably for the sport", as being responsible. It's estimated that two thousand Emus died in the shooting spree.