Known animal rights activist Dr Dror Ben-Ami appeared among a group of relatively open-minded presenters at the 2011 Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference to completely shun the concept of kangaroos as pests, exposing his true agenda. The Voiceless board member took to the stage for 15 minutes to talk about the research done by THINKK, a University of Technology, Sydney, group that essentially wants to stop all killing of kangaroos in Australia. The group fosters the belief that kangaroos do not have any pest animal qualities in today’s society and all assumptions otherwise are based on outdated research.
During his presentation, Dr Ben-Ami touted that the pest status of kangaroos has been overstated, and issues between livestock and kangaroo competition only occurs during drought. On several occasions, he said that kangaroos were not ‘proven’ to be overabundant; it was just assumed and this assumption was incorrect. However, he did not offer further elaboration as to why this was incorrect. He highlighted welfare issues with anything other than a ‘brain-shot’ kill, welfare issues with young being killed, the lack of auditing of hunting and the commercial shooting.
It was during three questions at the end that his point came undone. Perhaps the most entertaining was the probing from Dr Rosie Cooney from the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales. Dr Cooney observed that by Dr Ben-Ami’s reasoning, sheep and cattle also shouldn’t be killed, as they are not pest animals, there are welfare issues with young and with methods of killing. His answer fell back on the theory that kangaroos are not pests and while there is a kangaroo meat industry, he still believed kangaroos should not be killed. The final question forced Dr Ben-Ami to reveal that THINKK’s research was actually only a review of a specific and biased selection of existing literature and was not based on current field research, which the audience was led to believe.
It appears that THINKK will continue to hit brick walls at conferences like this, basically due to their bias. Their mission is to shut down the kangaroo industry, and they use selective and outdated research to fool those in the general community in the hope that they can mislead them into helping their cause.