Did you to see the story on 7:30 during the week about Indigenous people hunting turtles and dugongs up in the Torres Strait? It was socking, and I’d like to know if you think there ought to be an outright ban on this sort of hunt.
The story showed footage of Indigenous hunters hauling an exhausted sea turtle up onto the beach to butcher it. The animal was very much alive. At first the hunters tried to stun it by smashing a cement block against its head, but when that didn’t work they proceeded with the butchering whilst the poor turtle was still fully conscious.
They hacked off its fins as the creature moaned in pain. And then the hunters ran their knife around the underside of the turtle to remove the shell – only then did this poor animal let out one final scream. The entire death too 7 minutes. You can watch the ABC story here.
I challenge anyone to tell me that that is no less barbaric than what we’ve seen going on in the Indonesian slaughter houses.
But here’s the catch, currently there’s nothing that can be done to prosecute the people who did this. Native title laws permit them to catch and kill native animals – even endangered ones like the sea turtle – for their food needs.
Well I think that has to change. Native title can not be allowed to protect people who engage in animal cruelty.
The ABC also found evidence of dugongs being towed behind boats and drowned, and even cases of dugongs being butchered while still alive as well.
The bottom line is there can be no excuse for any of this. The Queensland government has launched an inquiry, but as they’re in caretaker mode not much is likely to happen.
The RSPCA have come out and said they’ve known about and been concerned about these practices for years. And they also say it could take years to change the Indigenous approach to hunting. Well I say that’s simply not good enough.
As I said, animal cruelty is animal cruelty and it should not be tolerated. If laws – in particular the native title act – need to change then so be it.