Australia yesterday vowed to investigate claims that turtles and the threatened dugong are being killed to feed an illegal meat trade after images of an animal being butchered alive sparked new concerns.
The Queensland state government ordered the probe after Aborigine hunters were seen flipping a live sea turtle onto its back and then hitting it on the head with a brick and hacking off its flippers.
Footage on national broadcaster ABC also showed dugongs being cut up for their meat.
State environment minister Vicky Darling said the inquiry would investigate whether those shown had broken the law, which in Queensland allows native titleholders to hunt the animals for personal needs only.
“I was disturbed when I saw the footage, as I expect were many other viewers,” Darling said. “We don’t know if this was traditional hunting by people with native hunting rights — that’s why we need to investigate.”
“If these actions weren’t in accordance with the Native Title Act, then these individuals can expect the full force of the law,” she said.
The footage was recorded using a hidden camera by activists who claim that despite the protected status of sea turtles and dugongs, meat from the animals was being sold illegally.
“The export or commercial sale is very concerning and that’s what we’ll investigate,” Darling added.
Environmental campaigner Rupert Imhoff, who spent two weeks filming in the Torres Strait in northern Queensland, said one turtle was tethered to a rope for up to three days before it was killed.
He said Aborigines routinely chased their prey in motor-powered boats before spearing them, tying the animal’s tail to the boat and then dragging it while holding its head under water until it drowned.
Queensland is home to the Great Barrier Reef, which is brimming with marine life, including the dugong, a plant-eating mammal that can grow up to 3m in length and weigh 400kg.
The long-lived, but slow-breeding dugong, along with the sea turtle, is listed as being vulnerable to extinction.
Animal rights group RSPCA said a long-term plan was needed to combat the problem of how animals were killed by Aborigine hunters.
“Obviously there’s alternatives now so that the animal basically dies instantly and doesn’t die a prolonged death,” RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty told ABC.
‘SPIKES’: Rudy Giuliani at a hearing asked about voting data in Pennsylvania, with a witness saying that 570,000 votes they selected were for Biden and 3,200 for Trump US president-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday said that Americans “won’t stand” for attempts to derail the US election outcome, as US President Donald Trump called for results to be overturned. Biden said in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that Americans “have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results.” “The people of this nation and the laws of the land won’t stand for anything else,” he said. However, Trump is challenging the results, with lawsuits under way in several states. “We have to turn the election over,” he told a hearing in Pennsylvania. “This election was rigged.” “All we need is
‘POLICE EVERYWHERE’: A law that would criminalize the publication of images of police officers was passed by the National Assembly and awaits Senate approval Violent clashes erupted in Paris on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against new security legislation, with tensions intensified by the police beating and racial abuse of a black man that shocked France. Several fires were started in Paris, sending acrid smoke into the air, as protesters vented their anger against the security law, which would restrict the publication of police officers’ faces. About 46,000 people marched in Paris and 133,000 in total nationwide, the French Ministry of the Interior said. Protest organizers said about 500,000 joined nationwide, including 200,000 in the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron late
A CAUTIONARY TALE: Bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks of the danger that his adopted home Taiwan now faces and the ordeal of his detention in China Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) leaned forward in his chair, answering quickly and sharply to issue a warning to the people of his new home, Taiwan. “Be ready now,” Lam said. “We should be more alert as citizens, we should get ready,” the 64-year-old Hong Konger said. “If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place, I feel, is Taiwan.” Late in Taipei at Causeway Bay Books Mark II, on the 10th floor of a nondescript building, Lam, a wiry, gray-haired bookseller, was sitting at his desk with a bemused gaze behind thin oval glasses. The desk was neat, but crowded with books and a
Not enough beds and not enough doctors: a skyrocketing COVID-19 caseload is pushing hospitals in the Balkans to the cusp of collapse, in chaotic scenes reminding some medics of the region’s 1990s wars. After nearly a year of keeping outbreaks more or less under control, the nightmare scenario that the Balkans feared from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is now starting to unfold. In hard-hit Bosnia-Herzegovina, one doctor described the distress of having to juggle the care of multiple patients whose lives were hanging by a thread. “The situation reminds me of the war, and I’m afraid it could get even worse