Australia: Queensland to outlaw dugong-hunt cruelty

ABC News 20 Jun 12;

Animal activists have welcomed moves by the Queensland Government to outlaw hunting-related cruelty to dugongs and turtles.

Under the Native Title Act, traditional owners are allowed to hunt turtles and dugongs.

Footage aired on the ABC in March showed animals being butchered alive by some Indigenous hunters and sparked an investigation into the practice.

Queensland Fisheries Minister John McVeigh yesterday introduced legislation into Parliament to outlaw any unreasonable pain being inflicted during hunting.

The RSPCA's Michael Beatty says the Government should be commended.

"No-one thinks - including the Indigenous leaders - that this type of cruelty, if you like, is necessary," he said.

Mr Beatty says authorities need to continue to work with traditional owners.

"It isn't simply a case of just outlawing it, it really isn't that simple because obviously it has to be policed as well," he said.

But animal activist Colin Riddell says the hunting should be banned altogether.

"People flock to Australia to see our Great Barrier Reef and see those beautiful animals and I fear for the day that my children, your children don't get to see those animals," he said.

Native title hunting rights would not be extinguished by the Bill.

Qld govt toughens dugong anti-cruelty laws
9News 19 Jun 12;

Traditional hunting of turtles and dugongs will no longer be exempt from animal cruelty laws in Queensland.

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh introduced legislation to state parliament on Tuesday to make dugong and turtle hunters meet animal welfare standards.

The changes fulfil an LNP election promise made after the ABC aired footage of hunters cutting the flippers off a turtle lying struggling on its back.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Minister Glen Elmes says the government will work with indigenous communities to ensure the new standards are met.

"All Queenslanders will now have the same animal welfare obligations and it's important every Queenslander understands animal cruelty is never acceptable," he said.

Dugongs and turtles are protected species but some indigenous groups have the right to continue traditional hunting of the animals.