Saturday, March 27, 2010


Sometimes even I am at a loss for words. What kind of person dreams up the idea of leaving a caged kangaroo on the streets of Los Angeles as a promotion? A jerk kind of person would be my response I suppose. No, this isn't the worst thing to happen in the world today, but it is yet another example of the short comings of our species.

The following is from the Times.

Caged kangaroo stunt ‘dishonours land of Skippy’

Footage of a kangaroo rocking back and forth in a small cage on a busy street in Los Angeles has outraged Australians, including the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The kangaroo display was part of the "G’day USA" marketing campaign by Tourism Australia, the government body charged with promoting the country to the rest of the world.

Kylie Mackenzie, a New Zealand expatriate, said that she was appalled when she saw the state of the 10-year-old kangaroo, named Fesnick, which was seemingly distressed after being kept in the small pen on a concrete footpath for hours at a time during the campaign in January.

In the footage, filmed by Ms Mackenzie and posted on YouTube, the lone kangaroo can be seen swaying constantly back and forth in the small enclosure.

Animal welfare groups have condemned its treatment and the Prime Minister said that the stunt involving the animal, which features on Australia’s coat of arms, was “pretty off”.

"Many of us grew up in the days of Skippy,” Mr Rudd said yesterday, referring to the 1960s Australian television series about a bush kangaroo.

“If you've grown up in the days of Skippy you want to make sure our national symbol is being properly respected in the way that Australia projects itself abroad.”

Other Australians voiced their outrage on websites. "Bindy" posted a comment on the YouTube video which best summed up the nation’s feelings: “I’m an Australian and I’m disgusted,” she said.

Bob Irwin, the father of the late wildlife expert Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin who regularly campaigns for the Australian Society for Kangaroos, also condemned the stunt.

"It is a terrible image for Australia to send to the world, seeing a magnificent kangaroo treated in such a cruel way," Mr Irwin said from his hospital bed, where he is recovering from a heart attack.

"Where the bloody hell is the Government? I trust the Government will also take Tourism Australia to task on their poor judgment."

Tourism Australia – which came under fire in 2006 for the "Where the Bloody Hell Are You?" campaign – defended the stunt yesterday, saying that claims of animal cruelty were unfounded as the kangaroo was being looked after by a professional trainer while it was on display in four-hour stints, and it had been treated well.

Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia, told a radio station: “Any accusation... we take it very seriously if it's been poorly treated. But I've got to say again it does actually matter whether or not it was in distress and we can only take the advice of professionals who were on the scene at the time.”

Mr McEvoy added that America Humane – the US equivalent of the RSPCA – had seen the video and had said the animal was not in distress.

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