Australia relaxes rules on shooting kangaroos during historic drought

Australia relaxes rules on shooting kangaroos during historic drought

Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said the next eight to 10 weeks will be critical in determining how the season ends for rural producers.

A smattering of rain earlier this week did little to ease one of the driest starts to the year on record, turning pastures to dust and destroying huge areas of grazing and crop lands. But it's not enough for many farmers.

With no feed, farmers have been forced to ship in grain or hay from other parts of the country to keep sheep and cattle alive, spending thousands of extra dollars a week just to stay afloat. So wild animals were not deprived of water the cattle, the government of New South Wales has taken such a step.

But Ray Borda, president of the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia, which represents commercial hunters who hunt kangaroos for meat and leather, raised animal welfare concerns about the regulation changes.

"For instance we're testing the idea that if anyone out there has a couple of spare rooms or a cottage they may want to offer, to let their Australian peers know and give them the opportunity to catch some respite by offering them a place to take a break".

The government would have been better off subsidizing professional shooters to reduce kangaroo numbers more humanely, he said.

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"This is probably the worst possible outcome for the kangaroo, but we do understand the plight farmers are in", Mr Borda added.

Drought is a period of abnormally low rainfall that leads to shortages of water supply.

The dry weather is expected to last for at least another three months.

The department says southern Australia has seen "significant drying", particularly from April to October.

The current drought on the continent extends beyond North South Wales, with over half of the neighboring state of Queensland also in drought, the BBC reported.

A farmer in New South Wales drove more than an hour to deliver water to 1,300 cows, according to FOX13 News.

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