rspca

Land clearing kills millions of Queensland animals every year

Wildlife
Millions of Queensland animals are being killed every year. Let that just sink in for a moment. MILLIONS. EVERY YEAR.

Millions of Queensland animals are being killed every year. Let that just sink in for a moment. MILLIONS. EVERY YEAR.

How can this be? What is happening you might ask? Excessive land clearing. Animals are usually harmed in one of two ways; clearing land is typically done with big heavy machinery that can injure or kill wildlife. The second way animals are harmed is after an area is cleared there is little food or shelter and predators and disease increase; these unstable environmental factors can lead to animals suffering injuries or death, often after days or months of pain and distress.

Right now the University of Queensland has proposed land clearing at its St Lucia campus to create more student accommodation, which could cause an alarming amount of animals to be displaced and die.

To make matters worse the proposed land clearing started in the spring, which is breeding season, meaning young animals and birds will be highly vulnerable. By waiting a few months as was communicated by RSPCA QLD, UQ could significantly reduce harm to the native wildlife in the area.

RSPCA QLD has been investigating the proposed land clearing and while UQ legally appears to have all their ducks in a row, they are failing to meet the ethical and moral obligations we have come to expect from a university that claims to “tackle the big issues, including climate change, urbanisation, population growth, conservation, sustainability, and the management of energy and natural resources,” as stated on the environmental sciences section of their own website.

RSPCA QLD spokesperson Michael Beatty pointed out how UQ, could be failing to be an example to students, people who look to their university as a leader in society. 

“There is a community expectation that UQ should lead the way with responsible land management…this is a place where our young people are learning to care for the environment and are encouraged to adopt new thinking to change the world for the better. While UQ may be meeting all their legal obligations it is debatable whether they are meeting their moral obligations,” he said.

This comes on the back of a report the RSPCA collaborated on with the WWF that estimates clearing in Queensland kills about 34 million native mammals, birds and reptiles every year, comprising of 900,000 mammals, 2.6 million birds and 30.6 million reptiles.

The RSPCA would like to see the laws for land clearing changed so that animal welfare is always a priority. No states or territories have developed a framework to evaluate or minimise animal harm in development proposals. The RSPCA would like parliaments to require decision makers to take animal welfare into account when considering land clearing applications. While there will be cases where it is deemed necessary to clear the land we must do what we can to avoid causing harm and preventable deaths. 

What can you do? How can you help?

There are three actions you can take to help reduce land clearing:

  1. Add your signature to a Queensland’s Conservation Council to political leaders calling for stronger action on land clearing.  
  2. Donate and help us make the fight to protect native habitats bigger and stronger.
  3. Raise community awareness by sharing our message on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

So what are you waiting for? Make a difference today.

Holly Fenwick
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