Captain Paul Watson Responds to Dr. "Kill-A-Roo" Diesendorf

Commentary by Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Kangaroo killing advocate Dr. Mark Diesendorf responded to Sea Shepherd Conservations Society's October 11 posting entitled "Greenpeace Calls for Kangaroo Slaughter" with a challenge to publish his letter unedited. It's not much of a challenge. I have no problem allowing him to have his say, but of course, I intend to respond to his points in defense of my original posting. So his letter is copied below with my response in italics.

Some people have asked what this posting about kangaroos has to do with marine mammals. The answer is simple. The Japanese have seized on the report at issue and used it as justification to state that Australians have no right to oppose commercial whaling while supporting the commercial slaughter of kangaroos. How can Greenpeace support the killing of kangaroos for commercial profit by Australians and oppose the killing of whales by the Japanese for profit? This can and is being viewed as a racist position.

This position by Greenpeace has undermined the credibility of all of us who are fighting to end the whale slaughter. The Greenpeace position of supporting the kangaroo slaughter and its general support of the meat industry, one of the largest contributors to global warming, is hypocritical. Greenpeace serves meat and fish to crew members on its ships. Sea Shepherd ships are vegan vessels, because Sea Shepherd crews live what they preach.

If Greenpeace wishes to seriously address global warming concerns and the illegal slaughter of whales by the Japanese, it needs to make its ships vegetarian and to not support the meat eating and fishing industries.

Below is Dr. Mark Diesendorf's letter to Sea Shepherd, along with my responses in italics:

-Original Message-----

From: Mark Diesendorf []
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 6:40 AM
Cc: Mark Wakeham
Subject: Your news item on eating kangaroo


Dear Captain Watson,

Diesendorf:  I'm writing to protest about your news item "Greenpeace calls for kangaroo slaughter" <> Your claim, that Greenpeace supports kangaroo slaughter, is untrue.

Watson: The words that pertain to supporting the slaughter of kangaroos came from Greenpeace energy campaigner Mark Wakeham who was reported in the Australian media as urging Aussies to eat kangaroo to help reduce land clearing and the release of methane gas. "It is one of the lifestyle changes we can make," Mr. Wakeham said. "Changing our meat consumption habits is a small way to make an impact." Greenpeace may be backtracking on this and trying to re-spin the message, but the story was widely reported that Greenpeace was indeed urging Australians to replace beef with kangaroo meat.

Diesendorf: Greenpeace simply asked me, as an independent consultant, to set out the options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which I have done without fear or favour. The many options set out in the report include either eating less meat or eating kangaroo. However, not everyone is willing to be a vegetarian or a vegan and so my report must address meat-eaters too.

Watson: This is not entirely true. Greenpeace did not merely ask Dr. Diesendorf for his opinion, Greenpeace contributed to the funding of this report. The fact remains that Greenpeace allowed a report they commissioned to be released, and the report advocated the slaughter of kangaroos. Therefore Greenpeace shares in the responsibility for the release of this report.

Diesendorf: Another incorrect statement in your news item is that my report does not address population.

Watson: The report does not say anything substantial about population. It does not even mention birth rates. It states that business and professional immigration should be limited by 50% and refugee and humanitarian immigration should not be reduced.  In other words, skills and expertise are to be discouraged and unskilled labor encouraged. Refugee immigration is the largest and fastest immigration source. This statement is politically correct, but certainly not ecologically correct.

Diesendorf: Your news item also creates the false impression that my report "calls for the Australian state of Victoria to lift a ban on harvesting kangaroos for food". My report does not mention that.

Watson: The Sea Shepherd posting never said that the Diesendorf report called for Victoria to lift the ban on harvesting kangaroos. The posting said that the report is being used by groups to justify their call to remove the ban citing that if Greenpeace supports kangaroo hunting then it should not be harmful to the environment. The exact words on the posting were: "The Greenpeace report has renewed calls for the Australian state of Victoria to lift a ban on harvesting kangaroos for food. Kangaroo meat presently sold in Victoria is imported from out of the state. The commercial kangaroo meat industry has seized the Greenpeace report to strengthen its demand to remove the kangaroo slaughter ban in Victoria.

Diesendorf: While Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has every right to oppose the commercial use of kangaroos, if it chooses, it does not have the right to misrepresent my report as Greenpeace policy or to misrepresent its contents.

Watson: When a report is partly funded by Greenpeace and released, then Greenpeace must be responsible for the contents of the report. Mr. Mark Wakeham, the Greenpeace Energy Campaigner in Australia, states that eating kangaroo is a life style change that Aussies should consider. I believe that if this report is funded by Greenpeace and released, and a prominent Greenpeace spokesperson publicly advocates for the report, then it must be considered as Greenpeace policy. Dr. Diesendorf said, "There's a small sub-set of environmentalists who see the kangaroo as a cuddly animal which should be left alone. They are entitled to their view, but more and more people are moving towards eating it.'' Diesendorf labels environmentalists who oppose the killing of kangaroos to be a "sub-set" and again states that more and more people (according to him) are moving towards eating it.

Diesendorf: I challenge you to publish this letter unedited on your website.

Watson: Your challenge has been met Dr. Diesendorf.



Dr Mark Diesendorf
Institute of Environmental Studies
University of New South Wales
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052
Phone: 02-9385 5707; fax: 02-9663 1015
CRISCOS Provider Code: 00098G

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