Legislation protects turtles, dugongs

ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander hunting methods, which cause turtles and dugongs unnecessary suffering, will become an offence in Queensland.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh introduced legislation into Parliament on Tuesday to protect the marine animals from inhumane hunting tactics.

The amendment to the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 will protect dugongs and turtles from unnecessary and unreasonable pain and suffering.

Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are exempt from animal welfare obligations under the Act but that will be changed.

Mr McVeigh said the change would bring Queensland's animal welfare laws into line with other states.

"For at least 10 years, animal welfare interest groups and others, including some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have voiced concerns about the cruelty of some hunting of sea turtles and dugongs," he said.

"(They have voiced concerns about) the immunity from prosecution for animal cruelty that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are afforded by the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 if they are hunting in accordance with tradition or custom."

Mr McVeigh said the current exemption of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to hunt dugongs and turtles was "too easily exploited by some rouge hunters who have no regard for animal welfare".

Under the National Title Act 1993, traditional owners are allowed to hunt turtles and dugongs for non-commercial use.

That will not change.


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