The culling of some 140 kangaroos on one of Australia's most famous race car tracks prompted outrage Friday from environmentalists and animal rights activists.
The eastern grey kangaroos were reportedly removed from the Mount Panorama circuit, about 300 kilometres (185 miles) west of Sydney, to ensure the safety of drivers and spectators in the V8 Supercar Bathurst 1000 car race next week.
The bounding marsupials had created problems for drivers before -- in 2007 a kangaroo was filmed jumping between race cars travelling at almost 200 kilometres an hour and three years earlier one was hit and killed by a car.
But Greens politician Lee Rhiannon said the unpublicised cull was a harsh approach to dealing with the danger and came at a time when many of the animals would have had young in their pouches.
"The slaughter of 140 kangaroos and their joeys... for the sake of a motorcar race is a knee-jerk response that is not justified," she said in a statement.
"There are other more humane and ethical ways of managing the possible safety risks."
Local environmental consultant Ray Mjadwesch described the cull, which covered the racetrack and surrounding nature reserves, as cruel.
"It is ironic that Australia's iconic wildlife has been shot and its young disposed of in preparation for an iconic international car race," he said, adding that fencing could have been erected to keep the animals out.
(c) 2009 AFP
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