It’s a matter of how you order things – what we regard as a pest can be shipped to the US as pets


Alf this morning is admiring the enterprise of a Kiwi business that exports wallabies to the United States for sale in pet shops.

We are well rid of the wallabies which are (a) Australian and (b) pests, although some of Alf’s mates reckon that once a creature has been identified as Australian we can take it for granted it is a pest.

Alas, the company doing the exporting has been dragged into an international probe into animal cruelty.

Rotorua-based Dama Exporters was dobbed in to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The move followed a PETA investigation into US Global Exotics, a Texas-based business run by Kiwi, Jasen Brent Shaw, 31.

US authorities seized about 26,000 animals from Shaw’s business in December after being given photos and film by a PETA worker that apparently showed mistreatment.

PETA’s James Wood said the New Zealand arm of the organisation contacted MAF after discovering Shaw bought wallabies from Dama Exporters.

Dama Exporters owner Tony Melvin said some losses were always expected in animal exporting, but wallabies that ended up at Shaw’s company had a higher death rate. He laid the blame at Shaw’s door.

Melvin told the Herald MAF staff had visited his property last month and cleared his operation.

Alf was fascinated to learn that he and his Rotorua-based company are doing our environment a favourite by exporting these Aussie bounders to the USA – and other places, presumably – to become pets.

You would think – of course – Americans have learned from the likes of Mel Gibson that creatures from Aussie are not easily house-trained.

Maybe that’s why they get their wallabies from Rotorua, under the impression they are Kiwi creatures and therefore loveable and adorable.

Alf presumes some stuff shipped out from Dama Exporters are not necessarily alive and intended to become pets, because the company is listed by the Food Safety Authority as a Registered Exporter.

Whether the animals go out live, or as tucker, the wallabies are pests in this country – or a “potential” pest.

Alf learns this from Environment Waikato.

Its website says dama wallabies (Macropus eugenii) were first introduced to New Zealand on Kawau Island in the 1870s and around the southern end of Lake Okareka (Rotorua) in 1912.

They soon extended their range to the north and east, and were first recorded in the Waikato region during the 1950s.

Dama wallabies are considered a potential pastoral and environmental pest, grazing on grasses and on native vegetation. When present in high numbers they can cause considerable damage to native species, altering the present and future composition of native forests.

Environment Waikato is responsible for undertaking wallaby control in the Waikato region.

The Regional Pest Management Strategy aims to reduce to zero density by 2013 all known populations (as at 1 July 2007) of dama wallaby in the Waikato region and reduce towards zero density any additional infestations of dama wallaby that are identified. Once reduced to low levels, efforts will be focused on preventing re-introduction and spread of dama wallaby back into the region.

Oh, and according to Environment Waikato, we are not allowed to capture, keep or convey any wallaby unless permitted to do so by the Department of Conservation.

So don’t get the idea of turning the buggers into pets for your own kids to play with. Let the Americans have them.

3 Responses to It’s a matter of how you order things – what we regard as a pest can be shipped to the US as pets

  1. gw says:

    The wallabies shipped by Dama suffered and died:

    http://www.peta.org/pettrade

  2. Anon says:

    gw, you mean as opposed to get shot or terminated as pests?

    I would think that if the wallabies have money and able to talk, they would probably pay humans to be smuggled to US where they can be pets, taking risk of dying on the way there.

  3. Tony says:

    My company Dama Exporters,exported 300 plus wallabies to the USA last year with a fatality number of 10 wallabies,a small percentage,we brought in approx $US 300 thousand dollars in foreign exchange into NZ and the money is spent with Government and private businesses,airlines,freightforwarders,plywood factories etc etc.But the Regional councils and DOC spend thousands of NZ tax payers money on wasteful 1080 eradication,has PETA watched a animal die of 1080 poison,I think not!!!

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