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Family of Aboriginal man convicted of cruelly killing kangaroos on a suburban street claims it was ‘culturally appropriate’

The family of an Aboriginal man who admitted killing two kangaroos on the same suburban street have defended the “culturally appropriate” practice, and complained about having to “follow White people law”.

The 23-year-old from Mandurah, Western Australia, pleaded guilty to two animal cruelty charges on Tuesday over kangaroo killings which took place on January 23 and February 3 last year in Dawesville, The West reported. His identity was suppressed by the courts.

CCTV video of the first killing shows the man and another person using a large dog to catch a kangaroo on Balladonia Parade, where the marsupials are often seen. A member of the public honked their horn at the pair, and police later found two knives and a pool of blood in the road.

The second kangaroo was run down and killed by a car, also on Balladonia Parade. Prosecutor Tom Pontre told the court the man was a passenger in the vehicle, and the driver was unknown. The court heard that bystanders confronted the man afterward, but he told them “shit happens” and struck one of them in the leg.

Outside court the man’s brother said that his family practiced “culturally appropriate” kangaroo hunting to provide food for themselves and others.

“This happens so often in Aboriginal families, they go out to catch native animals to Australia, they cook it, they eat it, they hand it out to the rest of the community,” he told media outside the Mandurah Magistrates Court.

“This hasn’t just been ongoing for just two years, the court case. This has been going on for thousands of years, Aboriginal people catching kangaroo.

“When Australia was colonised by British people we were then having to follow White people law. What about our culture? What about what we want?

“We don’t want to go into a supermarket and have to buy kangaroo, when we can go and catch it out culturally.”

The Department of Biodiversity said Aboriginals were allowed to hunt animals in the area, but not on urban land or a town site, and an Aboriginal elder condemned the man’s actions, telling 9 News kangaroos needed to be killed as “humanely and respectfully as possible to feed a family”.

But the man’s family said they were “disappointed with police” because they saw the incident as “petty”, adding that meat is butchered off-camera for supermarket shoppers to eat all the time.

“Just because he was caught [on camera], now he’s being put under the microscope, and he’s been scrutinised publicly,” his brother said.

“We understand that the kangaroos are looked after by wildlife people, but at the end of the day, that is something that we practice as a family, as well as extended parts of the community — they go out and they kill kangaroo.”

The man will be sentenced on July 25, and outside court animal welfare advocates said they hoped he would be jailed.

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