Western Australia breaks rules to maintain animal rights purity

Western Australia has sacked a civil servant because he goes hunting.

Jewell Crossberg was appointed acting district manager at a WA wildlife agency. After pictures emerged of a hunting trip to Africa Crossberg went on in 2010, local politicians put pressure on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction, which sacked him.

Jewell Crossberg on safari in 2010

Even though the state’s Public Sector Management Act precludes politicians from involvement in the hiring and firing of staff, WA environment minister and animal rights supporter Stephen Dawson told a radio station that the pictures made him feel “physically sick” and he “asked the director-general to consider what can be done in this regard.”

“Jewell Crossberg went through a competitive recruitment process and demonstrated he had the appropriate skills for the acting district manager role,” a spokesperson said.

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Dawson told local 6PR Radio: “The photos were taken in 2010 in a place where it was legal, unfortunately, to shoot these majestic animals.”

Unusually, ABC carried a story showing support for Crossberg.

Ed Couzens, an associate professor in environmental law at the University of Sydney, who until five years ago worked in South Africa, said perceptions around trophy hunting were rapidly changing.

“I think that this particular conservation manager in Western Australia, I think he has found himself caught between different viewpoints at a particular moment in history,” he told ABC.

Professor Grahame Webb, a Northern Territory crocodile farmer who chairs the IUCN’s specialist crocodile working group, called the demotion “scandalous”.

“There’s nothing wrong with trophy hunting if it’s carried out in a proper, sustainable way,” he said.

In 2020, Australian state and federal governments plan to shoot or have already shot 10,000 camels, 4,000 horses, and 2,000 kangaroos at a cost of many AUS$ millions.