Landline program about use of native birds to make hats.

To: "" <>, "" <>, 'Canberrabirds' <>
Subject: Landline program about use of native birds to make hats.
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:44:13 +0000

Yesterday I happened to see this item on ABC Landline somewhat supportive or praising of this lady who is making a business of making hats, using feathers of native (and some domestic) birds. She is in Broome WA. It is presented as a hard luck story of a lady who has made good of herself. This is seriously concerning. It was the awful trade in, particularly Egret breeding plumage, decades ago, that lead to mass slaughter of these birds at their breeding colonies. Now we have this promotion of using feathers of many species in hats again. As I watched it I could identify most of the birds species used, (I consider myself particularly adept in identifying feathers) but will decline to type out a list here as a first approach. Some are mentioned by the narration (correctly or not). For example it refers to a “road killed owl” when the feathers shown at that point are clearly no owl, they are from a Pheasant Coucal, there is Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Brown Goshawk, Kookaburra, Bustard and many other species included, though the bulk appear to be Guineafowl and various raptors and parrots. It is hinted at that the birds are mostly road kill or just sent in by whoever to this lady to make into hats. What is clearly concerning is that provenance is in most cases unknown and unprovable. Especially if this becomes a commercial enterprise – I guess it already is. It is my understanding that whilst state laws may differ, in general it is illegal to possess without a permit, any feathers of native birds and certainly to trade in them. What is worse is if this starts off a bigger trend. We need to take action against that possibility. It sure is easy to kill birds to collect feathers if there is money in it and claim it to be road kill. I am disturbed that Landline presented this program without having instead advised this lady that what she is doing is almost certainly illegal. And I reckon most of us would find it highly unethical, if not just grotesque. Maybe readers would like to take up this issue with Landline. I wonder whether anyone has contact with the wildlife authorities in Western Australia to take up this case.


Philip Veerman

24 Castley Circuit

Kambah  ACT  2902






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