Red Goshawks caught and netted during nesting season

To: "'Greg Roberts'" <>, "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Red Goshawks caught and netted during nesting season
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2018 09:50:18 +1100



Perhaps you should have first-hand experience with animal ethics committees, either as a member of one or as a proponent of an animal research project. You would then realise the detailed justification that is required to be granted a permit, the level of thought required by the researcher regarding animal welfare, and the extent of reporting back to the committee on animal welfare outcomes of the research.  If you did that then you would realise that your assertion of animal ethics approvals are freely-granted is incorrect.  Animal ethics committees must ensure that all animal research projects conform with the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes . Note that animal ethics committees have at least one vet and a member of the public who has experience and expertise in animal welfare as members , so there is real community input into this process.


In my experience, and those of many other researchers, ethics committees respond to an initial application for animal ethics approval with a request for more information.  This usually means that either not enough detail about the proposed research project was provided in the initial application, the committee has some questions that need answering, the committee has some genuine concerns about the project that need to be addressed by the researcher, or all or a combination of these things. Then there is the requirement of reporting back to the committee, either at regular intervals (if a long-term research project) or at the end of the project (if the project is short-term) on animal welfare issues.  Researchers often grumble at the amount of paperwork, research justification and reporting that is involved, but animal ethics committees do really make a difference and are far from rubber-stamping entities.


Stephen Ambrose

Ryde NSW


From: Birding-Aus <> On Behalf Of Greg Roberts
Sent: 19 December 2018 4:17 PM
To: birding-aus <>
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Red Goshawks caught and netted during nesting season


A moment to respond to some comments about this thread relating to this story:



Angus says I am wrong to claim that the Queensland Government has handed over responsibility for the project to Rio Tinto. He might wish to explain this Queensland Environment and Science Department comment to me: "...this project is funded and led by Rio Tinto. All questions can be directed to them."


Yes, the results of research need not be immediately available, but basic information should reasonably be expected to be made public. For instance, how many birds have been caught or will be caught, or have died or are missing?  The Department of Environment and Science won't say. Rio Tinto won't say. 


As for animal ethics approval, it seems this is freely granted. It was given, for instance, for the netting and tagging of a Night Parrot in Western Australia last year; that critically endangered bird and its mate promptly disappeared.  


David says there are more important issues to be concerned about. Indeed. Like the fact that Rio Tinto is strip-mining tens of thousands of hectares of potential Red Goshawk habitat on Cape York.


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