Target: Magistrate Elizabeth Langdon
Goal: Ensure tourists who admitted to lighting quokka on fire are banned from Australia.
Two French tourists pled guilty to using a can of deodorant and a lighter to set a small friendly marsupial on fire while on vacation in Australia, and to filming the horrific event as it unfolded. The quokka, a relative of kangaroos, survived the incident with singed fur, and the men were given a week in jail by Magistrate Langdon after uploading the video online.
The quokka, often referred to as happiest animal on earth, is an at risk species and the maximum punishment for harming one of these animals is a $50,000 fine and five years in prison. However, these tourists got off with a week, despite their own video evidence and pleading guilty.
The fact these two men apparently made the choice to try and burn any living animal is inexcusable. They didn’t simply want to observe the animal or even just scare it to get a reaction, they wanted to light it on fire. They allegedly aimed an accelerant and a match at it with full knowledge that it could be burned alive and they wanted the video evidence for themselves and for others of its suffering.
Even if the quokka survived the incident, the men should have be more heavily punished than getting one week in jail for making a conscious choice that could have led to its extreme pain, suffering and death, and there should be more consequences for the choice they made.
Letting someone off with a week-long sentence for the burning of a rare and gentle animal does not send the right message about animal cruelty punishment, and this crime needs to be taken more seriously in the future. Sign to demand that these tourists are banned from ever reentering Australia and that laws defending and prosecuting people who harm quokkas be more strictly enforced.
Dear Magistrate Langdon,
Two French tourists came to your country and admitted to making the conscious decision to try and light a quokka on fire with a lighter and a can of deodorant. They filmed the whole incident, pled guilty, and you only gave them a week of time in prison, despite calling the crime “abhorrent.” Unfortunately, their sentence has already happened and these two tourists have most likely already left Australia, meaning they cannot be more reasonably punished with more extensive jail time and fines.
People who make the decision to try and torture helpless animals should not receive such minor punishment in the future and the actions of these two tourists should ensure they are denied ever entering Australia again. The French government should be made thoroughly aware of their actions in case they make the decision to harm another animal so they can be punished to the full extent of the law.
Help make sure they can’t get off lightly if they make a similar choice back in France and that future tourists who venture into quokka territory know that harming one of these creatures will bring them serious punishment, not just one week in prison.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tammy Lee