Indigenous Elder Slams Police Officer For Stoning Wombat
WARNING, GRAPHIC CONTENT: A well-respected Indigenous leader says an off-duty police officer who stoned a wombat committed an act of ‘torture’ not ‘tradition’.
Ngarrindjeri Elder Major Sumner said Waylon Johncock and the person who egged him on appeared to enjoy killing the wombat.
He said footage showed that the wombat was not being hunted in a traditional way.
On Thursday, the police officer's uncle -- who doesn't want to be named -- defended his nephew, saying the act is a traditional custom, and the wombat meat would have been cooked and eaten following the recording.
The officer's actions have sparked a national debate on what's culture and what's cruelty.
"We didn't have a phone to take videos or photos, wasn't laughing, wasn't a joke," Sumner told 10 News First.
"You get a spear, a boomerang, whatever you use to hunt. You don't torture the animal, you kill it straight out for food."
The controversy comes after a video emerged on social media showing the country police officer stalking, taunting and stoning a wombat on South Australia's West Coast.
READ MORE: Uncle Defends Cop Who Stoned Wombat To Death
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs described the footage as "clearly distressing" and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese labelled it a "thrill kill".
While police continue to investigate the killing, a petition calling for traditional hunting laws to be toughened up has attracted over 150,000 signatures.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said he isn't ruling out a review of the legislation.
"It's gut-wrenching there's no doubt about it and I implore any glorification of animal cruelty," Marshall said.
"Every piece of legislation exists in a dynamic environment and we can look at that legislation from time to time, but let's wait and see what this investigation shows."
Sumner says working with an animal rights organisation would be an appropriate punishment for Johncock.
"You don't know anything about the rights of animals or anything that's living, you're going to find out," he said.