Australias commercial kangaroo industry
The commercial kangaroo industry raises serious animal welfare, conservation and public health concerns.
Kangaroos are shot at night, in remote areas and far away from any public scrutiny or regulatory oversight, leading to non-lethal shots causing horrific injuries and a slow death if the wounded animals escape. If females are killed, dependent joeys endure a cruel and violent death, or otherwise are left in the field to suffer exposure, starvation or predation.
Population estimates used to justify annual hunting quotas are inflated and do not take into account the slow reproduction rates of kangaroos. Environmental impatcs such as drought, fires and loss of habitat that lead to reductions in numbers of animals as well as non-commercial hunting are not factored into these estimates at all.
As well as being killed by commercial shooters, kangaroos and wallabies are also culled by some Australian farmers because they are considered to be a crop pest and are alleged to compete with livestock for water and food resources (which are usually artificially installed for livestock support). However, studies show kangaroos and wallabies access less than 5% of farm crops and mostly these crops are close to forest edges.
Studies into resource competition between livestock and kangaroos could only identify some evidence of competition and this was during times of extreme drought.
Indeed, kangaroo distribution is primarily dependent on good quality native habitat for grazing and resting, rather than artificially installed water points around which vegetation regeneration is often poor due to the impact of livestock.
In late 2019 and early 2020 extraordinary fires ravaged Australia where more than half of the national parks in New South Wales and the wildlife contained within were affected. It is estimated 3 billion koalas, kangaroos and other animals were killed or displaced during Australia’s ‘Black Summer’ bushfires.
According to a study funded by the World Wildife Fund Australia, the Black Summer bushfires was the worst single event for Australian wildlife and amongst the worst in the world and will likely push some species into extinction.
Climate change predictions indicate continued warming and increased fire events for Australia. Experts suggest caution in relying on national parks as kangaroo population reservoirs.
Despite all these pressures on the fragile Australian wildlife the commercial kangaroo industry continues in Australia.
The circumstances around the kangaroo industry carry inherent risks for bacterial contamination of the meat. Kangaroos are butchered in the field, without supervision or oversight and by shooters usually not trained for such practices.
Carcasses are then transported, sometimes all night long, in un-refrigerated open trucks exposed to dust, flies and often during high temperatures. Shooters usually hunt the entire night before reaching a refrigerated facility because of the need to kill a quota of around 40 animals per night to make a profit.
The kangaroo industry promotes kangaroo meat as being humane, healthy and good for the environment. This marketing campaign has only one goal and that is to increase profits for the kangaroo industry. However, under scrutiny the campaign has serious flaws and is not supported by credible scientific evidence. Kangaroo meat is not so hygenically clean, green or humane as their marketing campaign would lead you to believe.
We urge you not to support the kangaroo industry. Do NOT buy kangaroo meat for human consumption and check labels on pet meat before you purchase.
Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story is a documentary available to rent buy on YouTube. This award-winning film captures the untold love-hate story of Australia’s most famous national icon. Filmed in the distinctive Australian landscape, KANGAROO exposes the divisive opinions around this unique Australian icon that is subject to the largest mass destruction of terrestrial wildlife in the world.
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