Article by: Hari Yellina
As animal rights activists push for kangaroo import bans in other countries due to brutal and unsustainable practises, the roo business is beginning its own campaign to promote its environmental and welfare credentials. The industry will produce social media videos touting the benefits of roo meat and leather later this month, with a focus on the European Union and the United States. “We’re out there pushing it today because it’s sustainable, renewable, and environmentally benign,” said Ray Borda, head of Australia’s Kangaroo Industry Association. The initiative, which is supported by a federal government programme that assists small exporters, comes as animal rights activists fight the EU to end the roo trade.
Mick McIntyre, the controversial director behind Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story, is one of them. “It’s now our responsibility, not just as filmmakers, but as Australians, to speak up for the kangaroo and ask if this is truly how we want to treat a national icon,” he said. Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud expressed grave worry over plans to close the EU market. “It’s based on misunderstanding about the sector in Australia, that there are animal welfare difficulties and also a sustainability issue,” he explained. Peter Absalom is someone who has heard it all. He’s been a commercial roo shooter for over four decades and claims it’s a more compassionate industry than other meat production.
“They’re out there having a good time, doing what kangaroos do, and then whack,” he explained. Shooting devastates gangs, according to Animal Justice Party MP Mark Pearson, who helped establish an NSW parliamentary inquiry into the health and wellbeing of macropods. “Your father is gone, your mother is gone, and your sibling is gone. You understand how this affects these families “Mr Pearson also just sponsored a kangaroo protection bill, which, if enacted, would prevent NSW from issuing shooting licences. Commercial shooters must kill kangaroos with a headshot, according to the industry code of conduct. While Mick McIntyre claims that up to 40% of kangaroos are miss-shot, the industry claims that its hit rate is greater than 95%.
Kangaroos are legally protected in Australia. However, the commercial industry and landowners who are bothered by roos can apply for roo hunting permits for a variety of species. Quotas are set at 15 to 20% of the population, although according to state government authorities, only a portion of the quota is met. However, the exact nature of those communities and the amount of grazing pressure they pose are hotly discussed. Mick McIntyre stated, “We do not believe they are a concern.” “It’s like fisheries, ivory, and whaling combined.” “When you take wildlife, the wildlife dies, and that’s what we’re witnessing with kangaroos.” That is not the case, according to environmentalist John Read.
“Overabundant kangaroos are generating major problems pretty much everywhere where dingoes are maintained.” He’s one of a group of wildlife biologists who produced a statement on kangaroo management that has been backed by a number of conservation, Indigenous, and farming groups. “Commercial harvesting is the most sustainable, effective, and humane tool available.” He also believes that now is the moment to build a better management plan, as numbers that had fallen following the previous drought are now beginning to rise. “We’re going to have another one of these terrible catastrophes when millions of kangaroos die of famine in 18 months or two years unless we take really proactive actions now,” he warned.