Report calls for urgent reform of kangaroo industry

July 14, 2011
Beheaded wild-caught kangaroos

The University of Technology, Sydney think tank on kangaroos – THINKK, has called for a number of policy changes to improve welfare standards in the industry in its latest report, Welfare implications of commercial kangaroo killing: Do the ends justify the means?

The THINKK researchers, based within the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, say that every year over a million dependent young die as collateral damage to the commercial kill (about three million adults) – something that would be unacceptable in the livestock industry. The dependent young may be killed through a blow to the skull, for example with a steel water pipe or the tow bar of a vehicle. Others are left alive to later die from exposure, starvation or predation.

A lead author of the report Dr. Dror Ben-Ami said the legitimacy of the ends of the kangaroo industry is questionable, particularly the much inflated perceptions of as pests and as a panacea for Australia's land degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Current research does not indicate kangaroos are overabundant in the landscape, in fact there is long-term research showing that there is minimal loss in pastoral property productivity due to competition between livestock and kangaroos for resources.

"On the question of kangaroos replacing livestock as an environmentally-friendly meat source, there is no convincing evidence that such replacement is likely to occur in the future.

"The 'means' by which kangaroos are killed carry a high welfare cost to both adult kangaroos and dependent young that is below the mandated welfare standards in the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies. Many are aware of these welfare concerns, yet nothing has been done to resolve them.

"At the very least we recommend two urgent policy changes that are that are most feasible to implement and would achieve a substantial improvement in welfare outcomes:
•         mandating a male only kill would ensure young are not killed;
•         requiring that meat processors only accept carcasses with the heads retained and showing that the kangaroos were brain-shot.”

Dr. Ben-Ami said the need for the commercial harvest on the landscape level should be re-evaluated on the grounds of both necessity and ethical considerations.

At the same time kangaroo management at the property level should be reassessed, given a downgrading of the estimated annual costs incurred by farmers due to kangaroos from more than $200 million to $44 million.

"Without a resolution of the outstanding issues of the kangaroo industry, an Australian moratorium and/or international trade ban on commercial kangaroo killing may eventuate," he said.

The report can be viewed here .

Explore further: Global warming threatens Australia's iconic kangaroos

Related Stories

Global warming threatens Australia's iconic kangaroos

October 15, 2008

As concerns about the effects of global warming continue to mount, a new study published in the December issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology finds that an increase in average temperature of only two degrees Celsius ...

Australian kangaroo cull prompts outrage

October 2, 2009

The culling of some 140 kangaroos on one of Australia's most famous race car tracks prompted outrage Friday from environmentalists and animal rights activists.

Recommended for you

Research advances on transplant ward pathogen

August 28, 2015

The fungus Cryptococcus causes meningitis, a brain disease that kills about 1 million people each year—mainly those with impaired immune systems due to AIDS, cancer treatment or an organ transplant. It's difficult to treat ...

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 14, 2011
How can doing something that causes pain and suffering, yet is totally unnecessary, be done in an ethical way?
1 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2011
I guess the Australian focus on Japanese Whaling is an effort to detract from their criminal record in regards to their own wildlife.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.