Weaknesses in the enforcement of standards for the humane killing of kangaroos have been identified in a new report by THINKK, the UTS-based think tank for kangaroos.
Kangaroo Court: Enforcement of the law governing kangaroo killing examines the role of government agencies in policing the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies, which establishes national standards for the killing of adult kangaroos and dependent young.
"Many supporters of the kangaroo industry say that it is one of the most humane sources of meat because the meat is free range. However, this report highlights the considerable welfare problem of mis-shot or injured kangaroos and dependent young that die as a consequence of the commercial industry," said THINKK Research Fellow and lead author Keely Boom.
"The fundamental problem is that government agencies do not regularly inspect carcasses at the point of kill. Without such inspections it is impossible for agencies to ensure compliance with the Code's conditions on killing dependent young and injured adult kangaroos.
"Government agencies need to allocate more resources for inspections of the industry, particularly of shooters. Video surveillance technology could be introduced to aid these inspections and improve reporting on the numbers of injured kangaroos."
The report also argues that enforcement by government agencies is undermined by a conflict of interest. Government agencies are responsible for both promoting the welfare of kangaroos and supporting the commercial kangaroo industry.
"To minimise conflicts of interest an independent department at the federal level or a number of independent departments at the state level should be established and given responsibility for enforcement as part of a wider reform of enforcement of animal cruelty laws," Ms Boom said.
"In addition, the regulations in some states, particularly Western Australia, need to be amended to ensure that the Code is enforceable against all parties involved in the commercial industries."
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