Re: Commercial Kangaroo Industry
I am writing to you concerning the plight of Kangaroos in Australia.
It has been brought to my attention that there are at least 5 serious problems with the current legal killing of kangaroos for commercial purposes in Australia.
Killing of joeys after their mothers are shot. The national code of practice allows an acceptable way of killing these baby animals is to chop off their head with an axe, or for them to receive a blow to the head with a heavy blunt instrument.
As per the Canadian seal 'cull', killing of baby animals is an extremely traumatic experience, it is in no way humane, and can in no way be regulated. We are living in the 21st century and still allowing medieval practices to occur in our outback. I feel it is necessary to condemn the killing of kangaroos solely on this point alone.
Contamination of the carcasses has recently been shown to occur quite often due to the way the kangaroos are processed in the field. They are gutted by a shooter who is not trained nor, after a nights shooting, has the ability to cleanly gut the kangaroo. The result is that carcasses are left wide open to contamination. All this happens in such temperatures which promote bacteria and pathogen growth. Even the chillers have been shown to be unreliable when it comes to maintaining temperatures which kill bacteria.
Species decline. NPWS (NSW) issues permits based on aerial surveys of numbers of kangaroos. Only a third of the 'culling/harvesting' area is counted each year on a rotational basis. As we all know, kangaroos are mobile animals which can, as far as an aerial survey cares, be in two places at once, particularly if the count is spread essentially over 3 years. This means the animals can be counted twice, hence potentially overestimating/underestimating the population and therefore any quotas for killing purposes. NPWS each year comes up with new ways of counting kangaroo numbers, this is not reliable, nor is it scientific to continuously change counting methods.
When it comes to our native animals, close enough is not good enough.
Kangaroo shooters are paid per kg, therefore they (understandably) shoot the biggest animals first. Over time, this reduces the population structure so much so that a smaller, weaker genetic species remains. This reduces the survival ability and strength of the targeted species. This has not been scientifically proven by any researcher, it is common Darwinian sense.
The other issue which is even more serious is the fact that female kangaroos often have a joey at foot. Which means a joey who no longer lives in the pouch, but needs its mum for milk and protection from predation as well as to learn life skills. When a shooter intrudes on a family unit and shoots the mum, this joey at foot hops away frightened and will die a slow death of predation or starvation as it will not get the necessary nutrients that it still requires for growth. This is a fact of the kangaroo industry, and it is also a thorn in the Governments side as there is currently nothing in the 'Code of Practice for the humane killing of kangaroos' that deals with this issue.
I along with many other Australians am calling on you to cease your involvement in the commercial harvesting of kangaroos immediately. This will have virtually no effect on Australia's economy, or that of overseas economies which import kangaroo meat. The Russian National Meat Association spokesperson has already stated that kangaroo meat is not a relevant contributor to their economy.
Thank you for your time.