The kangaroo, Australia’s national symbol, is slaughtered every year by the millions.
Kangaroos are killed in the largest land-based slaughter of wildlife in the world every year for meat or because they are considered to be in competition with livestock for food.
But is there any science or environmental evidence to support the cull? Studies conducted by Thinkk, a research group at the University of Technology in Sydney, reveals that the kill is misguided based on wrong assumptions.
Thinkk was established to complete independent research and rebuild a sustainable environment that considers the well-being of kangaroos and explores management practices that are non-lethal.
Two reports generated by the studies found that kangaroos don’t share the same feed as livestock. Ecologist Dror-Ben said, ”Long-term studies indicate that competition is intermittent, occurring only during a period of climatically driven food depletion,” he said.
Animal cruelty was also cited in the reports. Keely Boom, lawyer and co-author of the reports, said culling them for reasons such as damaging the environment or being pests may be illegal because these reasons are not supported by any studies, which violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
A previous article from the University of Technology also aired problems with the cruelty of the cull, citing casual shooters among those who participate.
Kangaroos that are inaccurately targeted (not hit in the head from 80 to 200 metres at night) may suffer a painful, protracted death and their carcasses will not be utilised. Pouch-young joeys are clubbed on the head. Young-at-foot are supposed to be shot, but since the industry is self-regulated, they are often left to die of starvation or predation.
Taken together, it is likely that up to a million young are killed annually as collateral damage and their carcasses not used. This is an unacceptable practice by international standards. In a similar case of harvested terrestrial wildlife, the products derived from young Canadian Harp Seals – which are clubbed to death – have been banned in most westernised countries.
Replacing beef and lamb with an industry of kangaroos could reduce greenhouse gases, but the estimated 27 million kangaroos in the outback are not enough to fill the demand for meet in the country’s market or internationally.
The Thinkk reports call for the government to reassess the necessity of the cull and to ban killing females who are often nurturing young in their pouches.
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