Put kangaroo meat on the menu, experts say

By AG Staff 11 September 2017
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Kangaroo populations have continued to grow since 2010 and now experts are asking us to put more kangaroo on the plate. Would you?

Following a recent government report that revealed kangaroo numbers have grown from 27 million in 2010, to 45 million in 2016, experts are once again arguing that we need to eat more kangaroo.

The report, published in the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, describes Australia’s kangaroos as pests, damaging properties and natural resources.

The growing population of kangaroos is a result of steady rainfall, experts explained, which has created abundant food sources. But some said there’s also a lack of incentive for people to hunt or shoot the animal.

As a result, kangaroo experts have encouraged Australians to add the native animal to their weekly diets, understanding that simply killing the animal and leaving them to rot is not sustainable. However, some animal rights groups have continued to argue against any large, coordinated culls.

Back in 2010, experts slammed two anti-Kangaroo meat reports that argued the number of kangaroos necessary to supplant meat production from sheep…for an environmentally meaningful benefit is ecologically unfeasible.

Experts were quick to point out that the science and the figures in the reports were faulty. “It’s based on insane, nonsensical information,” said Professor Mike Archer at the University of New South Wales. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.”

Harvesting is necessary

John Kelly, executive officer of the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia in Canberra, said some kangaroo harvesting is necessary in any case.  There are no longer the levels of dingo and Aboriginal predation on roos that there were prior to European settlement, and dams on properties have increased the number of watering points for kangaroos to survive.

Harvesting is sustainable, said John, as evidenced by the continuing large populations of kangaroos. “During the period 1999-2003, kangaroo numbers reached record levels. That was the period that the kangaroo population got up to 57 million.”

He says that in the rangelands, kangaroos have been shown to represent about 30 per cent of grazing pressure, so are considered an agricultural pest by farmers. “The kangaroo harvest is the only tool we have to control total grazing pressure.”

Dror Ben-Ami, who co-wrote the controversial anti-kangaroo meat reports, admits that at the local level, some graziers need to remove kangaroos from their property, but believes this can be done with non-lethal means, such as translocation or contraceptive control.