Kangaroo Harvest

With then recent release of a film about the kangaroo meat industry and the commercial harvest harvest back in the news, we’d like to talk about our experiences with the industry.

We estimate the population of Eastern Grey kangaroos on our place to be between 1200 and 1500 at any given time. As kangaroos are a protected species, if we wish to reduce numbers, we have to apply for a permit through the office of environment and heritage. We can either get a permit to cull, which means we are legally obliged to let the carcase rot on the ground, or we can engage a commercial harvester who will hunt for human consumption or pet food.

Over the last 10 years we’ve worked with 4 separate commercial harvesters at different times. They’ve all been professional, easy to get along with and extremely good at their job. The companies who buy from them only take males, and they must be head shot. If the body has a bullet hole in it, it cannot be sold. The level of accuracy is so good that they are able to separate the head from the spine with the bullet, which makes removing the head easier. This is where the brain stem is located, which is the nerve centre of the animal, so death is instant. I can’t think of a quicker, more painless way to take a life.

The unfortunate thing is that the price paid is so low that many harvesters are leaving the industry. At around 65 cents per kilo, a kangaroo is worth between $10 and $25. There are a variety of reasons for this; not least that the oligopoly which controls the “fauna dealers licenses” seem to be keeping prices low. There was legislation prepared as part of the new biodiversity act to free up the industry and allow more businesses to buy and sell kangaroo meat, but it was crushed by an unholy alliance between animal activists and an industry not at all keen to have competition.

For better or for worse, our culture attaches worth to monetary value. If we truly wish to protect kangaroos, the simplest way would be to build the industry, such that landholders were paid for the right to harvest from their properties. This would encourage farmers to look after their populations and protect and build habitat for them. At the moment, they are viewed as competition, limiting production in a business which already has very low margins and is at the mercy of seasonal conditions out of their control. This is particularly true for grain and legume crop farmers, from where most of the kangaroos are harvested. Those who, from behind the kale curtain, are trying to shut down the industry, would do well to remember the kangaroo harvest is an important part of the production of the organic vegan soybeans they ate for dinner last night.

1 comment to Kangaroo Harvest

  • Paul Griffiths

    Hi Steakers!

    An excellent contribution to the debate on controlling/retaining appropriate numbers of kangaroos of both genders and having them flourish appropriately in harmony with humans and their agriculture.

    Is there any peak body(ies) which somehow mirror the animal rights and other vested interest groups – even a loose federation, a coalition? Is it something the already aligned groupings (NSW Farmers, Nat Farmers) might care to pick up – and/or be pressured to do so?

    I hear so many stories about the devastation of land, enterprises and, thence, human sanity from this lack of control/appropriate retention via well planned and executed caring legislation.

    I’d like to be a part of the (lobby) group, should it exist.

    Best, Paul Griffiths paul@holisticmudgee.com

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