CHAPTER 9 - MACROPODS

Commercial Utilisation of Australian Native Wildlife

CHAPTER 9 - MACROPODS

Introduction

9.1 Kangaroos were hunted as a source of both food and skins for many thousands of years by Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and under 'subsistence' provisions of state legislation, they may still take kangaroos for food or cultural purposes. Kangaroos were also hunted by early white settlers for meat and skins and have for many years been killed by farmers to provide meat for farm dogs and to provide food when beef and mutton were not available.

9.2 As European agriculture progressively changed much of the habitat occupied by kangaroos, providing permanent water, improved grazing opportunities and a reduction in the number of predatory animals, the number of large kangaroos increased until some species became pests in agricultural areas. Hunting then became a mechanism of control. [1] From there an industry developed, primarily because those involved believed that it was better to use the resources of meat and skins than to leave it to rot and become food for feral animals such as foxes and pigs. [2] The kangaroo industry thus evolved from a growing need to reduce excessive numbers of large kangaroos, combined with a need to pay for the costs associated with their impact.

9.3 The superabundance of large kangaroos on rural lands results in two types of management problem: the first is direct damage to crops caused by kangaroos invading fields; the second is the inability of graziers to control 'total grazing pressure' on their land. While it is relatively simple for a grazier to move stock out of a paddock and possible to control feral species, the fact that kangaroos quickly move onto 'spelled' (rested) land, means that good pasture management is entirely dependent on whether the grazier is able to control the kangaroo population.

9.4 Despite much political debate, there is now considerable evidence of support for controlled kangaroo harvesting in Australia. This evidence comes from scientists and scientific bodies (CSIRO, for example), professional associations (Australian Veterinary Association [3] and Australasian Wildlife Management Society, for example), conservation organisations (Nature Conservation Society SA [4]) and the general public (a recent RIRDC survey found that 77 per cent of respondents agreed that kangaroos were a valuable resource that should be used for meat and leather). [5]

Terminology

9.5 The taking of kangaroos for commercial or other purposes is variously referred to as a 'cull', 'harvest', 'take' or simply 'kill'. Although these words are often used interchangeably, each word has a separate meaning and, for historical reasons, a different level of emotion attached to it.

9.6 The word 'cull', while often used broadly to mean any form of reduction in numbers, has a specific scientific meaning (viz: the selective drafting or killing of inferior, aged, diseased, starving or crippled animals). During the rise in awareness of animal welfare issues and public concern expressed by various groups opposed to the killing of kangaroos for any purpose, the term 'cull' lost its scientific meaning and had attached to it an emotional connotation of indiscriminate killing.

9.7 The Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare avoided the use of both words, by choosing the term 'kill'. [6] However, this term is also emotive. The term 'harvest' implies repeated selection of animals from the one population and carries with it the connotation of commercial use. Its use as a more neutral term increased when the word 'cull' became emotive. Because the terms of reference of this Committee's inquiry focus on commercial use, the term 'harvest' has been chosen.

Kangaroo Species

9.8 There are 48 species in the family Macropodidea, comprising nine species of Potoroidae (rat-kangaroos, potoroos and bettongs) and 39 species of Macropodidae (kangaroos and wallabies). Of these, 6 species are now presumed extinct and some 9 are considered to be rare or endangered. [7]

9.9 All states and territories have legislation to protect kangaroos and they can only be taken under licence, either through a pest reduction permit, or under a commercial harvesting licence. In 1988, when the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare reported on kangaroos, ten species of macropods were subject to commercial use. This is now seven species: the four most abundant large kangaroos and three wallabies, as listed in Table 9.1. The last two species listed (Bennett's wallaby and the Tasmanian pademelon) are harvested under state management plans which have not been approved by Environment Australia and so products from them can only be traded interstate and not exported. There are several other species which are killed under pest destruction permits, including the Tammar wallaby on Kangaroo Island, and Swamp wallabies and Red-necked wallabies in Victoria.

Common NameScientific NameState Harvested
Red kangarooMacropus rufusQueensland

New South Wales

South Australia

Western Australia

Eastern grey kangarooMacropus giganteusQueensland

New South Wales

Tasmania

Wallaroo, Euro or

Hill kangaroo

Macropus robustusQueensland

New South Wales

South Australia

Western Australia

Western grey kangarooMacropus fuliginosusNew South Wales

South Australia

Western Australia

Whiptail wallaby Macropus parryiQueensland
Tasmanian pademelonThylogale billardierriiTasmania
Bennett's wallaby or Red-necked wallabyMacropus rufogriseusQueensland

Tasmania

Table 9.1 - Kangaroos and Wallabies subject to commercial harvesting. (Note: the last two species are only harvested for domestic use and products from them cannot be exported.)

Kangaroo-Based Industries

Regulation

9.10 The commercial use of kangaroos in a sustainable manner is considered compatible with the long-term conservation of their populations by both Federal and state governments. Endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 1992, the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development has as one of its objectives (1.4): 'to improve kangaroo management at the national level, including the removal of impediments to a sustainable commercial kangaroo industry'. As stated by the 1994 Bureau of Resource Sciences report, Commercial Use of Wild Animals: 'The positive conservation implications of the commercial kangaroo harvest have underpinned this major policy decision'. [8]

9.11 State governments have primary responsibility for developing kangaroo management plans. Where kangaroos are abundant and causing agriculture damage or are incompatible with other land uses, management programs can allow either commercial or non-commercial harvesting of kangaroos and wallabies. Kangaroos are protected animals and any reduction in their numbers must be done through licence and a royalty levied. [9] In practice, this is done through the purchase of a 'tag' for each kangaroo to be taken. Tags are often purchased by the shooter (either a professional or the property owner), but also may be purchased in bulk by the processor and distributed to shooters. Non-commercial harvesting is usually carried out by landholders and products from kangaroos taken in this way cannot be sold.

9.12 Products taken from kangaroos harvested under commercial licences can be sold throughout Australia, but cannot be sold overseas unless the relevant state government management program has been approved under the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982. Kangaroos are commercially harvested in five states: Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, and the annual commercial quota for each state is determined through consultations between each state conservation agency and the Federal agency, Environment Australia. Thus, through Federal statute, the Commonwealth Minister can, in theory, 'exert a major influence on the setting of quotas'. [10]

Industry Value

9.13 The commercial kangaroo industry consists of skin and leather, game meat and pet food meat sectors, both in domestic and export markets. The economic value of the industry, and each of its various components, have fluctuated considerably over the last few decades.

9.14 Recently there has been broader acceptance of the industry and its products. According to the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia (KIAA), the industry is currently going through a growth phase in terms of both volume and value. Over the ten year period from 1985 to 1995, growth averaged 5 per cent per year. Most significantly, the proportion of the industry with greatest value-added, meat for human consumption, increased steadily during that time. The KIAA has calculated that the industry now has a total value (including income, cost of alternative kangaroo control and cost of unemployment subsidies) of $240 million annually; a value that could rise $10 million per year simply by increasing the proportion of kangaroos used for human consumption, rather than pet food. [11]

9.15 According to RIRDC, the current annual farm-gate value for the kangaroo industry in 1997 was some $50 million. [12] The KIAA has estimated that the industry is worth some $37 million annually to the rural economy of Australia and national employment in the industry is in the vicinity of 4000 jobs. Pet meat sales add another $40-50 million, and leather exports generate about $120 million. The KIAA also noted that the industry contributes some $11 million in sales tax revenue to the government. [13] A report prepared by Macarthur Consulting for KIAA in 1994 claimed that the industry has the potential to grow to a level where it is contributing $250 million to the Australian economy. [14]

Meat

9.16 Kangaroo meat is consistently low in fat and those fats which it does contain are predominantly polyunsaturated, making it ideal for low cholesterol diets. Being a wild animal, the meat is free of chemical residues and low in contaminating bacteria. When prepared under ideal conditions, it is very tender and compares favourably to other red meats in terms of flavour. It provides an important alternative to beef, lamb or pork which have a much higher proportion of saturated fat. [15]

9.17 The kangaroo harvest produces an excess of meat. In Queensland, for example, the 1997 quota was 1.5 million kangaroos. Of these, about 25 per cent were taken for meat and skins, with the remainder taken for skins-only. Much of the meat taken is processed into pet food but there is still a very large amount wasted. Therefore the industry has concentrated in recent years on gaining acceptance of kangaroo meat for human consumption and increasing market share for meat. Through work by ARMCANZ, there are now strict national standards for hygiene in kangaroo harvest and processing in relation to meat for both pet food and human consumption.

9.18 In the 1950s and 1960s Australia exported a small amount of kangaroo meat for human consumption to the Federal Republic of Germany, but this market was lost for a number of reasons: poor product quality, poor packaging and marketing, and lack of government supervision. In the early 1980s revived interest in game meat led to a resumption of exports of kangaroo meat, in particular to West Germany. However, this lucrative market was dramatically reduced in 1985 when activists campaigned with adverse publicity in West Germany about kangaroo shooting in Australia (including the film Goodbye Joey). In the following few years, exports of meat for pet food was more than five times greater than it was for human consumption (600,000kg and 110,000kg respectively). [16]

9.19 Through persistent marketing and the development of improved products, exports recommenced and in the period 1988-89 to 1996-97 there was a 20 fold increase in the exports of kangaroo meat for human consumption (worth $5.2 million in 1996-97). The export of kangaroo meat to EU countries grew from zero in 1990 to $4.5 million in 1996-97, and the largest markets are currently the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, UK, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany. Other markets are Japan, the United States and Hong Kong. [17]

Skins

9.20 Kangaroo skins are either removed and salted in the field or delivered to a field chiller or processor still attached to the carcass. When each kangaroo is shot, a numbered tag must be fixed to the skin immediately to enable authorities to monitor the size of the harvest. Skins are traded as raw salted, semi-processed (pickled) or fully tanned. Kangaroos skins are graded on the basis of size and quality. Sizes are: small (0.27 to 0.45m2), medium (0.45 to 0.63 m2) and large (over 0.63m2). Skin quality is affected by fence scratches and tick infestation scars. Kangaroo leather has high tensile strength and is used primarily in the footwear manufacturing industry. It is more expensive than cow hide but is stronger and more attractive. At the moment there is a large amount of wasted kangaroo hide because markets for leather remain undeveloped. The value of preserved kangaroo skins fell between 1988-89 to 1996-97 from $17.4 million to $12.6 million. Japan is the largest market for kangaroo skins, followed by Hong Kong, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. [18]

Current Harvesting Practices

9.21 Commercially harvested kangaroos are shot at night by licensed shooters who must have permission from landowners and use firearms specified in the code of practice. Death via a head-shot must be sudden and painless and all efforts must be taken to locate and dispatch a wounded animal before targeting another. Kangaroos that are taken for meat must be eviscerated in the field and transported directly to a processing plant or to a field chiller to await transport with the skin still on. Kangaroos taken for skins-only must have the skin removed and salted in the field and the carcass cannot be used for meat. Tags must be applied to the skin, whether it is still on the carcass or removed.

Kangaroo Numbers

9.22 According to the KIAA, the total number of the five commercially harvested macropods fluctuates between 11 and 35 million animals. [19] Statistics on the number of kangaroos of each 'pest' species in Australia have been collected by Federal and state agencies for many years. This has been a direct result of the commercial harvest and the desire to monitor its impact on kangaroo demography. However, there are a number of difficulties associated with counting kangaroos. First, as expected with any natural population of animals, abundance changes according to season and climatic conditions, with more in good years and less following drought years. Second, because kangaroos are highly mobile and because they are primarily nocturnal, they are difficult to count precisely by any method.

9.23 Consequently there is controversy both over the claim that there are now more kangaroos than there were at the time of European settlement, [20] and the accuracy of the population counts and their costs. [21] However, while state agencies are generally satisfied that their methods are reasonably accurate, they argue that an absolute total is less important than the relative change in population densities from year to year in any given area. The KIAA agrees that it is not important to know the absolute number of animals in any given area; the more important fact is whether the population is increasing or declining and, if so, at what rate. [22]

Kangaroo Quotas

9.24 Each state determines its own annual quota for kangaroo harvesting, manages kangaroo surveys, determines the number of kangaroos taken (and whether they are taken for skin only or for full carcass) and controls licences. Quotas are species specific and in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia tags are issued that are colour-coded to denote species. In Queensland, harvesters are required to record species against each tag number. Each annual quota is typically 15-20 per cent of the previous year's total population.

9.25 Quotas are set to ensure a sustainable yield and have a built-in margin for error to accommodate unseasonably bad conditions or the advent of serious disease. The current total annual quota is something under 4 million kangaroos. However, with the exception of red kangaroos in Queensland, the quota is often not fully taken because the harvest is restrained by economics before the quota is reached. Whether the full quota is taken depends primarily on demand from meat processing works and skin traders. On average across Australia, the total annual harvest is usually only 60 per cent of the available quota. [23]

9.26 According to the KIAA the process for setting quotas is completely independent of the industry and any commercial influences it may have. In New South Wales, for example, the 1996 quota was fully taken with some regions filling the quota well before the end of the year. Despite this, owing to poor seasonal conditions, the quota for 1997 was set at a lower level than for 1996. [24]

9.27 However, some groups do not accept that the quota system is accurate or unbiased. The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC), for example, believes that the quota system 'means nothing' being 'little more than a public relations exercise'. [25] The AWPC argued in evidence to the Committee that the number of kangaroos of some species harvested in some states often exceeded the quota, although statistics to support this assertion were not provided. The Council also claimed that if the quota was a true tool of management, considerable fluctuations in the size of the harvest from year to year could be expected, but that since the 1970s the general trend had been a 'steady increase'. In relation to the South Australia quotas for 1996 and 1997 (Paragraph 9.33), the Council stated:

Many of us were shocked by the huge increase in the South Australia kangaroo kill quota which the 'protectors' of our wildlife, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in South Australia recommended for 1997 … a 50% increase from 632,000 to a massive 930,000. Defending such an untenable, unscientific, unjustified, unnecessary commercial kill on top of the loss of so many kangaroos to the choroid blindness disease, and other factors, Peter Alexander blamed the blowout population increase on dingo exclusion and the calicivrius as though the kangaroo multiplied because of these two factors … and 50% more besides!!! [26]

Queensland

9.28 The wild harvesting of four species of macropods is undertaken in Queensland under the government's comprehensive Nature Conservation (Macropod Harvesting) Conservation Plan 1994 (eastern grey, red, wallaroo and whiptail). The aims of the plan are to: ensure the conservation of the four species, manage them as an ecological resource, and reduce economic loss or damage to nature that high densities can cause.

New South Wales

9.29 The harvest of kangaroos in New South Wales is the only example of the commercial utilisation of free-ranging native animals in that state. Four species can be legally taken through a system administered by the NPWS (Macropus rufus, M. giganteus, M. robustus and M. fuliginosus). The primary purpose of the New South Wales Kangaroo Management Program is to maintain viable populations of all kangaroos across the state, and harvesting is intended as a management tool to minimise the damage caused by excessive numbers of kangaroos on all types of land, and in particular agricultural land. The commercial component operates in areas where the NPWS is satisfied that it can determine the number of kangaroos to a reasonable level of accuracy, and the non-commercial cull operates in all other areas. Counts are carried out by aerial survey. [27]

South Australia

9.30 Three species of kangaroo are commercially harvested in South Australia (Macropus rufus, M. fuliginosus and M. robustus). All three species are widespread and abundant throughout most regions of the state although they are harvested primarily from pastoral areas. The kangaroo industry is controlled under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 and regulated through the 'Kangaroo Conservation and Management Program', the goal of which is to manage kangaroo species in an ecologically sustainable manner integrated into regional development directions. The management program has a number of aims including the maintenance of kangaroos over their natural range; the management of their populations as a renewable biological resource; the minimisation of their unwanted impacts on other land uses; and ensuring that management practices and commercial harvesting adhere to animal welfare and best-practice standards. [28]

9.31 The annual kangaroo harvesting quota has two components: the sustainable use quota and the land management quota. The sustainable use quota is allocated in regions where kangaroo populations are secure and widespread and where a decision has been taken to maintain high numbers of one or more species. The land management quota is allocated to exert downward pressure where high numbers of kangaroos present a threat to other land management goals. The quotas are set in each of 31 land management regions having regard to information gathered from: broad aerial surveys; property based surveys; trends in population numbers since 1978; climatic indicators (of which rainfall is the most significant); acceptable harvesting levels that maintain a sustainable yield; land condition information; and advice from Soil Conservation Boards and the Pastoral Management Branch of DENR. [29]

9.32 The actual harvest has in fact never reached the quota set, although it has been getting closer each year. According to the South Australian Government, this indicates that the industry is reaching a stage where it is both ecologically and economically sustainable. [30]

9.33 In 1995, the red kangaroo population was estimated to be 1.7 million, the western grey to be 500,000 and the euro to be 350,000. [31] Quotas for 1996 and 1997, and per cent change are given in Table 9.2, below.

19961997Change
Red Kangaroo 441,700555,000+ 26%
Western Grey115,400280,000+ 140%
Euro74,900103,000+ 38%
Total632,000938,000+ 48%

Table 9.2 - Quotas for 1996 and 1997, and per cent change, for the three species of kangaroo harvested in South Australia (Source: Submission No. 318, p. 10).

9.34 South Australia was the first state to approve kangaroo meat for human consumption and thus industry development there is ahead of other states. In 1997, there were seven accredited processors and some 130 field operators. Seventy five per cent of the meat recovered is used for pet food and the remainder for human consumption, the latter having increased from five per cent in 1987. The current value of the industry to South Australia is about $13 million of which $2-3 million is returned to field processors.

Kangaroo Island

9.35 The Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) is a small macropod that previously occurred in semi-arid areas of south-western Western Australia and South Australia. It is now extinct on the mainland of South Australia but occurs in high numbers on Kangaroo Island. Given that pest destruction permits for some 10,000 Tamar wallabies are issued each year, [32] the South Australian government believes that the species could be harvested on the island in a sustainable manner.

9.36 Discussions with farmers on Kangaroo Island resulted in a trial harvest of 80 wallabies to determine the potential of their skins for leather products. The results of the trial showed that while the quality of the leather was quite good, the small size of the skin would limit options for use. In addition, the very small quantity of meat taken from the carcass was also considered to be a limiting factor.

9.37 The future of this industry depends now on cost benefit analyses to determine whether it is economically viable, the development of a population monitoring program to determine the level of sustainable harvest and the development of a management plan. While supportive of the idea, the South Australian Government is unable to provide resources for further work and has left the project in the hands of interested farmers. [33]

Tasmania

9.38 Two species of wallaby are harvested in Tasmania: Bennett's wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) and the Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii). Both have been hunted for meat, skins and sport since European settlement, and taken by Aboriginal people before that. Both are considered to be agricultural pests in some areas. Prior to the demise of the European fur trade, nearly all wallabies harvested in Tasmania were taken for their skins. At the peak of the fur market, between 1978 and 1980, about 250,000 skins were traded annually.

9.39 While recreational shooters take up to 500,000 wallabies per year (for sport, their own consumption and for pet food), the commercial trade is only about 100,000 animals annually. Since 1986, Tasmania has been unable to obtain the necessary Commonwealth approval under the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 and so wallaby meat cannot be exported (but there is still an active domestic trade, mostly of Bennett's wallabies). [34] Lenah Game Meats processes a small number of Bennett's Wallaby (8,000 to 10,000 for the domestic market) and hopes to find export markets for them because of their detrimental impact on the environment at the moment. Each wallaby yields about 3kg of meat which has a finer texture and is sweeter and lighter in colour than kangaroo meat. Lenah Game Meats markets wallaby meat in a range of fully trimmed, ready to use cuts for restaurants and supermarkets. [35]

9.40 A further number of wallabies are killed under crop protection licences by farmers often through the application of poison baits (the chemical 1080), although the use of this method of eradication, as with possums, is controversial. The submission made by the Tasmanian Government concluded:

Despite this high level of harvesting, annual monitoring of wallaby populations since 1975 indicate no long term decrease in wallaby populations. In fact, since 1985, Bennett's wallaby and Tasmanian pademelon populations have undergone significant increases in numbers.

The long history of exploitation indicates a sustainable wallaby harvest of over 500,000 animals per annum. [36]

9.41 Impediments to further trade in meat include public health concerns about disease risks potentially associated with game meat, and bureaucratic barriers where, according to the Tasmanian Government, the export of wallaby meat from Tasmania is being prevented by the Commonwealth requiring management strategies that have been developed on the mainland that are inappropriate in Tasmania. [37]

Western Australia

9.42 The Western Australian Government provides for the commercial harvesting of the western grey kangaroo, the red kangaroo and the euro under separate management plans. The aims of each plan, however, are similar: to maintain populations over their natural range, to contain the deleterious effects on land management practices and, where possible, to manage kangaroos as a renewable resource. Quotas vary between 5 and 15 per cent. [38]

Victoria

9.43 A kangaroo industry existed in the 1980s in Victoria but it failed through lack of adequate numbers of kangaroos and excessive distance from properties to processing facilities. The Victorian Government does not permit the commercial use of kangaroos on the basis that the industry would be uneconomic. This opinion is based on the small number of excess kangaroos available, coupled with costs associated with Commonwealth compliance. There are, however, some processing facilities in Victoria and kangaroo meat is brought in from other states.

9.44 All kangaroos taken in Victoria are done so under the Wildlife Act 1975 either through pest reduction permits on private or leasehold land, or in conservation areas when culling is deemed to be appropriate. In 1995, the number taken from private land or leasehold was 21,400. In 1996 it was around 24,110 and by mid-October 1997, 29,093 had been taken. [39] Over the six years to 1997, some 13,000 kangaroos had been taken from Hattah Kulkyne National Park as part of a vegetation management program. In addition, an unknown number of kangaroos are shot illegally each year, [40] as in all other states.

Opposition to Kangaroo Harvesting

Opposition by some people to the harvest of kangaroos has existed for many years, both in Australia and overseas. This opposition is variously based on:

9.45 Objections based on the grounds of either moral philosophy or unsustainability often incorporate arguments from other disciplines to support their case, such as economics (the cost of government monitoring and government subsidies, for example) or parasitology (diseases carried by kangaroos).

Animal Rights and Animal Welfare

9.46 All shooting of kangaroos, whether on private or public land, is governed by relevant state or territory law. In order to assist in the humane destruction of kangaroos, a national Code of Practice was produced by the Commonwealth NPWS and endorsed by the Council of Nature Conservation Ministers in 1985. The Code was revised in 1990 as a result of changes recommended by the RSPCA and the National Advisory Committee on Kangaroos. [42] The Code 'sets an achievable standard of humane conduct and is the minimum required of persons shooting kangaroos'. The code specifies the circumstances under which a kangaroo can be shot, the method of shooting to be used, methods for the dispatch of injured kangaroos and pouch young, and the types of firearms and ammunition that can be used.

9.47 In all states and territories in Australia it is a condition of the licence that the shooter comply with the code of practice. In addition, to obtain a licence each shooter must attend and pass a TAFE course which covers matters such as wildlife regulations, shooting competency, equipment and meat hygiene. [43] In some states, such as New South Wales, it is a punishable offence to knowingly have, or to offer for sale a kangaroo carcass that has not been head-shot.

9.48 There is, however, considerable controversy over the efficacy of the Code. While governments believe that it is an appropriate and effective mechanism to ensure compliance with animal welfare standards, a number of NGOs do not hold this view.

9.49 The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC), believes that the kangaroo industry is inherently cruel and that the Code of Practice is a farce. [44] Others such as Mr Richard Jones (MLC) [45], Animal Liberation branches across Australia, Australians Against Commercialisation of Wildlife (AACW) and ANZFAS supported this view. The AWPC argued in evidence to the Committee that recommendations made by the RSPCA concerning the incidence of cruelty in the kangaroo industry have been ignored by government. Of particular concern to the Council was the fate of joeys when their mothers were killed:

The bonding of a female and her joey is as strong as it is in primates, yet the nightly attacks on family mobs and the killing of the females goes on unabated, leaving behind orphaned joeys (bashing, clubbing, bludgeoning, crushing, decapitating of in-pouch joeys) and of course, the ex-pouch joeys that suffer from starvation, chilling, increased predation, and psychic depravation without their mothers upon whom they are totally dependent. [46]

9.50 In submissions made by Animal Liberation (ACT) and Animal Liberation (Victoria) considerable criticism was made of kangaroo harvesting practises. The ACT Branch submission asserted that the culling of kangaroos was the 'vastest and cruelest wildlife slaughter in the world' [47] and the Victorian Branch submission claimed that 'there exists no method to enforce humane treatment of kangaroos – cruelty is rife'. [48] Animal Liberation (ACT) asserted that illegal killing of kangaroos occurred and that legal culling allowed illegal killing to be 'so easy to get away with'. [49] Animal Liberation argued that if all kangaroo killing were illegal, which it believes should be the case, it would be impossible for illegal shooters to sell kangaroo products. [50]

9.51 At a 1996 conference organised by AWPC, Mr Jones (MLC) claimed that the Code was completely ineffectual as a mechanism to prevent cruelty:

The Code of practice is not worth the paper it is written on. The Code is not enforced and can never be enforced. How many prosecutions have there been for cruelty to kangaroos for example? Just two or three. How is it possible to monitor shooters all over the bush at night? There would have to be a ranger accompanying every shooter … every night. The idea is preposterous. [51]

9.52 However, the Committee notes that at the same conference Mr Russel Vivian, a professional kangaroo shooter, claimed that enforcement of the Code did in fact occur in remote places and that penalties for non-compliance were a sufficient deterrent for shooters to comply:

We are strictly controlled by many Authorities especially the National Parks and Wildlife Service who turn up for spot checks anywhere, anytime, day or night. I have met Rangers and their Law Enforcement Officers in excess of 80kms from town on many occasions in the early hours…2-3-4a.m. for spot checks. There are $300 on the spot fines for any mistakes. [52]

9.53 The more significant issue, however, appears to be compliance with the Code of Practice, or lack of it, in the non-commercial harvest. While all commercial shooters risk losing their licence and thus their livelihood if they are found to have contravened the code, landowners who are granted 'shoot and lie' permits do not have such a strong incentive to comply and are less subject to scrutiny. Professor Gordon Grigg of the Centre for Conservation Biology at the University of Queensland, suggested that animal welfare groups were 'actually looking in the wrong direction' when they focused on the commercial industry because, from an animal welfare point of view, the non-commercial pest destruction was of much greater cause for concern. Professor Grigg noted that because dealers risked losing their licences if they were found to have accepted carcasses or skins which had not been head shot, the commercial industry risked significant economic losses if compliance was not met. The solution on rangelands, according to Professor Grigg, was to consider all large kangaroos a resource rather than a pest. Then there would be an incentive to preserve them and to only remove them under approved, commercial programs which included strict control over animal welfare. Professor Grigg also argued that as the kangaroo industry expanded, the number of full-time professional shooters would increase thus increasing the probability that the kill was conducted humanely. [53]

9.54 Finally, the KIAA pointed out that, ironically, should the ability to legally take out superabundant kangaroos be removed, killing would still most likely occur illegally and thus because of the remoteness of most operations, any control that the government had over animal welfare would disappear and the situation would likely be much worse. [54]

Impact of Harvesting on Conservation & Sustainability

9.55 A number of submissions to the Committee expressed the view that harvesting was acceptable only where it was proven necessary for the preservation and benefit of the species; that is, a 'cull' in the strict scientific sense of the word. [55] Accompanying this was the concern that now a commercial industry has been established, industry interests would carry more weight than conservation, and natural populations would thus be threatened. [56] For example, Mr Jones (MLC) argued that kangaroo harvesting was now not so much a pest control program as an industry driven by markets in Europe and America [57] and that the commercialisation of superabundant kangaroos had resulted in more animals being killed than necessary simply to keep the industry going:

If there were no commercial industry at all and they were just shot and let lie, then there would be far fewer kangaroos killed, I have no doubt about that, because the perceived need to kill them would not be there. The majority of shooting is done by shooters who go around to properties asking if they can shoot the kangaroos. I have friends who get visited every week by shooters asking if they can shoot their kangaroos. Very often the farmer will say yes. [58]

9.56 The community organisation AACW questioned the overall efficacy of the kangaroo management program and its ability to accurately monitor and, more importantly, protect the large kangaroo species. Their concerns included:

9.57 Some conservation groups also expressed concern that the kangaroo harvest was not ecologically sustainable: that it had a detrimental impact on both the abundance and distribution of kangaroo populations and the demographic characteristics of each population. In terms of demography, the main areas of concern were the selective elimination of larger, fitter animals resulting in a reduction in average size of the population and reduced genetic fitness of the population. [60] Several submissions provided a copy of a conference paper by Mr John Reilly, Lecturer in Aboriginal Land Management at the Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE entitled The Growing Culture of Institutionalised Wildlife Exploitation in South Australia. [61] The abstract of this paper summed up the views of conservation organisations concerned about the increasing trend towards commercial utilisation of wildlife:

Kangaroo management policies in South Australia have followed an overall trend from conservation to exploitation. In 1996, the harvesting of kangaroos principally from the pastoral zone was abandoned. As kangaroos are now being harvested to almost 100% of their quota limit and an expanding industry demanding more product, a new and somewhat alarming kangaroo management plan has been introduced. Aggressive marketing and competition in a now small, but powerful industry, wanting more and more product to feed its commercial avarice, is placing incredible pressures on those wildlife officers in the field responsible for implementing and policing kangaroo management programs, and on those wildlife personnel charged with maintaining sustainable biological levels for the conservation of the wild populations. Implementation of this plan heralds dire consequences for genetic health of individual populations and does not auger well for the ultimate survival of major macropod species harvested in South Australia. [62]

9.58 Yet the South Australian Government and others emphasise the important role that commercial kangaroo harvesting plays in achieving conservation objectives, especially in the rangelands of Australia. The Bureau of Resource Sciences report on Commercial Use of Wild Animals argued that this role could in fact be further enhanced by increasing the value of kangaroos through the greater development of game meat markets and an expansion of leather processing and manufacture.

9.59 The kangaroo industry has been operating in Australia for over 30 years and during this time more than two million animals have been taken annually. After surveying scientific evidence, the KIAA has concluded: 'Thirty years of utilisation and scientific scrutiny has shown that [the industry] has no negative effects on the kangaroo population'. [63] In fact, over this same period, the total kangaroo population has increased [64] and according to Professor Grigg: 'There may be no better example of large scale, sustainable commercial use of wildlife than the harvesting of kangaroos in Australia'. [65]

9.60 In addition to being profitable, the KIAA believes that the kangaroo industry is 'well regarded and arguably the world's best model of sustainable wildlife utilisation'; it 'fits tightly into the criteria for sustainable utilisation published by many organisations including CSIRO, AWMS and IUCN'. [66] To support this view the KIAA provided statistics to show that the harvest was sustainable at regional, state and national levels. [67]

9.61 In a case study of the kangaroo industry, the submission by the Department of Environment described how:

A reduction of kangaroo numbers in a given area may be desirable to achieve favourable environmental outcomes such as:

9.62 In the same case study, under the heading 'Environmental Impacts', the Department's submission made only three points:

Opposition to the harvesting of kangaroos is mainly based on animal welfare or philosophical concerns. Kangaroos have a high public appeal and many people simply do not want to see them killed.

Some concerns have been raised about the harvest interfering with natural selection processes, and the possibility of harvesting interfering with the natural gender ratio of kangaroo populations. The veracity of these claims are subject to dispute, particularly as humans have had a long hunter-prey association with kangaroos which existed for several tens of thousands of years prior to European settlement.

Allegations that the commercially harvested kangaroo species are threatened with extinction cannot be supported by the available data. [69]

9.63 However, the HSI firmly believes that the Australian Government has an obligation to use all monitoring tools available to it to properly manage 'sustained use' wildlife programs and in the interests of ensuring sustainability, should have all commercially harvested species of macropods listed in Appendix II of CITES. However, despite lobbying action by HSI, the Government has declined to do this. Nevertheless, the HSI believes that there is a need for a joint NGO coalition to:

9.64 As confirmation that such action was already in train, both Animal Liberation (ACT) and Mr Jones (MLC) claimed that international groups were already planning campaigns against the commercial killing of kangaroos in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics. [71]

Potential for Disease

9.65 Another issue of concern to opponents of the kangaroo harvest is the potential for disease to be carried by kangaroos. This subject has been addressed at length by Dr David Obendorf, a wildlife veterinary pathologist. In a paper given to the 1996 Wildlife Protection Council Conference, Dr Obendorf described how kangaroos and wallabies can harbour a wide range of parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases, some of which even meat inspection procedures were unlikely to detect unless gross lesions were evident or routine microbial samples taken for pathological testing. Of particular concern to Dr Obendorf were Toxoplasmosis and Salmonellosis because they had significant public heath implications. He noted that there was worldwide recognition that game meats were a source of infection for hunters, processors and consumers, especially when care was not taken in eviscerating carcases or when the meat was served undercooked or raw. In conclusion, Dr Obendorf noted that public confidence in any food industry depended on its overall credibility as a supplier of safe products and thus, for an industry based on wild harvesting, high standards of hygiene and disease surveillance were especially necessary. Continued credibility in export markets also depended on this. [72]

9.66 Mr Jones (MLC) claimed in evidence to the Committee that the potential for disease in kangaroo meat was a serious issue for regulators because the level of disease in wild animals was unpredictable, though often high, and because the impact on humans of a number of these diseases was uncertain. He argued that the problem of disease was compounded by the fact that kangaroos were slaughtered in the field, where lack of enforcement of the Code of Practice relating to hygiene standards resulted in minimal observance. [73] The Spencer Gulf Environmental Alliance also commented that they believed that not enough independent and unbiased research had been conducted on diseases present in native animals which could be transferred to other animals, including humans. [74]

9.67 However, the KIAA noted in its submission work carried out by the Agriculture and Resource Ministers Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ) Meat Standards Committee over the last few years on kangaroo processing standards. Through this work, the harvest and processing Quality Assurance regulations for both human consumption and pet food production have been compiled into uniform National Standards which now ensure protection of the hygiene integrity of products throughout the processing chain. [75] The KIAA also noted that because kangaroos were wild animals, the disease rate in them was usually very low and studies of rejection rates from abattoirs had shown rates for kangaroos to be generally lower than for domesticated animals (sheep and cattle). [76] Finally, in discussing Mr Jones' evidence, the KIAA commented:

[His evidence] is clearly misleading. There is no evidence for example that the kangaroo population is infected with tuberculosis as alleged, similarly for many of the other conditions. Certainly for all of the conditions listed there is clear knowledge of their effects on human health, for example the tissue worm Diofilaria roemeri cited and discussed in paragraph 2 page 13 can not be transmitted to humans in any form, it can only live in the tissue of kangaroos. Similarly, generalised rhabdomyolysis is a muscle damage condition sometimes seen in animals of all kinds as a result of extreme stress, it is not transmittable to humans. [77]

Standard of Information Received

9.68 The Committee notes that some of the arguments used by individuals and groups opposed to kangaroo harvesting were based on information gathered at least a decade ago, followed by the claim that 'nothing had changed since then'. In particular, a study published by the RSPCA in 1985, which portrayed kangaroo harvesting as chronically inhumane, was frequently cited in evidence to the Committee by groups opposed to harvesting of kangaroos as if that evidence was still valid. [78] However, that report had actually found that, on average across Australia, 85 per cent of kangaroos were killed humanely with a clean head shot (in NSW the figure was 95%). The report had concluded that: '… if achieved correctly, kangaroo culling is considered to be one of the most humane forms of animal slaughter'.

9.69 The Committee notes that, in the absence of any follow-up study, there is in fact no evidence to prove whether animal welfare standards have improved or declined since that time. The Committee points out that as a consequence of the RSPCA report, the Code of Practice was strengthened to improve animal welfare aspects of the kangaroo harvest. In addition, the Committee notes that animal liberation groups failed to acknowledge the 1988 Select Committee on Animal Welfare report on Kangaroos which found that: 'There is no doubt that the shooting of kangaroos by professional shooters is the most humane way of killing kangaroos'. [79]

9.70 Among the submissions presented by animal liberation groups and individuals there were other examples where outdated or incorrect information was used to support a case against the commercial kangaroo industry, or assertions were made which were not supported by data or were not sourced. Examples follow with a rebuttal given in parenthesis.

9.71 Concerned at the lack of rigour in some submissions, the KIAA provided responses to a number of the more frequently repeated inaccuracies. These are summarised in Table 9.3.

Assertion by Anti-Harvesting LobbyResponse by Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia [91]
Females are preferred for human consumption and the proportion of females taken is increasing. [92]The harvest is in fact predominantly male, and there is no data to suggest that the number of females taken is increasing.
The minimum skin size has been reduced because the average size of kangaroos has decreased as a result of selective harvesting of large animals, and therefore shooters need to take smaller animals. [93]A minimum skin size of 4 sq ft was first introduced in Queensland at the request of industry in 1995 because the industry in that state is almost completely driven by the skin trade and the minimum size was seen as a tool for eliminating smaller inferior product. In 1996 it was increased to 5sq ft because the skin trade was overheated. I997 it was reduced because skin prices had fallen.
The dramatic decline in the Queensland harvest is due to population decline. [94] The take was considerably reduced in 1997 because skin prices had dropped dramatically; not because the population had declined.
Harvesting tags are not species specific in any state. [95]Tags are species specific (and colour coded) in all states except Queensland where the shooter must identify the species on each tag.
Harvesting is having an adverse effect on demography and genetic diversity. [96] A study of the red kangaroo in Queensland has shown no difference between harvested and non-harvested populations. [97] Studies in Western Australia and South Australia show that harvesting has had no detrimental impact on demography and genetic diversity. [98]
Harvesting is at net expense to taxpayers and only a few people profit. [99]The industry receives little in the way of government assistance and may in fact be of financial benefit to governments. [100]
Quotas are usually filled early in the year leaving the ongoing demand to be met by the black market. [101] It is more common for quotas to remain unfilled at the end of the year and in the few instances where they are filled tag returns show that this always happens late in the year.
Most females shot have three dependent joeys. [102]Scientific evidence is available which shows that at any one time females may have none, one or only two dependent joeys. Rarely if ever would a female have three dependent joeys.

Table 9.3 – Assertions made by animals rights action groups and responses provided by the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia.

Industry Potential

Market Development

9.72 The kangaroo industry is the largest, single, commercial wildlife industry in Australia. However, it is not a cohesive industry being marked by fierce competition between a number of key processors in each of the sectors: skins and leather, game meat and pet food. Recently, the various industry stakeholders (pastoralists, shooters, processors, government agencies and marketing agencies) have realised that a more cohesive approach may be necessary to more rapidly increase market penetration. [103]

9.73 The 1994 Bureau of Resource Sciences Report on Commercial Use of Wild Animals suggested that there was significant potential to increase the value of the kangaroo industry in Australia. It noted, however, that the industry was constrained as much by public attitudes as by any commercial factor:

Realising the potential value of the kangaroo industry will require many changes in laws and attitudes to develop markets for the products. It will require a shift from the philosophy that kangaroos are pests whose populations should be minimised towards an attitude that kangaroos are a resource that should be highly valued, protected and incorporated into our future agriculture production systems. … Public education that kangaroo slaughtering and management practices are in accordance with animal welfare and conservation concerns is necessary if the products are to be marketed effectively. [104]

9.74 This view was reiterated in a recent RIRDC report, researched by Macarthur Consulting, which found that the public has a negative perception of the kangaroo industry which was repeatedly and emphatically reinforced by the media in Australia and overseas, while positive perceptions did not get the same degree of media exposure. [105] The negative perceptions reported were:

9.75 Positive perceptions, which receive insufficient media attention included:

9.76 The RIRDC report found that there were some 'overwhelming messages' regarding the future development of the kangaroo industry on a sustainable basis. These were:

9.77 The RIRDC Report found that much more information was needed about the kangaroo industry in terms of: an accurate statistical industry database, economic studies along the value-added chain, quantification of economic benefits to regional economies, quantification of environmental benefits and constraints, and impact of government charges on processing. The report also made comment about industry needs in the areas of market development and skills training. In terms of population dynamics and ecology, the report found that there was: (1) a need to develop dynamic population models for each region of Australia utilising commercial industry tag return data to reduce aerial survey costs and to provide more timely kangaroo population estimates; and (2) a need for total grazing pressure impact studies on rangelands and the development of strategies that will facilitate sustained production of both domesticated stock and kangaroos. [108]

9.78 The BRS Report Commercial Use of Wild Animals commented that a number of important observations about wildlife management could be drawn from the Australian kangaroo harvest:

Farming Kangaroos

9.79 There is currently no commercial farming of kangaroos in Australia [110] and there is a divergence of opinion as to whether macropods can be 'farmed' in the strict sense of the word. Many wildlife and animal welfare groups take the view that because of inherent characteristics in the biology of macropods, they cannot be farmed in any conventional way. They are difficult to contain within fences, they cannot be herded easily and they cannot be transported live to slaughter facilities. [111]

9.80 The Australian Wildlife Protection Council stated most emphatically in its submission that they believed that kangaroos could not be farmed:

… in the true sense of the words, KANGAROOS CANNOT BE FARMED. They cannot be herded, they cannot be yarded, they cannot be rounded up, they cannot be transported to a domestic standard abattoir, drenched for parasites, or killed under strict regulations in an abattoir. To repeat: they cannot be farmed and it is tantamount to lying to keep saying that kangaroos can be farmed; THEY CANNOT BE FARMED. [112]

9.81 The Kangaroo Protection Co-operative Ltd argued that kangaroos could not be penned because the animals became susceptible to disease and cited an example of a farm that was established in New South Wales in the 1970s with 'disastrous effects'. [113] Mr Jones (MLC) also put this point of view, claiming that: 'farming degrades the health of animals and there is a corresponding drop in the value placed upon the products derived from animals raised in artificial conditions'. He also asserted that farmed kangaroos have a higher incidence of some diseases, notably lumpy jaw and coccidiosis. [114]

9.82 However, as exemplified by the view of an officer of the Tasmanian Government, some people believe that the proposal to farm kangaroos may eventuate:

I think we have got to look at the experience we have had with other farmed species. We have taken from the wild here deer, which are very flighty animals and which have adapted to farming practices quite well and are well managed under normal farming practices here. So I think that over time [kangaroos] would adapt and would be able to be farmed because the same thing was said about deer. It was said that we would never farm deer, and they are being well farmed and well grown now. [115]

9.83 However, regardless of the technical constraints of kangaroo farming, economic analyses suggest that to do so would be unprofitable at the moment. As quoted by the KIAA, a study by Mr Peter Hardiman, Principal Agronomist with the Strategic Policy Unit of the Queensland DPI, found:

… at present day commodity prices and input costs, the conversion of the average sheep/beef farm to a pure kangaroo ranch is highly unprofitable. The greater the proportion of kangaroos relative to sheep/beef, the greater the financial loss. Given the key variables as outlined, no grazier would consider changing his current farming system in favour of kangaroos'. [116]

Rangeland Harvesting – Replacing Sheep with Kangaroos

9.84 The rangelands of western Queensland and New South Wales are used extensively for low intensity grazing of sheep and cattle. Unlike high intensity agriculture areas, which have totally or almost totally lost their native vegetation cover, much of the rangeland zone is still predominantly in its natural state. However, the combined impact of sheep and large numbers of kangaroos has been detrimental to the ecological integrity of much of the region. At the moment there is a conflict between the need to control superabundant kangaroos, the economic imperatives of agriculture (sheep) and the needs of conservation in the rangeland. In short, there is a need to reduce total grazing pressure.

9.85 The kangaroo industry now plays an important role in managing total grazing pressure on the rangeland which, according the KIAA, would be some 30 per cent greater if kangaroos were not harvested. [117] If harvesting ceased, it is possible that the environment sustainability of these regions would be threatened with desertification. However, there is also evidence to suggest that the sheep industry in the rangelands is economically and ecologically unsustainable in the long term and that further removal of kangaroos from these areas would not increase sheep productivity.

9.86 With these factors in mind, Professor Grigg has suggested that conservation purposes would be best served by removing sheep and allowing kangaroos to remain. [118] Professor Grigg has proposed a system of 'rangelands sheep replacement therapy' such that graziers be encouraged to diversify into kangaroo harvesting which, if meat prices were sufficiently high, would allow sheep numbers to be reduced. In doing so, 'hard hooved' and destructive sheep would be replaced with 'soft-footed' kangaroos and the total grazing pressure on the rangelands could be reduced, resulting in conservation benefits. [119] To be successful, Professor Grigg's proposal would need government endorsement and an increased effort in marketing of kangaroo as an environmentally sound, healthy game meat because until high value-added markets for the kangaroo industry are assured, rural properties would be unable to survive.

9.87 This proposal is supported by the National Farmers' Federation, although Mr Rob Thorman representing the Federation noted that graziers needed more information about the quota system and how it worked for such a system to be a success. [120]

9.88 The proposal is not supported, however, by the AWPC, members of which believe that the problem of land degradation in the rangelands is caused by overgrazing by livestock (sheep and cattle) and that persuading landholders to switch to 'farming' kangaroos would not solve the problem because 'the great majority would simply 'farm' both the kangaroo and their traditional stock'. The 'traditional compulsion to overgraze would remain'. [121]

9.89 The AWPC also argued that graziers would not farm kangaroos instead of sheep and cattle for a number of economic reasons: kangaroos have a lower reproductive rate than sheep; their products are a one-off as the animals must be killed to obtain skin or meat (whereas wool can be shorn from sheep each year); and kangaroos produce much less meat and cannot be harvested until 18 months of age, or older (whereas a lamb produces 20kg of meat at aged 3-6 months). [122] The AWPC described a number of diseases to which kangaroos are susceptible, and about which little is known (lumpy-jaw, post capture myopathy, a range of internal and external parasites and an ocular virus which blinded many kangaroos in south eastern Australia in 1995). In addition, the AWPC claimed that it was near impossible to herd or yard kangaroos so that efficient management of stock would be impossible. [123]

9.90 Some conservation groups argued that the ecological problems in the rangelands were not simply caused by too many kangaroos and that the answer was not solely a kangaroo harvesting program. According to the Conservation Council of Western Australia, the answer lay for the most part in total grazing management, of which kangaroos were only a part. [124] The Arid Lands Environment Centre provided cautionary comment on the concept of what it termed 'free-ranging commercial farming':

The consequences of the management of an environment for a single economically beneficial species must be recognised and monitored, as distinguished from management of the ecosystem as a whole. It is quite possible that such a management regime, far from promoting the conservation of biodiversity, may in fact endanger other species. [125]

9.91 Aside from the arguments for and against 'sheep replacement therapy', the proposal does not appear to be economically viable at this stage. As described by Mr David Carrigan of the Department of Queensland Primary Industries:

We have researched that and found that, given the parameters that we were dealing with and that wool prices are very low, there is very little prospect of a conversion from sheep to kangaroos in economic terms,quite apart from the fact that kangaroos, naturally, would be very much more difficult to manage. In poor seasons you can shift sheep off and bring them back but it is not so with kangaroos. It would appear from that research that the people who are using the rangeland are going to have to live with sheep and kangaroos for the foreseeable future. There is a considerable population of kangaroos there, of course, and in some seasons it is a detrimental population, we believe. [126]

9.92 In the meanwhile, the Australasian Wildlife Management Society (AWMS) has recommended in a Draft Policy on The Commercial Harvesting of Macropods, the following, inter alia:

9.93 The Department of Environment concluded in its submission that, given that sheep profitability at this stage is greater than kangaroo, 'kangaroo harvesting should be seen as part of a farm diversification rather than replacement strategy'. [128] But Endemica Furniture, a business based on recycled native timber and kangaroo leather, had a stronger vision:

If kangaroos could be used as an economically viable alternative to traditional livestock…, then farmers would have incentives to move towards practises which are sustainable in the long term. Soil destabilisation and erosion would be slowed (and in the long term possibly reversed), kangaroos will not be wasted as pests but instead valued as a resource, Australians (and the rest of the world) will have access to excellent quality leather and meat, and the current government will be remembered for its foresight in setting Australian land use practises onto a path of improved sustainability. [129]

Industry Constraints

9.94 Despite its long existence, the kangaroo industry still faces a number of formidable barriers, both tariff and non-tariff. A major economic factor hindering the development of efficiencies in the kangaroos industry is the relatively high cost of processing. Costs are high for two main reasons: the lack of markets for kangaroo meat which means that much is wasted; [130] and high transport costs (because kangaroos cannot be transported live, carcasses must be stored and transported in chillers, often long distances from processing factories).

9.95 Regulatory compliance is also a problem in the kangaroo industry. Obtaining a permit to export products is a lengthy process through an extensive 'paper-trail' which is time consuming and expensive to both industry and government. [131] The cost of reviewing management plans is also of concern to the industry. Under the current system, Environment Australia is required to review state management plans every three years. While these reviews provided opportunity for refinement of the plan in the early years, in recent years few changes have been made. Yet the process costs in the vicinity of $500,000 each time it is reviewed. The KIAA recommended that in view of the fact that there was also a mechanism for annual monitoring of kangaroo populations and quota setting, review of management plans be extended to every five years. [132]

9.96 Another constraint is lack of awareness by consumers. A recent consumer survey found that there was generally a low level of consciousness of kangaroo meat as an option for home cooking. Only 10 per cent of people surveyed spontaneously mentioned kangaroo meat when asked 'what types of meat come to mind?'. While just half of the people questioned had eaten kangaroo meat, only a quarter of those had done so in the previous 12 months and then usually only once or twice and most likely at a restaurant. Interestingly, more than twice as many people were aware of, or ate kangaroo meat in Adelaide, than in the other four cities surveyed (Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney). [133]

9.97 However, the most significant constraints are: (1) the negative effects of strong coordinated campaigns against the industry conducted by animal rights groups; and (2) the continued perception that superabundant kangaroos are 'pests' rather than a resource.

Anti-Harvesting Campaigns

9.98 The most significant obstacle to expansion of the kangaroo industry appears to be the determined and well-funded international campaigns to eliminate kangaroo harvesting conducted by animal liberation groups such as Vegetarian International Voice for Animals (VIVA!) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), supported by groups in Australia such as the Australian Wildlife Protection Council. [134]

9.99 The language used by these groups tends to be strongly emotive and exaggerated. As noted in evidence by the KIAA: 'These groups regularly mount campaigns based on emotional and ethical opposition to the industry which are high on rhetoric but deal loose with facts [which] have significant effects on sales, especially in export destinations'. [135] Examples presented in evidence to the Committee include the following:

While being seduced by the export dollar signs and profits to be made from our kangaroos, this [Senate] Committee has a responsibility to take a long, hard look at what is happening to the wildlife in Australia and they must ask themselves if they want an Australia without the special magic of mobs of wild kangaroos. [136]

The kangaroo industry is a nagging disgrace which brings shame to this wonderful country. [137]

Why do the massacres continue, despite world wide condemnation? They continue for political reasons – simply put … NO GOVERNMENT CAN BE ELECTED WITHOUT THOSE FEW RURAL SEATS NEEDED TO WIN … and the people who inhabit those rural seats have no room for kangaroos. [138]

9.100 Of greater concern than the liberal use of emotive language, however, is the fact that these groups sometimes use distorted or incorrect information to promote their campaigns. In the opinion of the KIAA:

… major export earnings for Australia have also been blocked by deliberate, international misinformation campaigns by so-called 'green' groups. These campaigns of pernicious lies are organised by groups who are obviously more concerned with the propagation of their own political species than that of the Australian kangaroo. [139]

9.101 The Committee directly encountered an example of this in a brochure produced by VIVA!, presented at a hearing in Sydney, which claimed:

Four million reasons not to eat kangaroo meat … Clubbed to death, stamped on, left to die of starvation – the fate of four million 'joeys' each year whose mothers are shot for meat. This is a miserable little by-product of a booming trade in exotic meats. Five million adult kangaroos are also killed every year. It is done with rifles, at night, without supervision and the result is an animal welfare disgrace.

9.102 Another brochure presented to the Committee claimed that 3.6 million joeys died each year as a result of the harvest and when asked by Senator Calvert to comment on this 'fact', Mr John Kelly, Development Manager of KIAA commented:

That would assume that 120 per cent of all kangaroos taken were females. The average harvest, at the moment, is about three million animals. Of them, obviously, a significant proportion are going to be males. This is what I mean by much of this material that gets peddled overseas is grossly inaccurate and slanderous, and we need strong responses from our government to counter it. [140]

9.103 The main concern of the KIAA is that state and Federal governments 'have shown little initiative in assisting the industry counter … ill informed and vehement opposition from radical conservation and animal welfare groups'. [141] The KIAA is convinced that government should play a greater role in promoting kangaroo harvesting as an enlightened form of land management. If this was done, 'it would gain Australia enormous kudos and acclaim rather than the condemnation which a very small proportion of our society is unjustifiably seeking'. [142]

9.104 The international image of Australia in relation to kangaroos is important and of concern to a number of people. Mr Clem Campbell described in his submission to the Committee how kangaroos which were managed as an agricultural liability, could become an important national financial asset but for the very powerful influence that animal liberation groups and some conservation groups have both over the governments of Australia and other countries. [143]

9.105 The misrepresentation of information is of concern even to the RSPCA. While the organisation does not condone kangaroo harvesting, the RSPCA notes: 'There are a number of issues which make this issue complex and at present unsolvable. It is not helpful to Australian animal welfare societies for international groups to misunderstand the complexity of this matter'. [144]

9.106 The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is also concerned about Australia's image overseas. When questioned about the Tesco incident (see box), a representative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade described how the campaign had commenced, and the way in which the Department had become involved:

[This] campaign aimed at the kangaroo industry seems to have begun in late 1996 and began with the animal welfare group called International Fund for Animal Welfare,IFAW. The organisation provided model letters to editors and encouraged people to write to Australian ministers and the Australian Tourist Commission protesting at the killing of possums and kangaroos for sport, meat or management. IFAW had also commissioned a camera crew which filmed an unlicensed shooter illegally shooting kangaroos and committing other acts of cruelty. I should point out perhaps that the shooter who was involved in the filming was subsequently successfully prosecuted by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service in connection with those acts.

Early this year, articles began to be carried in some German magazines which dwelt on kangaroo hunting methods and displayed some gruesome pictures of kangaroo killing and hanging. Some of these pictures were the same as those used in the IFAW campaign and had been taken from film footage that had been commissioned by IFAW. But the film and stills taken from it were represented as the norm for the kangaroo shooting industry. In May this year, a working group of officials from our own department,DFAT,from Environment Australia and the Department of Primary Industries and Energy met to coordinate a response to this obvious problem that was emerging as both a threat to the trade and to Australia's international reputation. As a result of this, facts sheets were prepared answering many of the allegations in the campaigns. These have been distributed to posts in order to respond quickly to letters. [145]

9.107 The 'Fact Sheet on Australia's Kangaroos' produced by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade explains the rationale for the kangaroo industry in Australia in terms of the fragility of the rangelands environment, the superabundance of some species of kangaroos as a consequence of the introduction of agriculture and the need to control excessive grazing pressure for the benefit of the whole habitat. The 'Fact Sheet' concludes:

The culling or harvesting process is therefore a vital tool in both kangaroo population management and sustainable land care, and assists the sustainability of all species of kangaroo. It also protects the natural habitats necessary for the survival of other native animals. [146]

9.108 Finally, it should also be noted that rejection of the sale of wildlife products, such as kangaroo and emu by food distributors in reaction to threatened boycotts by people opposed to the consumptive use of wildlife may be highly discriminatory against Aboriginal people. [147]

Sustained Harvest versus Pest Management

9.109 While there is a movement towards considering wildlife in general as a resource which has been endorsed at government level [148] and industries are developing in game meat and associated products, kangaroos are still considered a pest in many parts of Australia. Thus kangaroo 'management' is seen as being more synonymous with pest control than the basis for a viable industry and a mechanism for conservation.

9.110 The AWMS believes that an economically sustainable kangaroo industry is not compatible with the concept of using kangaroo harvesting for pest control 'for the very simple reason that there cannot be a significant long-term kangaroo industry unless kangaroo numbers remain high'. [149] More significantly, however, is the problem that as long as there remains confusion as to whether kangaroos should be viewed as a 'pest' or a 'resource', there will be difficulty for conservation agencies in determining appropriate population densities.

9.111 While present harvesting levels are thought to be not much below maximum sustainable yield, agriculturalists believe that the current level of harvesting fails to substantially reduce their 'pest' problem and would prefer to see quotas increased. However, if this happened kangaroo populations may be seriously depleted and ultimately crash, resulting in a serious downturn for the industry to the economic detriment of many rural areas.

9.112 This conflict was discussed at length by Dr George Wilson, RIRDC Program Manager:

There is a perception that kangaroos are a pest. Indeed, they are a pest under most state legislation. That really does not help the marketing of their products. Harvesting: yes, I would like to think of it as a continuum with four types of land use, if you like. You have got national parks and reserves, on which no harvesting takes place and no commercial use. That is entirely appropriate. You have then got \DB\PGN\1124leasehold land, and that area is mostly the rangelands that are not suitable for the growing of plants for crops. On those rangelands, that leasehold land, I think that the harvesting of wildlife is an entirely appropriate activity and probably in many cases more appropriate than extensive ranging of sheep and cattle.

You then come into the more intensively developed farmland. I do not believe that there is much scope for harvesting in those environments. That is normally the environment in which wildlife becomes a pest. Kangaroos come into conflict with the wheat farmers or the parrots come into conflict with people growing grain. In those circumstances, then possibly there is a role for a pest control operation. It is a contradiction in terms to have a sustainable pest operation because, if it is a pest, we want to get rid of it. [150]

9.113 This view is shared by a number of other people and groups in Australia. For example, Mr Graeme Ison of Yellabiddy Marketing, a business based on emu farming, observed that: 'the justification usually given for the [kangaroo] industry is largely that it performs a self-supporting pest control function, avoids the needless waste of leaving carcasses to rot in the bush, and minimises the infamous "kangaroo drives" by disgruntled graziers'. Mr Ison then asked rhetorically: 'why shouldn't the justification be that kangaroos are abundant and widespread animals, beautifully adapted to the Australian environment, which gives excellent meat and fine leather and can be harvested without endangering the species?'. [151]

9.114 Like other state governments, the Queensland Government distinguishes between the two concepts of kangaroo management: (1) that of harvesting for damage mitigation purposes and (2) harvesting as the commercial use of a natural resource. However, in terms of the latter, the government maintains that while the presence of the industry is important to the system of rangelands management, the harvest is more a by-product than a solid industry base. [152] According to Professor Grigg, the two approaches are 'incompatible' and solution to the dilemma is still a long way off.

Summary and Conclusions

9.115 The commercial kangaroo industry has expanded considerably over the last decade, particularly in the area of meat for human consumption. The industry makes an important economic contribution to the rural sector. Non-tariff barriers appear at this stage to be a greater constraint to industry expansion than tariff barriers or industry structure. There are three key, interrelated issues currently facing the kangaroo industry. These are:

9.116 While the Committee did not examine in detail the status of animal welfare as it related to the kangaroo industry, the Committee believes that it has sufficient information to conclude that in the ten years since the tabling of the report on Kangaroos by the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare, considerable progress has been made. In fact the Committee believes that non-commercial killing of kangaroo has far greater potential for infringements of animal welfare codes than any current practices in the commercial sector.

9.117 Animal welfare considerations are of fundamental concern to animal liberation groups. Their belief that the kangaroo industry is chronically and inherently cruel form the basis for widespread campaigns aimed at boycotting the industry. Their emphatically negative views play a strong role in limiting public perception of kangaroo products as acceptable. Positive aspects of the industry do not receive nearly as much attention. The Committee believes that the major problem facing development of the kangaroo industry, both within Australia and internationally, is its lack of a strong positive image.

9.118 The Committee endorses the approach taken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in attempting to counteract the factually incorrect material disseminated by some NGOs overseas. In fact the Committee believes that even stronger efforts should be made to impart factual information to people in overseas countries.

9.119 Contributing to the low public acceptance of the kangaroo industry is the widespread view that superabundant kangaroos are a 'pest' to be removed rather than a 'resource' to be efficiently utilised. This view stems primarily from the fact that kangaroos continue to be killed in many rural areas by amateurs under 'damage mitigation' permits which, while regulated by government, are not carried out with any long-term management objective in mind other than to control total grazing pressure. The Committee believes that the non-commercial sector would benefit from a move away from the image of 'pest control' towards the development of an image based on resource management. The Committee acknowledges, however, that action in this area is primarily a state responsibility.

9.120 In conclusion, the Committee believes that it is a legitimate activity of the Federal Government to support an export industry based on the commercial harvesting of kangaroos, which is being prejudiced overseas by public campaigns based on false information.

Box: Sale of Kangaroo Meat in UK Supermarkets

During the course of the Committee's inquiry, action was taken by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to persuade the UK supermarket chain, Tesco, to cease the sale of kangaroo meat products. As part of widespread action aimed at eliminating human consumption of game meats, IFAW had informed Tesco that, should the supermarket not cease sale of kangaroo meat, an advertisement would be placed in newspapers depicting the kangaroo harvest as cruel and wasteful. Headlines for the proposed advertisements included:

"Australia: responsible for 'Neighbours', 'Home and away' and, with a little help from Tesco, the biggest wildlife slaughter the world has ever seen."

"Skippy. Now brought to you in a handy pack courtesy of Tesco."

"For every female Kangaroo killed a baby joey gets clubbed to death or left to starve. Why are (sic) Tesco the only supermarket encouraging it Mr Gardiner?" [153]

Concerned about the circulation of misleading information, the Australian High Commission in London initiated talks with Tesco. At that stage, Tesco had not suspended sale of kangaroo meat but had brought forward a review of its policy on all 'specialty meats' including crocodile, ostrich and kangaroo. Prior to action by the IFAW, the Tesco Board had been divided on the issue of the sale of 'specialty meats'. Aware that 'a lot of the points IFAW sought to make were grossly inaccurate', Tesco was concerned that should it decide to remove 'specialty meats' from sale, the action would be seen as giving in to pressure groups, an impression that would not be in Tesco's broader interests. The company's Public Relations Manager, Mr McLaughlin, was keen that both Tesco and the Australian Government 'develop a robust media position' on the kangaroo meat industry to counter IFAW's 'outrageous claims'. [154]

The Australian High Commission provided Tesco and another supermarket chain (Sainsbury's) with factual information about the kangaroo industry in Australia as well as contact details and position statements from several prominent conservation organisations in Australia which support the kangaroo harvest. [155] The High Commission also provided IFAW's director with information. However, on 26 September 1997, Tesco announced that it would withdraw kangaroo meat from its supermarkets, along with ostrich and crocodile, stating in a media release that the supermarket chain was 'satisfied with the welfare standards involved with the kangaroo cull but that their decision was caused by a drop in demand for exotic meats which they associated with the ending of the BSE crisis in Europe'. [156]

Footnotes

[1] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 1.

[2] Evidence, p. RRA&T 732.

[3] Submission No. 187, p. 1.

[4] Submission No. 301.

[5] As cited in Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 10, unless otherwise noted.

[6] Kangaroos Report by the Select Committee on Animal Welfare 1988 Commonwealth of Australia AGPS Canberra ISBN 064407745X, p. 5.

[7] As listed under the ANZECC List of Threatened Australian Vertebrate Fauna (1995) found at

(http://www.anca.government.au/plants/threaten/document/anzfauna.htm).

[8] 1994 Commercial Use of Wild Animals, Brian J Ramsay, Bureau of Resource Sciences AGPS Canberra ISBN 0644297751, p. 33.

[9] Submission No. 86, p. 2.

[10] 1994 BRS op cit, p. 33.

[11] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 9. Note: The cost of unemployment subsidies assumes ¼ of industry employees who live in remote areas could find no other employment.

[12] Evidence, p. RRA&T 1118.

[13] Submission No. 86, p. 5.

[14] National Kangaroo Industry Strategy Prepared by Macarthur Consulting for the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, December 1994, p. 1.

[15] O'Dea, Kevin 1988 'Kangaroo meat – polyunsaturated and low in fat: ideal for cholesterol-lowering diets', Australian Zoologist Vol. 24 (3) 140-141.

[16] Corrigan, Philip 1988 'Export of kangaroo meat', Australian Zoologist Vol. 24 (3) 179-180.

[17] Evidence, p. RRA&T 1150.

[18] Evidence, p. RRA&T 1150.

[19] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 1.

[20] The Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia claims that it is 'widely accepted that within their current range kangaroos are now more common than ever (Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 1) and this is supported by many other commentators. However, the Kangaroo Protection Co-operative Ltd, disputes the suggestion that kangaroos are more abundant in some areas now than they were at the time of European settlement of Australia (Second Supplementary Submission No. 129, p. 2). Nascaring Wildlife Carers believe that the total number of kangaroos in Australia is in decline, citing anecdotal example of 'surveys' by people who have driven long distances across Australia without seeing any or many kangaroos (Submission No. 297, p. 7, Evidence, p. RRA&T 104). The Humane Society International (Australia) suggested that kangaroo numbers were about the same as in 1788 (Evidence, p. RRA&T 770).

[21] RIRDC 1995 Profitable Marketing of Kangaroo Products A Report for RIRDC by Macarthur Consulting, Research Paper No 95/19, ISBN 064220506X, p. 19.

[22] Evidence, p. RRA&T 727.

[23] RIRDC 1995, op cit, p. 18.

[24] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 6.

[25] Submission No. 92, p. 5.

[26] Submission No. 92, p. 6.

[27] Submission No. 88, p. 2-3.

[28] The Kangaroo Conservation and Management Program in South Australia, Prepared by the Kangaroo Management Review Task Force for the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, DENR (subsequently renamed the Department for Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs).

[29] 1997 Kangaroo Harvesting Quotas South Australia Prepared by Peter Alexander, Natural Resources Group DENR (South Australia), Nov 1996. (Information used with permission from DENR.)

[30] Submission No. 318, p. 10.

[31] Submission No. 318, p. 10.

[32] In addition, it is probable that many more are killed without permits.

[33] Source: Informal briefing paper provided by the South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Commercial Utilisation of the Tammar Wallaby.

[34] Submission No. 338, p. 4.

[35] Australian Bushfoods Magazine, Issue 3, Aug-Sept 1997, p. 22.

[36] Submission No. 338, p. 4.

[37] Submission No. 338, p. 5.

[38] Evidence, p. RRA&T 517.

[39] Letter dated 23 October 1997 from Mr Mark Stone Executive Director Parks Flora and Fauna, Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment (Ref: EP/01/0004-1) to Mr Andrew Snedden, Secretary Senate Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, Attachment Table 1.

[40] Submission No. 314, p. 4-5, Evidence, p. RRA&T 926-7.

[41] See for example, Submission No. 197.

[42] Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos, ANPWS June 1985, Revised Code endorsed 20 September 1990.

[43] Evidence, p. RRA&T 736.

[44] Submission No. 92, p. 4. The Humane Society International also claims that the kangaroo industry is cruel (Evidence, p. RRA&T 774).

[45] Independent, NSW Parliament.

[46] Submission No. 92, p. 4.

[47] Submission No. 66, p. 1.

[48] Submission No. 87, p. 5.

[49] Submission No. 66, p. 3.

[50] Submission No. 66, p. 3.

[51] Richard Jones (MLC) 'Australia – Clever Country or Cruel Country?' Summary Address in Proceedings of the Conference Self Regulation in the Kangaroo Industry - Is the Code of Practice an Appropriate Mechanism?, 7 September 1996, Australian Wildlife Protection Council, Sponsored by IFAW (hereafter cited as the AWPC Conference 1996).

[52] Vivian, Russel 'Self-Regulation in the Kangaroo Industry' in AWPC Conference 1996.

[53] Grigg, Gordon 'Regulated rangeland harvesting of kangaroos – Conservation and animal welfare issues' in AWPC Conference 1996.

[54] Submission No. 86, p. 3.

[55] Submission No. 169, p. 4.

[56] Evidence, p. RRA&T 987.

[57] Evidence, p. RRA&T 43.

[58] Evidence, p. RRA&T 808.

[59] Evidence, p. RRA&T 841 ff.

[60] Submission No. 328, for example.

[61] Submission No. 328, for example.

[62] Mr John Reilly 1996 'The Growing Culture of Institutionalised Wildlife Exploitation in South Australia' in AWPC Conference 1996, p. 1.

[63] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 4. Note: The AWPC disputed this conclusion, claiming that: 'There is no scientific data to determine what is sustainable' (Submission No. 92, p. 6).

[64] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 3.

[65] Submission No. 200, p. 6.

[66] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 1.

[67] Supplementary Submission No. 86.

[68] Submission No. 198, p. 69.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Kennedy, Michael 'Using Existing Legal Means to Effectively Manage Domestic and International Wildlife Trade – New Policies for the Future' in AWPC Conference 1996.

[71] Submission No. 66, p. 3 and Submission No. 197 (Introductory Letter) p. 2-3, respectively.

[72] Obendorf, Dr David, 'Diseases of kangaroos, human health concerns and the implications for an expanding meat trade utilising Australia's marsupials' in AWPC Conference 1996. See also Submission No. 203, p. 8-9 for general comments on wildlife harvesting and human health.

[73] Submission No. 197, p. 13.

[74] Submission No. 328, p. 2.

[75] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 6.

[76] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 13.

[77] Letter dated 21 May 1998 from Mr Tom Thompson, President, KIAA to Mr Andrew Snedden, Secretary Senate Rural & Regional Affairs & Transport Reference Committee.

[78] Submission No. 197 (pp. 9, 15-16), for example.

[79] Kangaroos Report by the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare, Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, AGPS Canberra ISBN 064407745X, Parliamentary Paper No. 109 of 1988, p. 176.

[80] Submission No. 197, p. 9.

[81] Submission No. 197, Introductory letter, p. 2.

[82] Submission No. 197, p. 5.

[83] Submission No. 197, p. 15.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Submission No. 92, p. 1.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Submission No. 92, p. 5.

[88] Submission No. 129, p. 1.

[89] Ibid.

[90] Submission No. 297, p. 4; In addition, Mr Raymond Hoser made the assertion that in NSW the kangaroo industry 'appeared to be run on the basis of crime and corruption', Evidence, p. RRA&T 1043-4.

[91] Source: Letter dated 17 September 1997 from Mr John Kelly, Executive Officer, KIAA, to Mr Andrew Snedden, Secretary Senate Rural & Regional Affairs & Transport Reference Committee, and letter dated 21 May 1998 from Mr Tom Thompson, President, KIAA to Mr Andrew Snedden, Secretary Senate Rural & Regional Affairs & Transport Reference Committee.

[92] Evidence, p. RRA&T 802, 816, 988, and Submission No.s 129 (p. 1), 197 (p. 16). Note, however, that in oral evidence Mr Jones contradicted this when he stated 'nearly 50 per cent of kangaroos killed are adult females', Evidence, p. RRA&T 801.

[93] Evidence, p. RRA&T 802-3, 988, Submission No. 197, p. 5.

[94] Evidence, p. RRA&T 802, 803, 816.

[95] Evidence, p. RRA&T 815.

[96] Evidence, p. RRA&T 641, Submission No.s 92 (p. 14), 135.

[97] Submission No. 200, p. 9.

[98] Western Australia - Evidence, p. RRA&T 516; South Australia - Evidence, p. RRA&T 553.

[99] Evidence, p. RRA&T 313, Submission No. 79, Submission No. 197, p. 10.

[100] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 8.

[101] Submission No. 197, p. 11.

[102] Evidence, p. RRA&T 801.

[103] RIRDC 1995 Profitable Marketing of Kangaroo Products A Report for RIRDC by Macarthur Consulting, Research Paper No 95/19, ISBN 064220506X, p. xi.

[104] 1994 BRS, op cit, p. 58.

[105] RIRDC 1995 op cit.

[106] RIRDC 1995 op cit, p. xii.

[107] RIRDC 1995 op cit, p. xvii.

[108] RIRDC 1995 op cit, p. xviii-xix.

[109] 1994 BRS, op cit, p. 56.

[110] Evidence, p. RRA&T 31.

[111] Submission No. 297, p. 4.

[112] Submission No. 92, p. 1.

[113] Evidence, p. RRA&T 702.

[114] Submission No. 197, p. 8.

[115] Evidence, p. RRA&T 906.

[116] Submission No. 86, p. 5.

[117] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 5.

[118] Submission No. 200. This concept was supported by a number of other people; see for example Submission No. 6.

[119] Submission No. 200, p. 9, Evidence, p. RRA&T 92, 97-98. But see Evidence, p. RRA&T 58 in which Professor Eugene Moll suggests that it is not so much 'hard hooves' that have done the damage but selective grazing. This view is supported by macropod expert Dr David Freudenberger of CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology (Media Release 98/61).

[120] Evidence, p. RRA&T 30.

[121] Submission No. 92, p. 9. Note: the Humane Society International also suggested that the major obstacle to increased kangaroo farming came from within the rural community itself.

[122] Submission No. 92, p. 7.

[123] Submission No. 92, p. 8.

[124] Evidence, p. RRA&T 488.

[125] Submission No. 111, p. 9.

[126] Evidence, p. RRA&T 79.

[127] Submission No. 176, p. 1, Evidence, p. RRA&T 671; also Submission No. 200, p. 15.

[128] Submission No. 198, p. 70.

[129] Submission No. 147, p. 2.

[130] Submission No. 86, p. 3.

[131] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 7.

[132] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 6.

[133] Des Purtell and Associates, Marketing and Research Consultants Kangaroos and Kangaroo Products: Awareness, Attitudes and Usage by Australian Report of a Survey June 1996, p. 15-16.

[134] Evidence, p. RRA&T 983.

[135] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 9.

[136] Submission No. 92, p. 2.

[137] Submission No. 92, p. 3.

[138] Submission No. 92, p. 4.

[139] Submission No. 86, p. 3.

[140] Evidence, p. RRA&T 738.

[141] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 9.

[142] Supplementary Submission No. 86, p. 13.

[143] Submission No. 12, p. 7 (Mr Campbell was then Member for Bundaberg in the Queensland Legislative Assembly ).

[144] RSPCA Inc Animal Welfare in Australia: 3.5 Native Animals Internet site http://www.ezycolour.com.au/RSPCA/australia.html, 9 December 1997.

[145] Evidence, p. RRA&T 1151.

[146] Foreign Affairs and Trade Fact Sheet No. 23, September 1997, p. 2.

[147] Submission No. 157, p. 25.

[148] The Western Australian Government, for example, has as one of three key objectives in its policy on kangaroos 'to manage harvested kangaroo species as a renewable natural resource providing the conservation of the species is not compromised'. Submission No. 329, p. 2. See also Alexander, Peter 1997 Kangaroo culling, harvesting and farming in South Australia – an ecological approach, in Australian Biologist 10(1):23-29.

[149] Submission No. 200, p. 10.

[150] Evidence, p. RRA&T 1124-5.

[151] Submission No. 50, p. 11.

[152] Evidence, p. RRA&T 70.

[153] Evidence, p. RRA&T 809.

[154] Department of Foreign Affairs Fascimile Message dated 18 August 1997 from Mr David Hardy, West Europe Branch, to Mr Michael Mulligan, President, Australian Game Meat Producers' Association (tabled in evidence to the Committee, 7 November 1997).

[155] Evidence, p. RRA&T 1152.

[156] Evidence, p. RRA&T 1152 (BSE - bovine spongiform encephalitis or 'mad cow' disease).

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