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Why Were Australians Encouraged to Eat More Kangaroo Meat?

When kangaroo levels rose from 27 million in 2010 to about 50 million in 2016, many experts suggested the public eat more kangaroo meat. As excessive kangaroo levels threaten Australia’s biodiversity, many continue to encourage kangaroo hunting. 

In 2016, the kangaroo population in Australia surged to 45 million, amounting to nearly double Australia’s human population. As kangaroo levels became unsustainable, many experts urged Australians to consume more kangaroo meat.

Australia’s Uncontrollable Kangaroo Concern

In 2010, Australia’s kangaroo population was only 27 million. Six years pass, and the kangaroos are now 45 million, with the rainy conditions creating an abundance of food held accountable for their quick rise in numbers. With the high kangaroo levels, many people are scared most kangaroos would starve when faced with a drought. Furthermore, experts warn that its excess can lead to a loss of Australian biodiversity.  (Source: BBC

With the rain and the feed passing on, the kangaroo population decreased to 42 million in 2018. When mainland Australia experienced widespread drought, capable kangaroos went on to farms, competing with the cattle, sheep, and other livestock for water and feed. In an online The Guardian article, Calla Wahlquist describes big kangaroos as a boom-and-bust species, as they breed and die in equally large numbers depending on the conditions.

The government of New South Wales announced new laws & regulations in August 2018 to aid landholders in acquiring a license to open fire at kangaroos on their land and make it easier for many shooters to act simultaneously, permitting shooting parties.

Moreover, the national code of practice for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies states that professional shooters must aim and shoot at the kangaroo’s head to avoid a slow and painful death. Labeled by some as the most sustainable and ethical meat trade, professional shooters have shot more than a million kangaroos for leather production and human & animal consumption. (Source: The Guardian

The Low Demand For Kangaroo Meat

A 2017 news article in ABC Rural reports that while many commercial cull licenses are made available to professional hunters, Langadoon Station’s Andrew Wall states that only 3% were taken. (Source: ABC News)

There’s one processor in South Australia that takes a lot of roos out of this district. He pretty much sets the meat price, and if the price isn’t good enough for roo shooters to make a living, well they’re not going to do it.

Andrew Wall, Langadoon Station

Ray Borda, Managing Director of Macro Meats, adds to Wall’s claim, expressing that kangaroo meat is only 2/3rds the price of most red meats, and internationally, where kangaroo meat lacks popularity, it’s only half the price.  (Source: ABC News

Kangaroo meat remains wasted due to the low demand. An Australian government report states that most kangaroo carcasses are used not for their meat, but for their hides. Many industry experts advise the public to eat more of the Kangaroo’s protein. (Source: Food Navigator.) 

To avoid carcass wastage, David Paton, Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide, recommends supporting kangaroo culling programs by eating more kangaroo meat.

It’s not the kangaroos’ fault they’re overabundant, it’s probably we’ve just been too reluctant to take a stick to them, remove them out of the system sooner, to actually prevent the damage being caused.

David Paton, Associate Professor, University of Adelaide

(Source: ABC News)

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