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Australian delegation to the European Union Parliament to protect kangaroos

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 5 Mar 2018

Media Alert - 5th March

Australian delegation to the European Union Parliament to protect kangaroos

When: Monday 5 – Wednesday 7 March 2018

Who:    Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon – Animal welfare spokesperson for The Australian Greens

Ecologist Dr Dror Ben-Ami

New South Wales Member of Parliament Mark Pearson - Animal Justice Party

Senator Lee Rhiannon will be visiting Brussels next week as part of an Australian delegation to speak with Members of the European Parliament (MEP) about the protection of Australia’s iconic kangaroo species. Joining the Senator will be ecologist Dr Dror Ben-Ami and Animal Justice Party NSW MP Mark Pearson.

During the visit Senator Rhiannon will be:

  • Speaking at the EU premiere of a documentary film: Kangaroos: A Love-Hate Story, about Australia’s relationship with kangaroos. The premiere is being hosted at the EU Parliament.
  • Meeting with members of the European Parliament to discuss kangaroo protection.
  • Meeting with representatives of European animal rights and welfare groups.

The delegation will present information on how the industrial-scale commercial and non-commercial shooting of Australia’s native wildlife poses a major risk to kangaroos as they are slow-growing, low-reproducing animals.

The Australian delegation will discuss with MEPs and animal welfare group the need to investigate the effects of the European kangaroo trade on kangaroos.

Senator Rhiannon has personally paid for her visit. 

Senator Rhiannon is available for interview during and after she visits Brussels.

Comment from Senator Lee Rhiannon

“The European opening of the movie ‘Kangaroo: a love, hate story’ is an important opportunity to build understanding about the threats kangaroos face in Australia.

“We will use the evidence to show that kangaroos are in trouble.

“Myths about kangaroos are uncritically repeated as facts in Australia and abroad which provides social and political license to keep shooting these animals beyond their reproductive capacity.

“Australians tend to forget that kangaroos are one of the world’s most iconic species, and are largely unaware that government management of kangaroos is not from a framework of conservation, but from an intent to bolster commercial shooting. Senator Rhiannon said.

Background

Sustainability

  • Loss of habitat, urban development, agricultural practices and continuing industrial-scale slaughter eliminate kangaroos across vast regions where historical records described them as once widespread and abundant. 
  • Kangaroos grow and breed slowly and have high juvenile mortality.  For example, a Grey Kangaroo doe can produce up to 8 independent joeys in her lifetime, with just two likely to survive to independence.
  • Maximum wild population growth rates average ~10% in optimal conditions, with annual declines of up to 60% during drought recorded. It is biologically impossible for kangaroo populations to increase rapidly.
  • Shooting quotas of 15-20% or more of population estimates exceed actual kangaroo population growth rates. 
  • Analysis shows critically flawed kangaroo survey methodologies systematically inflate population estimates from which commercial shooting quotas are then over-allocated.
  • Consideration of commercial shooting impacts on kangaroo populations has never included millions of kangaroos additionally shot by landowners and illegal shooting. Other major mortality factors are also ignored.
  • Government survey data and commercial shooting statistics illustrate declining populations and landscapes now significantly depleted of kangaroos.

 

Cruelty

  • Shooting occurs away from any scrutiny and in darkness when nonlethal shots are inevitable, often causing horrific injuries. Evidence suggests 4-40% commercially shot animals are not shot directly in the brain but in the neck or body.  This equates to between 65,284-652,839 animals mis-shot in 2015. Unknown further numbers of mis-shot kangaroos are left to die in the field by commercial and non-commercial shooters.
  • The national Code of Practice requires shooters to shoot at-foot joeys, and decapitate or “crush the skull and destroy the brain” of pouch young.
  • Research confirms most dependent at-foot joeys are left in the field  to suffer exposure, starvation, or predation, and that pouch joeys’ heads are generally swung against vehicles.
  • Joeys killed or left to die are not recorded. Around 8 million dependent joeys are estimated to have died due to commercial shooting in the period 2000-2009.  Over 110,000 joeys died from commercial shooting alone in 2015 based on reported figures.

Contamination

  • 75% of emerging human pathogens originate in wildlife. Kangaroo is a wild bush meat sold in supermarkets and restaurants. It is not tested for the many human-harming pathogens it harbours.
  • Wild kangaroos are shot and butchered in the field without supervision. They are transported on unrefrigerated open trucks exposed to dust and flies and frequently high ambient temperatures.
  • There have been repeated findings of contaminated kangaroo meat over many years. In 2014 Russia banned kangaroo meat imports for a third time due to pathogenic contamination. Acetic acid is routinely used to cleanse the meat of systemic contamination.

 

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