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Two dozen welfare organisations say STOP to kangaroo slaughter

AS BRITISH ANIMAL welfare organisation VIVA announces its latest success in dissuading UK supermarkets from selling kangaroo meat two dozen prominent national and international welfare organisations have joined forces on an open letter explaining why Australians should stop looking the other way and stand up against the ethically bankrupt, cruel and unsanitary trade in Australia’s national icon for meat and skins.

Perhaps you didn’t know we in Australia host the world’s largest wildlife slaughter (continuing 150 years of colonial persecution of this totally unique, gentle and family-focused native grazer – called pest management by government departments and some landholders).

At the same time Humane Society International is asking that you join a consumer campaign to persuade Coles and Woolworths to stop stocking kangaroo meat products for humans and pets. See article ‘Ask supermarkets to stop stocking kangaroo cruelty’ under Environment category for details.

We bring you below the whole sad story (accompanied by source material) in the welfare organisations’ open letter.



We are concerned that claims of health, sustainability and humaneness used to promote continuation and expansion of shooting kangaroos are industry-biased and can be scientifically disproven.

​We believe that scientific evidence demonstrates that the slaughter of kangaroos, ​the ​largest commercial killing of land-based wildlife on the planet, is putting at high risk kangaroo populations and people’s health, and causes profound suffering to kangaroos and their young.



  • ​​Loss of habitat, urban development, agricultural practices and continuing industrial-scale slaughter eliminates 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, [1, 2] with just two likely to survive to independence. [3]
  • Maximum wild population growth rates average ~10% in optimal conditions, [4] with annual declines of up to 60% during drought recorded. [5, 6, 7] It is biologically impossible for kangaroo populations to increase rapidly.
  • Shooting quotas of 15–20% or more [8] 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. [9] ​​
  • ​Government survey data and commercial shooting statistics illustrate declining populations and landscapes now significantly depleted of kangaroos. [10]


  • Shooting occurs away from scrutiny and in darkness, when non-lethal shots are inevitable, often causing horrific injuries.
  • Evidence suggests 4–40% [11, 12] 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. [13]
  • 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. [14]
  • Research confirms most dependent at-foot joeys are left in the field [15] 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. [16]
  • Over 110,000 joeys died from commercial shooting alone in 2015 based on reported figures. [17]


  • 75% of emerging human pathogens originate in wildlife. [18]
  • Kangaroo is a wild bush meat sold in supermarkets and restaurants. It is not tested [19] for the many human-harming pathogens it harbours. [20]​
  • 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. [21]
  • In 2014 Russia banned kangaroo meat imports for a third time due to pathogenic contamination. [22, 23]
  • Acetic acid is routinely used to cleanse the meat of systemic contamination. [24]

— This material was compiled by the volunteers at


[1] Dawson, T. (2012). Kangaroos: Biology of the Largest Marsupials Cornell University Press. Ithaca, US. Based on Table 6.1
[2] Bilton, A & Croft, D. (2004). Lifetime Reproductive Success in a Population of Female Red Kangaroos Macropus Rufus in the Sheep Rangelands of Western New South Wales: Environmental Effects and Population Dynamics Australian Mammalogy 26: 45–60.
[3] Arnold GW, et al. (1991). Population ecology of western grey kangaroos in a remnant of Wandoo Woodland at Bakers Hill, southern Western Australia  Wildlife Research 18(5) 561–575, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
[4] Arnold, et al, op cit. *Arnold’s grey kangaroo population growth rates equate to x7.86% pa over 4 years, and then x8.47% pa over a subsequent 6 years. Red Kangaroos are slightly higher.
[5] Robertson, G. (1986). The Mortality of Kangaroos in Drought Australian Wildlife Research 13(3) 349–354.
[6] Newsome AE, Stephens DR, Shipway AK, (1967). Effect of a long drought on the abundance of Red Kangaroos in central Australia CSIRO Wildlife Rescue 12: 1–8.
[7] Caughley, G. Grigg, GG. Smith L. (1985). The effect of drought on kangaroo populations. Journal of Wildlife Management 49: 679–685.
[8] State Kangaroo Management Plans:
[9] Cairns, S, et al. A report to the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change on the consultancy: ‘Kangaroo Monitoring: Hunter and Central Tablelands Commercial Harvest Zones Design and Analysis of Helicopter Survey (2009); Cairns S & Bearup D, A report to the NSW OEH on the consultancy: Design and analysis of helicopter surveys of kangaroo populations in the Central tablelands North & South management zones (2012); See also transect locations in western NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, and Mjadwesch, R (2013) Letter to NSW Scientific Committee.
[10] Mjadwesch, op cit.
[11] RSPCA Australia (2002). A Survey of the Extent of Compliance with the Requirements of the Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos
[12] Ben‐Ami, D et al. The welfare ethics of the commercial killing of free-ranging kangaroos: an evaluation of the benefits and costs of the industry (2014).  Explanation of methodologies:
[13] Australian Government Kangaroo and wallaby population, quota and harvest statistics 2015 (2016 not available).
[14] Australian Government. National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes [and for Non-Commercial Purposes]
[15] McLeod, S and Sharp, T. Improving the humaneness of commercial kangaroo harvesting (2014) Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
[16] Ben-Ami, et al, op cit.
[17] Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Population, quota and harvest statistics, 2015. (Joeys calculated using standard constants for fecundity (Dawson 2012) and survivorship (Arnold (1991), Banks (2002). See Mjadwesch 2011–population-ecology.html).
[18] Taylor, LH, et al. Risk factors for human disease emergence Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Lon B 2001 356 983–989.
[19] Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Senate Committee, Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Food Division, Q290(7) (Senator Rhiannon), Supplementary Budget Estimates Oct 2012, Australian Senate, 
[20] Ladds, P. Pathology of Macropods [from Pathology of Australian Native Wildlife (Ladds 2009)] Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, Taronga Conservation Society Australia.
[21] Rural, Regional Affairs & Transport Legislation Senate Committee, Department of Agriculture, Exports Division, Q104 (Senator Lee Rhiannon), Supplementary Budget Estimates May 2017, Australian Senate.
[22] Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitory Surveillance news (25 July 2013). The Rosselkhoznadzor Detained a Kangaroo Meat Consignment of a Questionable Quality.
[23] Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Exports Division, Q60 (Senator Rhiannon), Additional Budget Estimates Feb 2015, Australian Senate.
[24] Macro Investments (Macro Meats) Letter to shooters (19 May 2012).
Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Food Division, Q232 (Senator Heffernan), Supplementary Budget Estimates Oct 2012, Australian Senate.


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3 thoughts on “Two dozen welfare organisations say STOP to kangaroo slaughter

  1. To understand fully what the slaughter means, one has to live alongside those (farmers, professional shooters, government appointees, those looking for ‘fun’ in slaughtering) who ignorantly look upon them as ‘disposable’ for their purposes. One has to hear the gunshots and see the devastation with no protection given by the very ‘governmental authorities’ who place themselves in the role of killing to know that they are so cruelly slaughtered, out of sight or scrutiny which is how the killers want it. One needs to see the diminution of stature and diminishing of numbers in so many areas to know that their future is not only at risk but like the koala was treated in Australia until public outcry forced the shooters to stop, extinction moves closer in so many areas… a number of decisions away unless action is taken to overcome those profiting from the deaths of our unique inheritance of centuries. And more so, one must see the horrors shooters/killers inflict to know why this MUST be urgently stopped. The bones of far too many kangaroos litter the fields, victims of those who consider them disposable. To have one kangaroo give their trust to those they know worthy of it is to know why. The role of mankind as custodians, not marauders, is one that with growing maturity we must assume. Before it becomes too late.

    1. Brilliantly stated as always Carol.
      As an Indigenous Women of which Kangaroo is Totem I’m sickened & appalled at the ongoing relentless slaughter of Kangaroos, the destruction of the Dreaming, Song Lines & Dreaming Tracks that Kangaroos re-energise now for the first time in millions of years lay silent as night after night these Sacred Totem Animals are gunned down, a sickening disgrace.

  2. Pathetic isn’t it! We are the worst and cruelest species on the planet!! It is the a shame that we can’t EXTERMINATE all the horrible human monsters on the planet leaving only people like us and all the animals.

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