No way to treat a national icon
It's hard to comprehend. Why would anyone want to kill Australia's beloved national icon? And in such numbers? A good place to start is here. Learn what’s happening directly from our colleagues at Voiceless, one of Australia’s preeminent animal protection organizations, leading the fight to end the commercial kangaroo industry.
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Joeys killed or left to die are not recorded. Roughly 8 million dependent joeys are estimated to have died due to commercial shooting from 2000 to 2009.
The Australian government uses creative counting to promote kangaroo killing
Wildlife Ecologist Ray Mjadwesch believes the Australian government’s surveys of kangaroos are off-target, unreliable and significantly inflate the number of kangaroos, due to faulty counting methodology and data manipulation.
Ray argues If commercial killing of kangaroos continues at the current rate — given the added risk of fire, drought and climate change — the viability of free-ranging populations of kangaroos in Australia could soon be in doubt.
Ray being greeted by joeys at a kangaroo sanctuary. He had just tranquilizer-darted the wallaroo in the background who was being returned to the wild.
Commercial kangaroo killing chart
Much of Ray’s work involves studying government “harvest” records. While there is no question the commercial killing of kangaroos is in decline, Ray and the Australian government disagree on the cause. The government believes the decline reflects the falling demand for meat and skins. Ray believes the drop is due to declining population of kangaroos, something the government denies.
By charting kangaroo carcasses that enter the processing chain in New South Wales against the market price for meat and skin, Ray is able to show the decline in commercial killing of kangaroos is independent of the marketplace. Significant market force milestones such as the closing of the Russian market for meat or the California market for skins did not impact the “take.” Further, Ray provides evidence that kangaroo meat is but a by-product of the skin industry. Ray’s research underscores a basic tenet of conservation biology: harvest rates typically reflect population size.
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The National Code of Practice for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for commercial purposes
“The Code” is cited over and over by defenders of shooting kangaroos. “The Code” makes it humane. But “the Code” isn’t enforceable. It’s voluntary, with recommended guidelines like this for killing joeys: The blow to the head “must be delivered with force sufficient to crush the skull and destroy the brain.” 5.1 (i) page 13 of “The Code” which is code for false assurance.
From dusk to dawn:
A night in the life of a roo shooter
It’s the dead of night. The middle of a stubbly paddock. Just you and the motor running, the eyes gleaming in the spotlight. This is kangaroo hunting.
Photojournalist Jane Cowan saw it all: The wild kangaroos shot dead. Their joeys scrambling to make sense of it. Body parts cut off and casually discarded. Why? Soccer shoes, mainly.
Jane spent considerable time with a commercial kangaroo shooter and found another perspective: He doesn’t see the gore. He sees it as just a job. A permanent overnight shift. One that doesn’t pay very well, either.
Caution: Jane’s article, published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2018, provides an unblinking account of a kangaroo shooter’s typical worknight. It might prove distressing for some readers.