New trade deal- kangaroo meat for Peru?
This email has been sent to various government departments and officials in Peru, and continue to be sent.
Our organisation, Australian Wildlife Protection Council, is concerned about the new trade talks last month (May), to advance the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) with the sale of kangaroo and beef.
Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia President Ray Borda said the negotiations with Peru represented an “exciting opportunity” for kangaroo meat exports. Yes, “exciting opportunity” to exploit one of our best-known iconic animals, kangaroos! Not for their uniqueness as a endemic species, for their endurance and perfect adaption to our landscape, and their endearing qualities as our national icon, but purely as MEAT!
Borda states: “It’s fantastic, not only are they big meat eaters in Peru but all throughout South America and they love the taste of kangaroo…”. Yes they are big meat-eaters, but they typically do NOT eat their own iconic species, Llamas and Alpacas! There were considered sacred animals, only to be sacrificed by the Incas for ceremonial purposes, and thus their consumption was sustainable! Why should Peruvians eat our sacred national symbols? Our Indigenous peoples did eat them, yes, but only at a subsistence level, not the massive export, global industrial levels now being proposed!
We implore you and your colleagues to reconsider this agreement, and the exploitation of our native kangaroos, our much-loved symbols of Australia.
Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton said a key message from the Association was the impact of unsustainably high populations of kangaroos in the Western Division. The estimate population of roos in NSW in 2016 was 17.5 million. The Western Plains population was estimated to be 12.7 million.
So how could numbers of kangaroos be unsustainable? Just how does he come up with these questionable estimates of kangaroo populations? Just how does he come to the conclusion that these numbers are “unsustainable”, and on what ecological rationale? Historical evidence reveals high number of kangaroos and other macropods as being endemic to Australia, and they are not a danger to us, or the environment.
Where does Mark Coulton get his dubious and highly inflated figures from, and just how can they keep up with Peru’s high meat-eating demand, assuming they would be willing to eat our native animals?
Many myths and excuses have been spread to attempt to justify the commercial killing of kangaroos. They are often termed a ‘pest’, yet research has shown that they rarely venture onto wheat fields and do not compete for grazing with sheep. Another myth is the population explosion. Kangaroos are a slow-breeding marsupial with low reproductive rates. A kangaroo can only raise one joey to independence per year. The most ridiculous myth is that kangaroos damage the very environment that they have evolved over millions of years to live in.
Graziers want kangaroo numbers controlled, for their own vested interests. They want to maximise their profits, and not give any of their resources to mere native animals! Animal welfare advocates oppose the slaughter as cruel, and say farmers need more support to manage kangaroos without killing – such as appropriate fencing.
Grazing pressure by kangaroos is only a small fraction of that of livestock. Kangaroos only require a fraction of the food and water that livestock do and therefore culling and harvesting have little impact on livestock productivity (Grigg 2002; Munn et al. 2008).
Orphaned young are meant to be euthanised under methods outlined in the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies. For furless pouch joeys, it’s a blow to the base of the skull or stunning, then decapitation. Furred joeys should be killed with a blow to the head, while at-foot joeys – out of the pouch, but dependent on their mothers – should be shot. How is this humane?
Studies have found kangaroos contribute much less to grazing pressure than assumed and rarely visit crops or compete with sheep except when food is scarce. Kangaroos have transitioned from being a “pest” to now a commercial opportunity!
We again implore you and your departments to think again about the viability, the humane factors and the offense to many Australians of Peruvians eating our national symbol- Kangaroos. Please do what’s in your power to end this deal, and cancel the visas of those who are pushing this agenda.