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Canberra accused of dirty tricks in California

Australia’s ambassador to the US Kim Beazley said in a statement that Australia-California kangaroo trade “is conducted according to science-based wildlife management practices…”

The harvest of kangaroos, for skin and meat in Australia is the largest commercial slaughter of terrestrial wildlife on earth, killing some three million adult kangaroos each year, and up to one million dependent young, (in pouch and out of pouch) brutally dispatched or allowed to slowly die.

The science is based on the underlying assumption that kangaroos are environmental pests, and over-abundant. However, there’s little emerging science to support these views, in open landscapes, or that they competitive with livestock for resources – except in extreme drought situations. Kangaroos are natural grassland managers, having evolved over 40 million years.

Huge wild animal populations, such as bison and the passenger pigeon, were destroyed by commercial harvesting in America.

The Australian native graces the country’s coat of arms and is a major tourism draw, making it a high profile target for animal rights activists who oppose commercial killing.

The harvest of kangaroos undermines the process of Darwin’s natural selection. The larger animals are always targeted as they provide more meat and skin. Already Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions.

Australia’s Department of Agriculture confirmed it provided AUS$143,000 to the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia to help pay U.S. law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips to lobby Californian lawmakers against the ban. It means that Australia may have acted illegally because it did not declare financial payments or register as a lobbyist employer.

Kim Beazley’s promotion of the trade in kangaroo parts has nothing to do with science, or sustainability, but about promoting an export purely for money!

Kim Beazley, has warned of painful economic consequences for Australia and California should a ban on the sale of kangaroo parts in America’s largest state economy not be overturned. So fragile is our ailing economy, that body part of kangaroos are vital for the $5.5 billion trade with California, and “we” have helped them fight wildfires – so they are obliged to accept the slaughter of kangaroos?

Petitions and action:

Don’t Lift Ban on Kangaroo Products in California!

Animals Australia, ban kangaroo exports

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Celebrities and Scientists lobby to reinstate Californian ban on kangaroo products

Media Release 24 August 2015

JM Coetzee (Nobel Prize Laureate) and Dr Brian May (astrophysicist and Queen guitarist) join 72 other scientists, academics and public figures urging California to reinstate its ban on imported kangaroo products.

Over 70 scientists, academics, educators and other public figures from Australia, the UK and the United States, including Nobel Prize Laureate JM Coetzee and astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Dr Brian May, have signed an open letter to Californian lawmakers urging reinstatement of the Californian ban on imported products made from kangaroos.

California banned importation of kangaroo products when the United States listed the commercially shot kangaroo species as threatened in 1974. This followed Australia’s own 1973 ban on exported kangaroo products, based on evidence of serious decline in kangaroos.

The US delisted the species in 1995 and California’s import ban temporarily lifted in 2007 after intensive lobbying by the commercial kangaroo industry, Adidas and the Australian Government.

“California’s import ban is due to resume at the end of 2015. The industry is seeking permanent unchecked importation of kangaroo products,” said letter coordinators Helen Bergen and Teja Brooks Pribac.

“Kangaroos grow and breed slowly with high juvenile mortality, and suffer major declines during drought. Intense hunting and systematic eradication programs since British settlement in 1788, and decades of industrial-scale commercial killing beyond reproductive capacity has seen local extinctions of populations.

“Australian government policy favours the commercial industry, despite growing concerns about the science used to justify the commercial kangaroo shooting and export industries.

“Population estimates over-inflate numbers from which unattainable inflated shooting quotas are extracted. This reinforces the myth of kangaroos as abundant and as pests, despite current science indicating otherwise.

“ There is also increasing concern about the known cruelty issues for shot kangaroos and their joeys; and about the risk of pathogens that continue to be found in kangaroo meat,” said scientist Dr Dror Ben-Ami.

“Supporters of the commercial kangaroo industry are quick to deride these concerns, however signatories to the letter are educated and critical-thinking people, who well understand the seriousness of the questions being asked,” added Mses Bergen and Pribac.

“Government custodianship of wildlife should never be driven by commercial interests or mistaken common perceptions. It’s like leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse,” they said.


“We are urging Californian lawmakers to carefully consider the concerns in the letter and not take their advice from the very industry profiting from the massive harm visited on Australia’s kangaroos every night.

Read or download the letter at www.kangaroosatrisk.org

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We won!

Thanks to everyone who emailed Californian Senators. You joined up to 100,000 people around the world who signed petitions and contacted the Senators directly.

Thankyou California

Keep an eye on our website www.kangaroosatrisk.org for more pages going up soon about ecology, surveys and the industry.

Brilliant work by the amazing Californian lobbyist Jennifer Fearing, our partner US team Humane Society US and CA, and the wonderful Australian organisations who co-signed letters to Californian senators and put out the call via their networks. It’s been an inspiring win.

Everyone rocks!

Helen Bergen
Bathurst NSW Australia
+61 (0)423 405 993
Kangaroos at Risk
science & research


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