The following is a letter from AWPC President Peter Hylands and a member of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) to the Victorian Government regarding Victoria’s proposal to greenlight a kangaroo meat processing facility. It presents some of the magical thinking of the state government in regard to kangaroo numbers.
WE ARE WRITING to express our strong opposition to the proposed commissioning of a kangaroo meat processing facility by the Campaspe Meat Company at the Tarnagulla Road abattoirs. We ask that you please take whatever action is open to you to ensure this proposal does not proceed.
In 2018 the Victorian government claimed there were 1,425,000 kangaroos in Victoria and that at 2020–21 this grew to 1,900,000 kangaroos. Since 2018 the Government has issued permits to kill 443,494 kangaroos and in addition to this it is conservatively estimated that 200,000 kangaroos perished in the 2019–20 fires. That is a loss of around 650,000 kangaroos since the beginning of 2018 off a base number of just over 1.4 million.
So almost half the Government’s own population estimate has gone in the period in which the government is today claiming a boom in population numbers. Given kangaroos reproduce at only 10% a year (in the most favourable climatic conditions) it is a biological impossibility for a 40 percent increase in numbers as the Government is claiming.
Contrary to claims that kangaroos are “over abundant”, we believe kangaroo populations are in serious decline as a result of the commercial killing of these native animals. We believe this is no more so the case than in Central Victoria. The proponents of this processing facility have stated they aim to process 2,000 kangaroos a week. On our estimates of kangaroo numbers in the Loddon region [around Castlemain] at that rate every single kangaroo in that region would be killed in 9 weeks.
Aside from decimating the region’s kangaroo populations and the associated cruelty and animal welfare issues surrounding the killing of these animals, this is clearly not a sustainable model. All that will result is the inhumane killing of one of the region’s key native species for the short term financial gain of a handful of people.
We would like to convene a virtual meeting with you to discuss our concerns in more detail.
We look forward to hearing from you.
— Peter Hylands, President Australian Wildlife Protection Council
— Ian Slattery, Member Australian Wildlife Protection Council
31 August 2021