Tag Archives: National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies

Report on kangaroo-related topics


Written by Chris Lehmann (with contributions from many others)


We spend a lot of effort developing strategic ideas to improve the lot of kangaroos, actually, to restore their fully protected status as an iconic animal of this land, treasured by most (never will it be all), and protected to live a natural life of freedom without harm from humans. Much work has been done and much remains to do. Elements of the strategy will become evident from a review of the detailed report below.

Cries for help

We cannot hear the kangaroos cry for help, though they do. What we hear are the cries of anxious, fearful and concerned citizens who are observing cruelty or prejudice toward kangaroos in their own communities. We responded to all those requests and some of them morphed into the larger campaigns documented below. Some folks never responded to our contact. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources (yet) to step in on every single issue as an active player, but our commitment is to advise and support anyone who wants to help protect kangaroos.

National Code of Practice (for killing kangaroos)

Along with many others, we made a detailed submission to the 2020 revision of the code of practice. We despise many aspects of the code, especially the treatment of joeys, but the other main concern is this — even if it were a good code (which it is not), the task of enforcing it is impossible and the authorities just do not care.

Two major negative changes have made it through the review, those being (1) the guideline to specifically avoid killing females has been removed and (2) they have deemed that furless joeys have no conscious feeling capacity and can be treated as such. Thus, a very bad outcome for the kangaroos, which shooters will interpret liberally since there is no governance or compliance checking on their behaviour.

Probably the greatest concern though is this, the review process proved that the authorities only engage us with the intent of creating the illusion of public consultation. In reality, our efforts are wasted time and resources, they ignore or ‘erase’ our deeply felt concerns and reasoned, impassioned pleas on behalf of animals, then they simply charge ahead with their killing or abuse agenda in many forms (torment, separation, killing, hunting, consuming).

Therein lies the greatest danger ahead for wildlife, there is no legitimate and effective way for their concerns to be taken seriously and acted upon with the interests of the wildlife in mind.

The Kinley Kangaroo mob

A cry for help saw us get involved in the Kinley campaign to save, rather relocate, a group of about 35 kangaroos resident on a landlocked development site in greater Melbourne. We were a founding member in building the public awareness and social media presence for this mob. We were active in early calls to the developer to understand the facts of the matter.

A local team, led by Andy Meddick and Vets for Compassion took up the baton and developed a relocation plan, which the developer submitted to DELWP as an alternative to the previously approved plan to simply shoot them all.

We have waited a year for that decision, only now to discover that underhand moves are afoot for DELWP to regain control of the process and the outcomes. What we know about the alternate plan is not good (I assure you) and we now await developments.

Dunkeld and exclusion fencing

Dunkeld, in the vicinity of Gariwerd (formerly Grampians) National Park is a microcosm of the dire predicament for kangaroos in Victoria. A cry for help led us to discover:

• Commercial shooters acting brazenly in close proximity to residents.

• Hideous angled fencing which appears designed to trap a kangaroo mid flight.

• People being treated in inhuman ways with no care for their legitimate concerns
about livelihoods and quality of life.

This project is very much in the early active stages, consisting of the following:

• Collaboration with Centre for a Humane Economy, AJP and others to act on all the
above concerns.

• Developing a ‘Survival Guide’ for people being abused/threatened by the kangaroo
killing industry in Victoria.

• Potential for legal action along the lines of abuse of human rights.

CWA Victoria

The CWA Victoria (~350 branches) passed a resolution in their 2020 national meeting (circa April 2020) calling on the Victorian government to kill more kangaroos due to their ‘plague numbers’.

When we discovered the resolution, around October, the media was no longer interested in the story. So … we took a more direct approach.

The President and I met twice with the President of the CWA and she asked us to make a submission to the Executive, which would be shared with all branches in the lead up to the next state-wide meeting in April/May 2021. We analysed their quite detailed resolution and identified those points of agreement and disagreement. That has been delivered.

There are branches in revolt at the resolution, which made it through (some think) because it was a zoom meeting with all the attendant problems about proper interaction and debate. We have been in contact with some of those CWA rebels.

The current plan is to bring this issue to the fore, hopefully out into the media, around the time of the next state meeting when we hope it will be a ‘news’ event. The strategy here is to tackle every single claim of plague populations with the following response:

• Please show us the ‘plague of kangaroos’.
• We will then bring resources to bear to assist in a compassionate manner.

Of course, we will never be shown any plague because they don’t exist. The basic objection to anyone who says there are too many kangaroos will be based on the following:

• No one knows how many kangaroos there were in Australia, there are no official baseline numbers, but a professional ecologist has used two different methods to derive a rough estimate of approximately 1 billion pre-European invasion.

• No one knows how many kangaroos exist right now because the current survey methods have been discredited and cannot be trusted (e.g. they count the density of kangaroos in woodland and then apply that to all farmland and all urban areas at the same density).

• No one knows how many kangaroos are being killed in total. The commercial kill can be measured, but the non-commercial kill is a complete mystery, as are other sources of removal (drought, vehicle impacts, disease etc).

• Anyone who claims to have a sustainable method for kangaroo killing is lying and would lose a serious court battle if one could be created (there is an idea for you).

If one takes the current population estimate of the major killed species, at 30–50 million, then we can roughly start with the idea that numbers are down by 95%. The sad reality is those numbers are based on discredited survey methods and the truth is likely far less, which becomes evident to anyone that traverses the country at eye level and looks for kangaroos.

Organising for success

We will never win the battle for kangaroos on our own. We must form coalitions and organise to combine resources for national and global impact. To that end, in 2020 we have formed a local Victorian team (see the Dunkeld notes above) and we were invited to join the Kangaroos Alive! Coalition with national/global strategic aims. We also partnered with Centre for a Humane Economy to support their ‘Kangaroos are not shoes’ campaign. CHE discovered that kangaroo leather is being sold in California (Nike and others) despite laws prohibiting the sale. We also expect to be an active player in the Kangaroos Alive! Coalition, having offered to take the lead on some aspects of the various actions.

During the year, we linked with Sophie Chao who is an anthropologist proposing to study the love-hate relationship with kangaroos in Australia.

National Code of Practice for the Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes

Submission by the Australian Wildlife Protection Council

9 December 2019


“The National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes outlines an achievable minimum standard of humane conduct with regard to the shooting of kangaroos and wallabies. The code was endorsed by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC) on 7 November 2008. The NRMMC consists of the Australian state, territory and New Zealand government ministers responsible for primary industries, natural resources, environment and water policy.

The National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes is currently being reviewed through a project led by AgriFutures Australia. The review is being informed through a reference group of representatives from the Australian Veterinary Association, the RSPCA, industry and relevant government agencies”.

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC), established in 1969 by Arthur Queripel, is a voice for Australia’s wildlife and for all Australian species.

The AWPC states that:

  • Humane is not a word that can be associated with the practice of commercialising the killing of Kangaroos, either in the micro detail of individual cruelty, nor in the macro scale of mass killings of families of dependent animals and the destruction of the structure of the mob by removing adults and large animals;
  • The reprehensible assertion that early stage pouch young do not feel pain is both highly questionable and unlikely, a scientific challenge would require some considerable research, and this needs to occur; and
  • The code has been and will continue to be impossible to enforce or check for compliance in any practical or safe way (this is freely admitted by state authorities).

The AWPC believes that the National Code of Practice for the Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes is a government endorsed document designed to conceal from international and domestic observers the fact of immense harm being caused to Australian wildlife by a cruel and unsustainable industry. There is no practical way the code can be supervised or enforced. A key issue remains the use of the word humane to describe the intensely cruel killing, with all its ‘tricks of the trade’.

AgriFutures Australia will need to begin using a new term to describe how animals are treated during ‘harvest’. ‘Humane’ it is not, unless the industry and regulators are of the opinion that death by distance shooting is humane, and (against the international tide of opinion which was firm when it considered the clubbing of seal pups) that beating small animals to death, is humane. Nor is it humane to not consider what happens to at-foot joeys when their mother is killed.

The RSPCA state that:

“The RSPCA would like to see the way in which Kangaroos are managed in Australia significantly improved — but for the purpose of this public consultation process, we are particularly concerned about the cruelty associated with non-commercial and recreational
Kangaroo shooting. Currently non-commercial shooters don’t have to pass a competency test, and don’t have to undertake mandatory training. There is also no oversight and little incentive to comply with animal welfare standards. We see this as the greatest immediate risk to the humane treatment of Kangaroos”.

to continue reading from p2, (Background)


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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.

Thank you











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