Greens attack roo industry

Hopping mad: NSW government figures show 352,464 roos were commercially harvested in 2016 from a quota of 2,547,318.
Hopping mad: NSW government figures show 352,464 roos were commercially harvested in 2016 from a quota of 2,547,318.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon went to Brussels last week on a mission to sabotage the Australian kangaroo industry.

She was joined by animal activists and spoke to Members of the European Parliament about the need to protect kangaroo species which she claims are under threat from loss of habitat, urban development, agricultural practices and “continuing industrial-scale slaughter”. Part of the presentation included showing a controversial film Kangaroos: A Love-Hate Story.

But these claims are completely incorrect according to chairman of the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia Ray Borda and NSW Department of Primary Industry senior research scientist Steven McLeod.

Dr McLeod said based on population dynamics and distribution and survey results there was absolutely no evidence that kangaroos were under threat of extinction.

“Between the 2016 and 2017 surveys numbers of kangaroos declined across most of the Western Plains but we have to wait till the surveys are completed this year in June-July to know whether those declines have continued,” he said. “The continuing dry conditions across most of inland NSW would suggest that numbers will be lower.”

Figures from the 2017 NSW Kangaroo Management Program indicate that less than 3 per cent of the combined populations of red and grey kangaroos and Wallaroos were harvested in 2017 and only about 2 per cent in 2016. For 2017 of the 2,746,047 quota only 375,899 were harvested – around 14 per cent of the quota.

Mr Borda said the industry respected the right of animal welfare groups to pose questions. “We support any improvements that can be made to the industry, but unfortunately the information in the film is very misleading for the public,” he said.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair recently announced the government would lift the cap on the number of licences available to commercially process kangaroos. “This means we have a chance to grow the kangaroo processing industry by over 86 per cent within the current and sustainable quota,” he said.