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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
9 August 2002
Claims that the Australian kangaroo industry is inhumane and threatening the survival of the species are misguided and ill-informed, according to the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp.
“It is disappointing that overseas based lobby groups like VIVA are quick to criticise an effectively managed Australian industry and appear to be uninterested in the facts,” Dr Kemp said.
“Only seven of Australia’s 55 kangaroo species are harvested commercially. All of these seven species occur commonly and none are listed as vulnerable or threatened. The quota for the kangaroo harvest is set at a scientifically sustainable level and powerful national legislation protects the threatened kangaroo species.
“National legislation requires that each state in Australia develop a management plan for their kangaroo industry. Management plans are approved only after a rigorous assessment of their environmental impact, including their impact on species, habitats and ecosystems as well as ensuring that animal welfare conditions are met.
“This year the sustainable quota across Australia was set at 6,942,687. This is out of an estimated population of over 50 million kangaroos for the seven species harvested. This quota is set completely independently from industry demand and indeed industry have historically only taken about half their allowable quota.
“It needs to be recognised that the kangaroo industry is an Australian industry that is environmentally friendly. Kangaroos, with their soft feet, have evolved as part of the Australian ecosystem and consequently the development of a commercial industry based on widespread and abundant species of kangaroos is an ecologically friendly industry which contributes to the sustainability of Australia,” Dr Kemp said.
VIVA, a United Kingdom-based lobby group promoting vegetarianism, has attacked international sporting manufacturer Adidas for its use of kangaroo skin in football boots, urging “…shoppers not to buy Adidas products until they cease their part in the largest wildlife massacre in the world.”
“It is the Australian Government’s view that the kangaroo industry is sustainable, humane and based upon the best available scientific knowledge,” Dr Kemp said.
Dr Kemp has written to Adidas expressing his support for the kangaroo harvesting industry and the company’s use of kangaroo products. “I encourage Adidas to continue to use kangaroo skins in the complete knowledge that the product is taken in a sustainable and humane manner.”
“I fully support the kangaroo industry in Australia and the use of kangaroo products by sporting manufacturers. Australia’s laws concerning wildlife trade are some of the most stringent in the world,” Dr Kemp said.
“The Government recognises the genuine warmth and affection that people both in Australia and overseas hold for the kangaroo and is keen to ensure that these animals are managed sustainably. Let me stress that the Australian Government takes its responsibilities to protect endangered species and to ensure that our native industries are ecologically sustainable, most seriously.
“In addition to strict environmental standards, commercial kangaroo harvesters must comply with a Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos. The Code, developed by all wildlife agencies in Australia, sets out an achievable standard of humane conduct and is the minimum requirement for people who shoot kangaroos in Australia,” Dr Kemp said.
A fact sheet on this topic is available on the Environment Australia website: http://www.ea.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/publications/kangaroo/humane-culling.html
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400