Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Kangaroos Can Be an Asset Rather Than a Pest

By George Wilson

Kangaroo harvesting is not a commercial option for landholders, resulting in greater animal welfare issues for the kangaroos that are culled on private land.

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Many graziers on the rangelands are under financial stress. Their solution is to produce more meat and wool, grow more grass, clear trees, remove wild dogs to increase lambing percentages, and lower kangaroo numbers.

In recent years a lack of demand has meant that less than half the annual kangaroo quota for commercial use has been taken. Therefore, many graziers have sought other means to lower numbers of valueless kangaroos so that more income-earning stock can be carried.

Non-commercial kangaroo control has poor animal welfare and biodiversity outcomes. It is occurring within government-sponsored clusters of fences. The practice of “shoot and let lie” means that regulators can’t assess how many kangaroos are taken. They can’t monitor either shooter accuracy and skill, or compliance with welfare codes.

Animal rights campaigners are achieving their aim of reducing the demand for kangaroo products. The consequence is an increase in animal suffering wherever populations are higher than the environment can support. Unregulated inhumane control mechanisms ensue. Kangaroos are herded along fences and shot by amateurs, resulting in wounding, as evidenced by lead contamination and muscle stress myopathy in the few carcasses that do subsequently enter the commercial harvesting industry.

Kangaroo management could be much improved. In 2017 an average...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.