are the Dominant Competitor and Kangaroos are Disadvantaged
The current justification for culling
red kangaroos in the rangelands is to minimise the effect of
competition between domestic stock and kangaroos for native
pasture (Shepherd and Caughley 1987).
Below are some earth shattering
conclusions documented by Steve McLeod in his thesis entitled
'The Foraging Behaviour of the Arid Zone Herbivores, the Red
kangaroo and the Sheep and its Role in Their Competitive Interaction
Population Dynamics and Life-History Strategies" (1996):
This study indicates that under
most conditions Red kangaroos have a negligible effect on the
productivity of sheep and that culling at these times is unjustified.
And further that sheep are potentially
the dominant competitor and that kangaroos are disadvantaged
by the sheep.
The Australian public and in fact
the world community, must now demand answers from Australia's
political representatives and their related bureaucracies. Why
is it that most Australians STILL believe that kangaroos cause
massive, broadscale competition (ie. for vegetation) when this
is simply NOT the case. The two (Sheep and kangaroos) have different
dietary requirement and compete little even during drought.
We must persist with our question "Why has the Australian public
not been informed of these facts?"
It can only be one conclusion and
that is that too much money is at stake for the Australian people
ever to be told the truth. Ever failing marginal rural enterprises
consist of individuals who vote.
It would be foolish to presume
the kangaroo issue is an environmental issue, it is first and
foremost a political issue. The false perceptions of land holders
has created a war against nature. ("The Kangaroo BETRAYED")
Killing Kangaroos as a Resource/ Market Forces Dictate the kill.
If you are under the impression that kangaroos
are protected, think again. They are killed as a resource, a
commodity from which to make as much profit as possible.
Official Australian government
policy for the year 2000 is:
"Australian native wildlife is
a renewable resource. If managed in an ecologically sustainable
manner, wildlife can provide a perpetual source of economic
benefits for all Australians" In fact, Michael Archer Head of
the Australian Museum, Sydney NSW states that "farmers can get
filthy stinking rich killing kangaroos".
Kangaroos are killed solely
for their skins which are made into shoes. The kangaroo industry
is predicated on the sale of skins for shoe manufacturers.
If there were no market for these shoes made
of kangaroo leather (skins), there would be no kangaroo industry.
The leather is mainly exported to Italy and to the United States.
Kangaroo meat is a by-product of
this kangaroo skin trade and it was only in 1992 that kangaroo
meat became legal for human consumption in NSW, opening the
way for all States to follow. In that year 1992, the NSW Labor
Party fought very hard against it. The Reverend Fred Nile will
always be remembered for the dubious distinction of his one
vote that made it legal.
Now kangaroos are a resource,
a commodity to be bartered and sold, rather than a stress prone,
behaving, living, feeling biological entity that lives in rich,
complex family mobs. One just needs
to look at the exponential growth of the commercial quota figures
for kangaroos over the past decade to get a sense of the market
forces behind the kangaroo industry. Federal Minister Robert
Hill will approve the 2000 export kangaroo kill quota.
Kangaroo Farming is not the answer
to Land Degradation
Kangaroo farming has been presented as a panacea to land degradationů."save
our soils - eat kangaroo" they claim. But 'kangaroo farming'
is not and never will be the answer to land degradation. It
is commercially unviable for a start, the productivity of live
kangaroos has been overstated and it is socially unacceptable.
Quite apart from the social/ethical
aspects of the debate there are many practical obstacles facing
the would-be farmer. The reproductive capacity of kangaroos
has been grossly overstated.
A female kangaroo only begins
to breed in her second or even third year, after which she can
produce a maximum of one offspring per year. The mortality rate
of joeys is very high and obviously subject to stress, drought
and flood. A young kangaroo is dependent
on its mother until it is at least 14 months and thus cannot
be sold or relocated as live young. More importantly for the
would-be farmer, the young will die if the mother is shot too
Now compare this rate of reproduction
with the breeding capacity of sheep.
They can produce twins. Lambs are
independent of the mother within a few months and can be sold
or relocated alive. Sheep begin to breed after one year.
Kangaroos only produce two
commercial products, meat and skin. Both are one off requiring
the kangaroo to be killed. Kangaroos don't grow wool.
The relative ability to produce meat is also
very poor. Lambs are slaughtered at the age of 3-9 months to
produce up to 20kg of useful meat.
Kangaroos are simply too small
to "harvest" until 18 months of age and then only 10% of a kangaroo
can be butchered into useful cuts. A large adult male Red kangaroo
of 60kg will thus only produce about 6kg of prime cut meat.
Considering the enormous costs
involved in mobile chillers and processing plants, Cameron ("Recovering
Ground" ACF- 1991) predicts: "An investment of $100,000 would
require 45,000-65,000 kangaroo carcasses to maintain an unsustainable
level of killing even when kangaroo numbers fell during times
Further, anyone who has ever tried
to care for sick, injured or orphaned Australian wildlife will
quickly testify to the lack of knowledge about kangaroos and
the diseases which afflict them. The cause and treatment of
disorders such as Lumpy- jaw, Coccidiosis and Post-Capture Myopathy
remains a mystery. Little research has been done on this or
the vast range of internal and external parasites which affect
The inability of kangaroos to be
yarded, herded or easily handled makes veterinarian care and
treatment difficult. Pre-kill inspection of animals is also
not possible. "'Kangaroo farming' thus represents an unacceptable
risk to anyone contemplating replacing their traditional stock
The kangaroo is uniquely Australian
and represents our most obvious and well known symbol of Australia..
There will always be people ready to point out the ethical issues.
The arguments for farming kangaroos are no more than diversions
and props for the increased commercial exploitation of the kangaroo
and will do nothing to resolve the issues of land degradation.