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Agforce calling for juvenile kangaroos on the menu

Queensland farming lobby group, Agforce has set up a Macropod Advisory Group to investigate how to sustainably harvest kangaroos. In an ABC radio interview yesterday, Qulipie grazier and Agforce's President of Sheep & Wool Stephen Tully outlined how exactly this group proposes the industry should move "forward". Amongst the mistruths and exaggerations being uttered by this farmer came the proposal that juvenile kangaroos be targeted by the kangaroo industry for their superior meat. Below is a section of the interview:

Question: But if there’s a shortage of kangaroo meat surely the price would go up?

No, but the controls that are in there make it nearly impossible…. for example there’s a minimum weight of effectively 16kg on a kangaroo. That’s taking out 90% of the kangaroos you can shoot, 80 – 90% of the kangaroos you can shoot and if you take out that many kangaroos it makes it actually impossible to reach the quota set by the EPA. So there’s all those sorts of things there that all contribute… we also don’t believe that the count is proper anyhow. As well as that the shooting at the moment is taking out nearly all the dominant males so you just get this enormous number of females that are just breeding incredibly rapidly. That’s just doubling every few years the numbers of roos out there because all you are left with is a breeding population of females.

Question: Well there must be some males or the females wouldn’t be breeding, can you explain what the dynamic is? You take out the alpha males, what does that do to the rest of the population?

Well there is obviously some males there because it’s impossible to shoot out all kangaroos because the states just so big and because the product is fairly cheap at the moment. You just can’t afford to spend miles and miles just driving around chasing one kangaroo and as you know one male can do quite a lot of damage in a rampant female population. You don’t need a lot of males to breed females, we might think so but that certainly hasn’t proven the case before. The whole dynamic of it is that in these dry times we’re just getting migrating mobs of kangaroos. If someone gets a storm, if someone tries to save some of their pasture, if there’s a bit of pasture that has been degraded and the local NRM groups have funded fencing to protect that area, you are just getting these migration mobs of kangaroos numbering tens of thousands that are descending on these areas and just turning them into deserts.

Question: So you want to be able to shoot females as well, is that the issue?

We want to make it so that we can shoot females, males, even the younger animals. I mean the best animals to consume are always mature juveniles, the younger animals that are less than 2 years old. We all eat lamb, with beef they are always under 2 years old, that’s always the best product to sell, it’s the highest quality product. At the moment it’s the equivalent of eating old bulls and cattle, it’s the worst quality product. All of those things are hindering the development of this market.

On the current "high" numbers of kangaroos Stephen Tully had the following to say in another interview

“kangaroo (numbers) used to be boom and bust now there’s not so much bust because we’ve put in so many watering points, they just love them and just breed…..

I think the primary reason (for “high” kangaroo numbers) is because the EPA for some reason nobody can quite understand has brought in this minimum size level……. ......Don’t bring in these silly regulations or what size or anything else, leave that up to the industry. They are by far the best ones to judge and treat it as a resource”

Dr David Croft and the THINKK think tank

Fortunately Dr David Croft was also interviewed and he provided listeners with a few home truths regarding the kangaroo industry and the agricultural lobby group. Dr Croft is a member of a new think tank called THINKK established at the Institute of Sustainable Futures. This group has been set up to undertake independant research on kangaroos and provide unbiased information to stakeholders, government departments and the general public. Dr Dror Ben-Ami's opening statement on behalf of THINKK can be found here.

Agforce will also be busy this week attempting to convince the Russians to reverse their decision made last year banning the importation of kangaroo meat. I can only hope that the Russian Trade Commissioner Yuri Aleshin does not succumb to the propoganda being spouted by Agforce's Brent Finlay and Stephen Tully.

At this point I think it appropriate to remind us of the late, great Professor AJ “Jock” Marshall. In his words:

"……there is nothing sacred about sheep farmers. They, like many other people, are doing a worthwhile job for the nation. They are mostly pleasant and useful citizens, but – let us be frank about this – no more valuable to us than members of a dozen or so other groups within the Australian community. Some of them know a great deal about sheep, but they know nothing about the population dynamics and the ecology of kangaroos. So when we hear pressure groups of these worthy people vociferously exclaiming that kangaroos eat nine times as much grass as sheep, or that kangaroos are in no danger of extinction , they can be ignored. Such statements are so much wind…….

Who would have thought that the Koala – at one time one of the commonest animals in Queensland – would ever be rare, but where is it today? We will then, if you please, pay no attention to the views of sheep farmers. Outside the question of sheep, the annual wool clip and the local bending races, their opinions are worthless."

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ABC News
Peru government officials say their government has approved the import of kangaroo meat from Australia.

A notice published in a registry of new government rules and laws gave notice that the federal health officials had "authorised the import of meat from kangaroos born and raised in Australia".

Only kangaroo meat raised for the express purpose of being used for human consumption will be allowed for import.
(comment: just where do they get these supposedly "farmed" kangaroos for human consumption?)

Excluded are kangaroos killed as part of an eradication program or which died as a result of disease. Also off limits are animals coming from quarantined areas of Australia.

-AFP

Peruvians have a special connection with alpacas and Llamas. They are eaten sometimes, for ceremonial purposes, but mainly they are valued for their companionship and wool. Would they like us eating their national emblems?

Ambassador of Peru in Canberra
Mr Claudio De La Puente (from 1 August 2005)
E-mail: cpuente@embaperu.org.au
Minister
Mr Agustin De Madalengoitia Gutierrez
Second Secretary
Mr Julio Sanchez Cornejo
Administrative Officer
Ms Lucia Barda
E-mail: lbarda@embaperu.org.au

Alpacas in Peru are not used as beasts of burden, but mainly are valued for their fibre, and traditionally have been valued also for meat, hair, hides, and their dung, used as fuel. Today, it is illegal to slaughter or trade in alpaca meat in Peru. Because of the high price commanded by alpaca on the growing North American alpaca market, illegal Alpaca smuggling has become a growing problem.
Alpacas are worth more in Peru alive than dead! However, the same can not be said for our own wildlife. Ironically, Peruvians will be encouraged to buy and eat our kangaroos, but their iconic animals, symbols of their heritage, are protected!

Is the " TWO LEGGED MONSTER " ever going to leave these poor, gentle animals alone...What can be done to stop the Aussie who Drawls all over the Socceroo, respect their national icon that the REST of the world loves..How dare these Hypocrits name a useless soccer team after a beautiful native animal that they destroy and are determined to send to extinction...God help this country I despair.. I think the " TWO LEGGED MONSTER IS ON ITS LAST LEGS" and Im referring to the human parasite not the Kangaroo.

The ACT Government has just announced that areas within the Canberra Nature Park will be closed from 6 pm Saturday 19 June 2010 to 6 pm Saturday 31 July 2010 to allow for the controlled culling of over-abundant Eastern Grey Kangaroos. The sites to be closed are Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Crace Nature Reserve, Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, Jerrabomberra West Nature Reserve, Kama Nature Reserve, Mount Painter Nature Reserve, Mulligan’s Flat Nature Reserve and unleased territory land adjacent to Kama Nature Reserve.

“The cull of up to 1890 kangaroos is needed to maintain kangaroo populations at appropriate levels to protect the integrity of ecosystems, several of which contain endangered flora and fauna,” said Director, Parks, Conservation and Lands, Russell Watkinson. “The numbers to be culled have been based on kangaroo counts in each location. “Ensuring the grasslands and woodlands are not overgrazed will protect threatened species and ecosystems, provide habitat for creatures such as ground-feeding birds, prevent excessive soil loss and maintain sustainable numbers of kangaroos.” Mr Watkinson said the kangaroos will be humanely culled by experienced marksmen. * ACT Media Release

In response to a recent article published in the UK's "Daily Mail", Nike have announced they are phasing out the use of kangaroo leather in their products. It would appear that many people are still unaware that kangaroo leather is used in the manufacturing of soccer cleats by companies such as adidas, Puma and Nike let alone the inherent cruelty involved in obtaining kangaroo skins.

What a shame, just because a few ratbags jump up and down in the name of Kangaroos.
The roos will still be shot and the leather left to rot on the ground just so someone can feel "good" about the decision not to use that product.
Just a marketing stratagy thats all.

I wouldn't worry about it too much Paul. There are plenty of other football boot manufacturers who are lining up to use our national symbol to grace the feet of the world's soccer stars. The "ratbags" such as myself that you refer to have a long way to go in raising the awareness to others of the kangaroo's plight. I still find it amazing that so many people still believe that kangaroos are farmed for the expressed purpose of being turned into sporting goods or feeding dogs and cats. Even more amazing is the ignorance shown by those believing it a forgone conclusion that kangaroos must be shot whether their carcass is utilised or not. They do have a right to exist you know and as Australians we should be ashamed that the current population of kangaroos in places like Western Queensland are almost devoid of not only alpha males, but large kangaroos of either sex.

Agforce are at it again, this time it is claimed that eastern grey kangaroos numbers have "exploded" in the Stonehenge area. According to a Michael Pratt, local grazier (and former board director of Agforce) the eastern grey kangaroo is not native to the area and moved in after the red kangaroo was shot out in the 1970's.

Ultimately Agforce would like to see eastern greys suffer the same fate as the red kangaroo however there is one stumbling block. According to Pratt the species has shrunk in size and the vast majority of individuals no longer meet the required weight for shooting...... His solution is simple: Allow shooters to shoot juvenile kangaroos.... He states:

"I would suggest that if harvesting quotas are changed to include a set ratio of small, medium and large macropods, a natural balance between Red and Eastern Grey kangaroos could be reestablished and we would see a reduction in total numbers"

Of course the obvious question arising from this statement is how can a natural balance between reds and greys be reestablished when you have already stated that greys are not native to the area. Agforce have no interest in obtaining any "natural balance" when it comes to wildlife, the scales are tipped in the direction of prosperity for the farmer. That is their job after all. As outlined previously, the opinions of graziers on the biology of kangaroos and their historical ranges and abundance are completely worthless.

“Kangaroos are the biggest threat to our viability – we can manage drought, wild dogs and low prices but the kangaroos really have us beat.” This land owner could hold, apparently, 6000 more sheep if it wasn't for the kangaroos! It all comes down to feral animals, drought, costs and maximising profits, but the kangaroos are to blame!
Kangaroos are getting smaller due to commercial shooting, and still these pastoralists want a more and more sterile pallet, Australian features such as biodiversity purged out, to suit their own self-serving ends. Are there any group MORE UN-AUSTRALIAN and COLONIAL than these ignorant pastoralists?
Indigenous people survived in Australia for 40,000 years and the original European explorers found it in pristine condition. Our present land management regimes are unlikely to last until the end of this century.

I have had a gut full of colonists and their descendants invading Australia, raping the land, exterminating local indigenous people because they dare to object to colonist invasion policy and treating all native life (plants and animals) as pests, vermin and game.

Agforce is no different to the illegitimate European colonist invaders in African nations like South Africa, Kenya, Rhodesia, Congo and Namibia through the 19th and 20th centuries and their elitist descendants. Such colonists deserve the same eviction policy happening currently in Zimbabwe. If only Australia's indigenous had the same balance of power.

If British colonists could justify invasion, indigenous genocide, widespread deforestation and claim unilateral sovereignty over Australia; then the Chinese and their massive numbers could now do the same thing and claim the same illegitimate sovereignty and invasion rights to further rape the land, continue genocide and plunder natural assets and wildlife. Only might would win and guess whom that would be!

To Agforce supporters, may natural calamities like drought, storms and floods wipe such farmers off the land, import dumping and interest rates bring on fore-closers. No sympathy.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885
Australia