Last year Russia banned the import of kangaroo meat because of health concerns. The European Union President is also advocating a ban on kangaroo meat, but for wildlife preservation and cruelty reasons. Australian AgForce and the Australia-Russia Business Council have got together with the Queensland government to try to reverse this situation and they have been strongly courting the Russian meat trade again. In early June the Russian Trade Minister Yuri Aleshin was toured around Western Queensland with this trade in mind. Ironically he was recorded on an ABC radio broadcast posing the question regarding the kangaroos..."but where are they?" Obviously he had not seen the 'hordes' that are so often said to exist.
Last year I visited a kangaroo rehabilitation center in Queensland where orphans are raised by the remarkable Anne Maree Dineen. I was struck by how small the kangaroos there were compared to those I see on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Anne-Maree told me that the average life-span of a kangaroo in Queensland is about 2 years, since so many are shot. The big ones are shot first, then the trade goes after the little ones. Their normal life-expectancy can be 20 years plus under other conditions. I also noticed the extreme nervousness and vigilance of these small kangaroos there, which was also in contrast to those in relatively safe conditions in Victoria - albeit the Victorian ones are being starved out by development, harassed by farmers and killed on roads there, as safe havens go under tarmac.