As human overpopulation in Victoria Australia fuels new sprawling suburbs, kangaroos are being continually deprived of habitat and pushed out into roads. There is an ongoing pantomime to pretend that it is not the human population, but the kangaroo population that is making new impositions on the environment. Culls are called for and, not unexpectedly, country MPs are trying to win votes from the fringes by calling for a commercial kangaroo meat processing industry. Maryland Wilson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Counsel, has leapt into the breach to defend kangaroos. Among other things she has said that it is inappropriate for the Minister for Agriculture to make decisions affecting wildlife. She has also repeated her call for wildlife corridors.
Nationals MP Mr O'Brien has asked Minister Peter Walsh (Agriculture and Food Security) to consider a proposal to use kangaroo meat commercially from 'culls' in Victoria. Victoria is currently undergoing government engineered human population growth to such an extent that kangaroos are being pushed out of their habitats by new suburbs and onto new roads. Victorians often find this shocking and would protest so the government tries to get rid of the kangaroos with so-called humane culls before their dreadful plight becomes obvious to those moving into the new suburbs. The human population pressure is mostly caused by mass immigration, which now accounts for well over half of all population growth in Australia.
"This is 2013, not 1788," says AWPC's Maryland Wilson
On 23 February, Maryland Wilson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, said that Mr O'Brien was behaving as if it was 1788 (the year of Australia's settlement by the British) rather than 2013. She implied that in Victoria there is an attitude of "If it moves SHOOT it and if it doesn’t chop it down."
"This is 2013 Sir, not 1788 and we must establish interconnecting linking wildlife corridors for remaining native species to survive," said President Wilson.
She added that, "Alarmingly, no one knows how many kangaroos there are in Victoria- NO ONE!" And she asked, "Should that not be a starting point before [the Minister allowed or condoned] any industry or farmers to profit from their demise?"
She said, "Farmers must act responsibly, as must Councils/Shires like the South Grampians Shire who for years have been pushing this barrow [of commercial harvesting of kangaroos].
Kangaroos are not an agricultural product; they are wildlife with intrinsic value
She pointed to issues of cruelty and of gene pool depletion. She also warned that there was a "lack of meat hygiene as kangaroos are killed in the outback NOT abattoirs."
Finally, she asked why the Minister for Agriculture would be making such decisions when kangaroos are not an agricultural product. Her implication was, of course, that a department with responsibilities for wildlife should involved here.
The Greens are expected to oppose any move to lift commercial bans, with Victorian Leader Greg Barber stating that it wouldn't work in practice. "It's cruel, it's wasteful, and it wouldn't pass the food safety rules other farmers have to comply with," Mr Barber has said.