Ban kangaroo exports to the U.S.!

California is currently considering lifting a  permanent ban on the importation of kangaroo flesh and skins. The Australian kangaroo slaughter industry is cheering. But what would it mean for our most iconic native animal?

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LAST UPDATED: 17 September 2015

Update: The ban on the import of kangaroo skins and meat from Australia is back on track to be re-instated in January after attempts to permanently lift the ban were shot down by the Californian State Assembly. This decision could spare thousands of these gentle native animals from suffering — with Humane Society of the United States CEO, Wayne Pacelle, stating: "Californians want nothing to do with Australia's massive commercial slaughter of millions of these wonderful creatures every year." (14/09/15)

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When Cecil the lion was critically injured then left to wander, for nearly two days, before finally being put out of his pain and misery — the world responded with an outpouring of rage and grief. And yet every night in Australia untold numbers of our iconic kangaroos — and their joeys — are hunted as Cecil was. If they manage to 'escape', it may take them a week or more to die.

These unfortunate animals are disposable 'off cuts' from a commercial industry that targets kangaroos for the purposes of 'harvesting' their skin and flesh for domestic use and export.

The Australian kangaroo shooting and export industry has been heavily lobbying Californian decision-makers to overturn a long-standing ban on the importation of kangaroo meat and hides. This ban has sadly been on temporary hold for the last few years (and so allowing imports), but tragically for kangaroos — and their joeys — it could be overturned permanently in a matter of hours if shooting lobbyists get their way.

This is despite the fact that there is increasing concern about the sustainability of kangaroo populations, and the science used to justify continuing the kangaroo 'harvest' has been thrown into question. Additionally, a damning recent report detailing the standard — and horrific — treatment of joeys, has shone a light on a very dark corner of the kangaroo industry.

The kangaroo shooting industry is an orphan-making machine

Behind all the marketing hype, there is a 'side-effect' of commercial harvesting that the kangaroo shooting industry is desperate for you to not know anything about.

Every year, thousands of dependent joeys are brutally decapitated or bludgeoned to death after their mothers are killed. Many others are abandoned and left to face the elements, and almost certain death — due to starvation or exposure. Untold thousands of joeys suffer as victims of the commercial kangaroo meat and skins industry alone. The number of joeys killed during illegal, and non-commercial hunts, is unknown.

Eastern Grey joey and mum by Mariel Becker

Commercially (and ethically) unsustainable

Despite their speed when bounding though the open plains, kangaroos are actually slow-growing animals. Wild kangaroo juvenile mortality in the first year of life is also extremely high — around 73% in optimal environments. This means that a healthy breeding-age female kangaroo is unlikely to ever have more than two of her joeys survive to weaning age.

Kangaroo populations are extremely fragile. During drought, mobs can collapse due to almost 100% joey mortality. Despite this, commercial shooting goes ahead, with the industry allowed to harvest between 15% and 20% of the population.

As wild kangaroo populations often only increase by about 10% every year (and that's in a good year) current kangaroo shooting industry kill quotas essentially mean that it is legally permitted to slaughter kangaroos faster than they can possibly reproduce.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo by Mariel Becker

Take action!

Kangaroo shooting isn't just horrifically cruel, it's unsustainable too. Send an urgent email to three of California's top decision-makers, urging them to permanently enforce a ban on importing kangaroo products from Australia.

  1. President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate
    Address your email: Dear Senator de León
  2. Speaker of the Assembly, Speaker Toni G Atkins
    Address your email: Dear Assembly Speaker Atkins
  3. Assemblymember Mike Gipson
    Address your email: Dear Assemblymember Mike Gipson

You might like to include the following points:

  • The commercial kangaroo trade causes immense suffering to kangaroos and their dependent young. Each year, many thousands of kangaroo joeys are brutally slaughtered via decapitation or blunt-force trauma.
  • Kangaroo populations in Australia are believed to be declining, with populations of these unique native animals under threat of extinction in some areas.
  • Australia's kangaroo shooting program is the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wildlife in the world. The science is increasingly revealing it to be unsustainable, as well as ethically indefensible. The Californian Government should not feel pressured by commercial kangaroo industry lobbying to endorse such a cruel and ecologically unsound 'business'.

Thank you for speaking up for Australia's unique native wildlife!

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Many thanks to Helen and the team behind www.kangaroosatrisk.org for their information and assistance.

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