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With the EU the biggest market for kangaroo meat and skins, its citizens are calling for a ban on imports

Photo credits: © Carles Rabada

Every year, an average of 1.6 million kangaroos are killed for commercial purposes in Australia, making it one of the biggest commercial hunts in the world. Hunting takes place at night with impaired visibility, so direct head-shots are difficult, and up to 40% of shot kangaroos suffer horrific injuries rather than immediate death.

Joeys orphaned in the hunt are left to die, or have their heads crushed by hunters. Countless more kangaroo deaths go unrecorded, as they are shot illegally or by landowners for non-commercial purposes, and analyses of population levels have shown that there are flaws in the government’s survey methods. As a result, local and regional extinctions have already been observed throughout the country. 

The EU is the main importer of kangaroo meat and one of the main importers of skins, and European organisations are joining Australian ones to put an end to the exploitation of kangaroos. Through a series of actions across Europe, several of Eurogroup for Animals’ member organisations are supporting campaigns by Voiceless, Animals Australia and other Australian organisations, as well as starting their own actions to stop imports of kangaroo meat and skins into their countries. If they succeed in achieving national bans, it will be the first step towards an EU-level ban on the import of these products.

  • After screening the documentary ‘Kangaroo – A love-hate story’ in Milan in October, LAV asked sportswear brand Diadora to ban kangaroo leather skin, which they did. LAV is now addressing a letter to other firms,  and released this video in November.
  • GAIA’s campaign is calling on Belgian supermarkets to stop selling kangaroo meat, and has had immediate success with Delhaize. They also screened ‘Kangaroo – A love-hate story’ in Belgium, attracting a lot of media attention. 
  • Today Fondation Brigitte Bardot has published an open letter to several supermarkets in France, including Carrefour and Auchan, calling on them to stop selling the meat. 
  • Deutscher Tierschutzbund, together with Pro Wildlife, showed ‘Kangaroo – A love-hate story’ in Munich in November 2018, and at the same time appealed to consumers and companies to shun kangaroo products.

The EU currently is Australia’s main market for kangaroo exports. According to Australian data, the main importers of kangaroo meat in the EU are Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and France, while a lower volume is shipped to the UK. Beside the cruelty of the hunting, meat imports should not be authorized because of health and food safety issues – the lead contamination from the bullets, as well as the unsanitary conditions of transporting the carcasses – but the industry has found a loophole by routinely cleaning the meat with acetic and lactic acid, according to analyses by Deutscher Tierschutzbund, GAIA and Fondation Brigitte Bardot. 

Some of the main importers of kangaroo skins, hides and leather are in the EU, and include Italy and Germany, and to a smaller extent Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and Croatia. 

“Not only are hundreds of thousands of kangaroos suffering each year in the hunt, but the Australian government’s methods to calculate kangaroo populations have been called into question, and are most likely inflated,” said Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals. “We applaud our member organisations for their actions at the national level, and we will push for an import ban on all goods derived from the hunting of kangaroos at an EU level.”

Contact:
Ilaria Di Silvestre
Programme Leader, Wildlife
Tel: +32 (0)2 740 08 24

 

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