Upfront I need to say I’m an environmental scientist. I need to say that because from what I’ve heard, the things I’m about to say will upset some people, so I want to be clear I am coming from a professional perspective.
Operation Kangaroo is an educational campaign being run by the Australian Government in the US. The reason it is needed is because apparently there is “a myth that persists that commercial kangaroo harvesting is a threat to the species”.
According to the information I’ve seen, the US animal-rights activists have managed to get law-makers on their side to ban Aussie imports of kangaroo products – their belief, that our culling programs are the “biggest slaughter of wildlife on the planet”.
Can I just say upfront, this is ridiculous. Australia has plenty of kangaroos, in some areas more than the environment can support (which is why they are culled). There are very strict controls about which species can be culled, the numbers, the method, the time of year etc. To put it bluntly, it is often more humane to cull than for the roos to starve, be killed by cars because they are forced to come into suburban areas looking for lawn etc.
But the biggest thing, and this is incredibly important, is that Australia has no native hooved animals (unlike the US which has bison). This is a really important distinction, because our environment doesn’t cope with hooved animals. The damage horses, cattle, sheep and goats do to the environment is beyond the scope of this post. But we are a country that has adapted to the lack of hooves. And if you saw the damage that hooves do (and trust me, I’ve had a career dealing with things like this), it should make you feel differently about the harvesting of kangaroos.
I have said for a very long time now, Australia should invest more in the production of kangaroos (for meat and leather) for a myriad of positive environmental reasons, rather than the standard hooved meat/dairy/wool animals.
The animal activists in America have it wrong. Kangaroo harvesting is a highly sustainable and a better environmental option than other meat sources in a country where the kangaroo is native.
Unfortunately, a film opposing Australia’s kangaroo cull has been made by two Hollywood filmmakers and has been shared on social media by comedian Ricky Gervais (14.4 million Twitter followers) and other celebrities.
I wish people had the facts and didn’t let emotions and celebrities think for them.
What do you think?