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BAU Kangaroo: Nothing, if not predictable

Life on land

“In their feedback, some participants raised issues that fell outside of the scope of this review. Those issues are not reflected in this report”. Victorian Government

Peter Hylands

March 11, 2024

Comments were sought on the Kangaroo ‘Harvest Management’ Plan 2021-2023 to inform the new plan for the period 2024-2028, 716 individuals and organisations responded to this consultation.

“Participants requested improved transparency in reporting processes to demonstrate if harvesting operations achieve sustainable Kangaroo populations”. Victorian Government

We have seen similar statements before, getting information regarding the commercial killing of Kangaroos is difficult and we know nothing will change. Sustainable it is not and we all know that. So why keep pretending?

“Participants provided feedback to broaden the goal of the Plan to include protecting agriculture, promoting regional jobs, and protecting the welfare of all animals involved”. Victorian Government

Given that we see very few Kangaroo on open farmland in Victoria, claims about protecting agriculture are dubious at best, so why then are they now going to conduct commercial killing on public land?

The gross value of this activity in Victoria was around $1.8 million in 2022, that is, in traditional economic theory, an economic contribution generating around 6 full-time jobs. Employment is piecework based, part-time and deeply unpleasant. In no sense is this cruel slaughter of native wildlife protecting the welfare of all animals involved. So why keep pretending?

Sparse pickings, there were 159 Kangaroo shooters authorised under the Kangaroo 'Harvest' Program in Victoria in Q1, 2023. By Q3, 2023 there were 176 Kangaroo shooters operating commercially in the state. Too many shooters and too few Kangaroos.

We should understand that any reviews of activity will follow the standard pattern of giving the whole ghastly mess a tick of approval, spending yet more public funds in the process for an activity that is already costing the public millions of dollars. So what on earth is going on here?

These statements from the Victorian Government’s report on the submissions to this ‘consultation’ are illuminating as they describe the intent to continue the mass killing of Kangaroos despite the inflated population numbers and the plain fact that this activity is not sustainable as claimed:

  • The goals of engaging on the KHMP were to improve the operation of commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Victoria…; and
  • The goal of reviewing the Plan was to improve the objectives of the KHMP 2021-2023 to ensure commercial harvesting in Victoria is sustainable…

For a comprehensive overview of the situation for Kangaroos in Victoria the following stories from the Earth section of the Nature Knowledge Channel will assist in understanding the detail:

  • Review of the Victorian Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan
  • Victorian Kangaroo ‘Harvest’ Management Plan 2024-2028 Plan
  • Unpleasant histories: Mass killing of Kangaroos in Victoria’s National Parks
  • 2024: Commercial exploitation of Kangaroos in Victoria

Game theory: Creating a lose-lose situation

“Win-win, win-lose, and lose-lose are game theory terms that refer to the possible outcomes of a game or dispute involving two sides, and more importantly, how each side perceives their outcome relative to their standing”. Brad Spangler is an Associate at Resolve in Washington, D.C.
“While the emphasis of the Plan is on ecological sustainability, the Plan fails to assess or account for the ecological costs of operating a commercial Kangaroo industry in Victoria”. Tina Lawrence

Denials and rebuttals from the Victorian Government are commonplace when it comes to our duty of care for Australian wildlife.

Question: So which feedback fell outside of the ‘scope’ for this review?

Answer: The fundamental and central issues were those that fell outside the scope of the review.

These are:

  • The hyper-inflation of population estimates, leading to quotas that are far too high, leading to systematic removal of Kangaroo populations, region by region, across Victoria (the existing Mallee shooting zone is just one example).
“The Plan fails to meet this Objective because the methodology used by the Victorian government to estimate Kangaroo populations and set quotas is fundamentally flawed and represents a serious risk to both Kangaroo populations now and into the future and the health and persistence of the ecosystems in which they are the dominant large herbivore”. Tina Lawrence
  • The new Plan redefines the boundaries of Victoria’s commercial shooting zones (from 7 to 5 zones) which will exclude (from 2025) the City of Melbourne and include the expansion of commercial shooting into public lands, including National and State Parks. The latter is both disgraceful at international scale and very dangerous.
“If it is not bad enough that they leave the guts, heads, hands and feet of the Kangaroos at their pop up abattoirs all over the bush for tourists to find, now they are actually shooting these poor little Kangaroos right there in front of the tourists". Peter Hylands
  • Serious human rights abuses related to the commercial exploitation of Kangaroos in Victoria are totally ignored, including by senior ministers in the Victorian Government.
"So people who live in a place, run businesses in a place. Have customers and guests staying at a place they own and have developed, have no rights to be there (nor have their guests), and in the process are criminalised when they are a very long way from criminals, leading gentle and productive lives". Peter Hylands
  • Claims that the cruellest of all activities in relation to the commercial exploitation of wildlife in terms of its scope and scale and government connivance is humane is total nonsense. Just one aspect of this is that young Kangaroos are required by the Victorian Government to be beaten to death or decapitated after their mothers have been shot.
“If you add up all the ways in which 'protected' Australian wildlife can be abused in Victoria, the killing covers roughly a million native animals targeted each year and 100 'protected' native species. Australian Animals in Victoria can be killed by beating (blunt force), decapitation, shooting, gassing, trapping and poisoning, in the case of 'protected' birdlife, shooting, dislocation, pithing, destruction of nests and windmilling”. Peter Hylands
  • Carbon intensive nature of this commercial activity per dollar value.
“I have publicly expressed my deep concern about the carbon intensity (footprint) of the commercial exploitation of Kangaroos. If the Victorian Government cares about climate change it needs to deal with this matter”.  Peter Hylands


With all the terrible things being done to animals in Victoria, the Victoria Government is planning to introduce an Animal Care and Protection Bill, currently in draft form. The public consultation has recently closed. Issues of sentience and animal life are described.

The more Australian the species, the less sentient it appears to be.

“Explicitly recognising animal sentience makes it clear why the laws exist. It’s an approach now adopted by many other jurisdictions such as the European Union and the United Kingdom”. Victorian Government
“The care requirements would not apply to animals living in the wild or not in someone’s care, even where they interact with people (such as pest animals, or wildlife being hunted or fished)”. Victorian Government
“Explicitly stating that animals are sentient in legislation does not give animals legal rights, nor prevent animals from being owned or used for lawful purposes”. Victorian Government

It rarely happens and it is never humane:

“Blunt force trauma is only humane if delivered with one blow”. Victorian Government

More BAU

Enabled by all the spin, emboldened and entitled, this is the result:

“The night-time massacre occurred in a remote location south of Colbinabbin in Central Victoria and is now the subject of an investigation by the state's Conservation Regulator. Many shot roos were left to die in paddocks, while others were found dead or dying by the roadside after being deliberately run over”. Ian Royall, Herald Sun 30 June 2024