Snapshot: Commercial exploitation of Kangaroos in Western Australia
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Life on land
The management of the commercial Kangaroo industry, and approval to export Kangaroo products, is through the operation of the Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest of Kangaroos in Western Australia, approved under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
“Aerial surveys from fixed-wing aircraft are conducted to estimate the size of Kangaroo populations within each zone. Survey lines have been established at regular intervals across the harvest region and the same lines are surveyed during the same season in each survey period to allow comparison of results between years. No regular quantitative ground surveys are undertaken in Western Australia. Due to Covid-19 restrictions no aerial surveys for Kangaroos were undertaken in 2020”. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
The shooting zones are:
Like all state governments, the Western Australian Government attempts to conceal the extreme levels of cruelty involved in the commercial exploitation of Kangaroos, stating:
“The Department is committed to promoting and maintaining high standards in animal welfare”.
This can only be described as complete nonsense.
And yet more total nonsense from the Western Australian Government:
“The Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest of Kangaroos in Western Australia 2019 – 2023, provides for the commercial harvest of Red and Western Grey Kangaroos in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development”.
ABC: At it again
Claiming a population of 50 million commercially exploited Kangaroos species (which is false, as the official Australian Government figure for 2021 is 30.6 million – also significantly overstated), the ABC is yet again and cruelly promoting the further exploitation of Australian wildlife, while doing so, ignoring significant dangers to human health. And as Kangaroo populations plummet, this is what Australia's national broadcaster has to say:
“Our Kangaroo population is booming and competing with resources with farmers, so should we be eating more of them” ABC Perth 14 October 2022.
Two species of Kangaroo are currently killed for commercial gain in Western Australia, the Red Kangaroo and the Western Grey Kangaroo.
In 2021, the quota for the Red Kangaroo was set at 17 per cent of the annual population estimate, for the Western Grey Kangaroo the quota is set at 15 per cent. The population estimate for the two commercially exploited species for 2021 was 2,412,050. The population estimate is probably too high and adding to the problem here is the high proportion of the population used in setting the quota.
Since 2003 the number of Kangaroos killed commercially shows significant decline. There was no commercial harvest of Euros from 2003-2006 and from 2010. There is no current plan that allows shooting of Euros for commercial purposes (Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest of Kangaroos in Western Australia 2019-2023), however Euros are shot for non-commercial purposes on farmland or leasehold land used for grazing.
In 2016 the ABC reported the closure of the Perth based Kangaroo processing plant of VIP PetFoods.
“VIP Pet Foods CEO David Grant said declining numbers of Kangaroos in WA coupled with an underutilisation of the company's processing plant in Perth were the driving factors in the decision. It's simply a financial decision, we have plenty of capacity in our Queensland facility and better access to kangaroos so it makes sense to process it all in the one location. He said the company would now source mainly Eastern Grey Kangaroos from NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Far North Queensland”.
Meanwhile the Western Australian Government Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has been putting a different spin on the evident and very significant decline in Kangaroo populations in the state, claiming each year since 2016 that:
“Limited demand for carcasses from processors, exacerbated by the closure of V.I.P. Petfoods in 2016, continues to contribute to the significant reduction in active shooting of kangaroos for commercial purposes. A few small processors have been established however this has not significantly increased demand across the industry”.
The Commonwealth Government provides population estimates for the two commercial species in Western Australia as follows; 2009 – 2,557,970 / 2010 – 2,258,107 / 2011 –1,815,719.
More nonsense - ABC News October 2019:
"Landholders are calling for the roo meat industry to ramp up. Kangaroo numbers in Western Australia have jumped dramatically in recent years, prompting calls for an expansion of the state's Kangaroo meat industry. Western Grey Kangaroo numbers have doubled since 2014 while the Red Kangaroo population has quadrupled”.
We found our plot of ‘paradise’ in the West Australian Chittering Valley:
“It is a lovely day sitting on my verandah with the birds flying overhead; a great sense of peace and harmony exists. These types of days are not frequent enough. Nightmares a story too. I have come to dread the nights, waiting for the guns to go off as more and more Kangaroos are exterminated, and of course all the non-target species sorely affected as ever. I am no longer willing just to hope this living nightmare will go away. Bad enough to be the perpetrator, bad enough to be the victim, but far worse to be the bystander. And so I try to be the difference, to be the change. This too, at a cost to my wellbeing”. Peta Rakela: Paradise Shattered, AWPC 2005
Here is a brief analysis of what has occurred in the commercial Kangaroo shooting zones in Western Australia:
Population estimate 2,399,190
Commercial quota 375,410 (represents 17 per cent of estimated population of Red Kangaroos and 14 per cent of estimated population for Western Grey Kangaroos).
“In accordance with the Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest of Kangaroos in Western Australia 2019-2023, Action 12 (DBCA 2019), the commercial harvest rate is to be suspended if aerial surveys indicate that the Western Grey Kangaroo population density within the SE PMZ or within Management Areas within the PMZ has fallen ≤0.80 individuals per km2. The suspensions will remain in place until surveys, or populations estimates corrected for trends in rainfall, indicate that Kangaroo densities have increased above the 0.80 individuals per km2 density threshold. Therefore, harvest of Western Grey Kangaroos can only occur from within the SEA Kangaroo Management Area within the PMZ, and there is to be no harvest of Western Grey Kangaroos in remainder of the SE PMZ in 2022”. Western Australian Government
Population estimate 2,412,050
Commercial quota 381,880 (represents 17 per cent of estimated population of Red Kangaroos and 15 per cent of estimated population for Western Grey Kangaroos)
2021 actuals to end October were: for the Western Grey Kangaroo a total of 46,835 had been shot for commercial purposes, 16,198 (35 per cent) were female at an average weight of 17.6 kilos (approximate gross value of females $13 each). For the Red Kangaroo a total of 14,919 were shot, 3,659 (25 per cent) were female with an average weight of 15.2 kilos (approximate gross value of females $11.40 each). In the first ten months of 2021, just 16 per cent of the quota was filled.
The full year results for 2021 became available to us in September 2022. In total, including both species, 85,613 Kangaroos were killed for commercial gain, that is just 22.5 percent of the quota. Yet again, the take against quota is low, this does not mean there are no shooters, there are plenty of them, it means there are no Kangaroos.
In 2021 the total number of Red Kangaroos killed for commercial purposes was 22,814 of which 28.2 per cent were female. 13,588 of these animals were from the South Eastern Zone. There was no commercial killing activity of Red Kangaroos in the South Western Zone. The average weight of males was 25 kilos and the average weight of females was15.4 kilos.
For the Western Grey Kangaroo, the total number of animals killed for commercial purposes was 62,799 of which 33.8 per cent were females. Joeys are not accounted for but some thousands will have been killed or would have starved to death, and that takes out the next generation. Of the animals killed, 51,449 were from the South Western Zone. There was no commercial killing activity of Western Grey Kangaroos in the Northern Zone. The average weight of males was 29.6 kilos and the average weight of females was 17.8 kilos.
Population (estimate) 2,412,050
Commercial quota Red Kangaroo 217,360 / actual take 30,022 / 13.8 per cent of quota taken / 25 per cent females
Commercial quota Western Grey Kangaroo 271,770 / actual take 70,871 / 26.1 per cent of quota taken / 35 per cent females
Population (estimate) 3,090,605
Commercial quota Red Kangaroo 310,370 / actual take 28,546 / 9.2 per cent of quota taken / 22 per cent females
Commercial quota Western Grey Kangaroo 363,570 / actual take 59,926 / 16.5 per cent of quota taken / 27 per cent females
Population (estimate) 4,249,560
Commercial quota Red Kangaroo 248,900 / actual take 19,044 / 7.6 per cent of quota taken / 22 per cent females
Commercial quota Western Grey Kangaroo 340,540 / actual take 47,720 / 14 per cent of quota taken / 25 per cent females
Population (estimate) 3,734,775
Commercial quota Red Kangaroo 185,000 / actual take 17,844 / 9.6 per cent of quota taken / 20per cent females
Commercial quota Western Grey Kangaroo 191,325 / actual take 50,993 / 26 per cent of quota taken / 20 per cent females
Population (estimate) 2,489,700
Commercial quota Red Kangaroo 131,500 / actual take 22,236 / 16.9 per cent of quota taken / 18 per cent females
Commercial quota Western Grey Kangaroo 216,400 / actual take 68,985 / 31.9 per cent of quota taken / 33 per cent females
Commercially exploited Kangaroo species, population estimates
Population estimates commercially exploited species in Western Australia 2001 – 2015
Too many females with young (and joeys are not accounted for) being killed and quotas too high to not seriously impact Kangaroo populations in Western Australia. Very low actual take against quota tells a story about the quality and accuracy of population estimates. I have serious concerns for the Red Kangaroo and Euro, things are not looking too bright for the Western Grey Kangaroo either.