Push to re-open kangaroo markets to Russia

5 DEC 2012: Since 2009, when Russia first banned kangaroo imports, the commercial industry has been slowly dying and become eager to find new markets while attempting to resurrect Russian markets. Australia’s Agforce Department is determined to convince Russia to re-open their markets (once responsible for 70% of kangaroo exports) that were closed due to serious contamination and hygiene issues.

Across most of Queensland, kangaroo populations are down below 5 animals per square kilometre, which is a level defined as ‘regionally quasi extinct’ by NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. The Queensland research figures highlight how implausible their population estimates are. Some population increases show 200% and 300% increases in one year, which is a highly unlikely estimate, as kangaroo populations increase at between 3-8 % annually in good years. The percentage of the population allowed to be killed is double this figure and for some species even higher.

How you can help:

Please write to the Qld Premier
Campbell Newman MP
PO Box 15185
City East Brisbane 4002

Environment Minister Andrew Powell MP
Email: glass.house@parliament.qld.gov.au
Parliament House
Brisbane 4000

NB: The South Australian Government is also extending their commercial zone further south-east where kangaroo populations are already scarce. We have written to the SA government, outlining our concerns several times and still await a response. Similarly in NSW the last small region within the south-east of the state (Bombala), agricultural interests have sought an extension to have this region commercialised, despite the fact that kangaroo populations are low to moderate according to the government’s own population data. There have been no surveys conducted in the Bombala region and we fear that powerful farmers’ organisations will once again dominate the future survival chances of our long suffering macropod species.

We are commissioning two critiques from a consultant ecologist to look at both states’ extension plans and to have questions asked in Parliament to bring this to the public’s attention. The same ecologist submitted a lengthy report on the four commercially hunted species seeking a Threatened Species Listing. In NSW, WLPA wrote a supporting submission on that listing and our arguments were referred to the state’s Scientific Committee.

The recent Lateline program (27th August) highlighted the pressure that is being placed on Russia to re-open their kangaroo markets, despite high levels of contamination and E. Coli being present in supermarket samples of kangaroo meat purchased by Animal Liberation activists. These ‘products’ were then placed in cooler packs and sent to independent labs for specific hygiene and pathogen testing. Dirty chiller boxes (refrigerator mobile boxes) and maggots were exposed on the program which demonstrated current poor standards of hygiene.

You can watch the Lateline expose here: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3577170.htm