South-west roos ‘not for profit’

SOUTHERN Grampians Shire’s push to allow the commercial harvesting of kangaroos for human consumption has been put on the chopping block by the Victorian Greens.

In September last year the Municipal Association of Victoria backed the shire’s initiative, but Greens Leader Greg Barber yesterday claimed the renewed push to harvest kangaroos was unworkable.

He was responding to comments in State Parliament this week by Western Victoria MP David O’Brien, who called on Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh to make better use of the current kangaroo cull.

Mr Barber said the extension of current practises was unworkable.

“It’s a thought bubble that just wouldn’t work in practice,” Mr Barber said. 

“It’s cruel, it’s wasteful, and it wouldn’t pass the food safety rules other farmers have to comply with.

“Killing kangaroos by chasing them around in the bush and shooting them is cruel. 

“If we see a wounded joey on the side of the road, we take it to a state government- supported wildlife shelter. 

“Now he’s calling on the state government to licence the creation of thousands of more orphans.

“Nobody supervises the thousands of permits to kill tens of thousands of kangaroos that are given out already. 

“There’s no oversight. Put a profit motive in there and things will get even worse.”

On Tuesday in Parliament Mr O’Brien urged Mr Walsh to put kangaroos now being legally culled to better commercial use.

“The issue was raised publicly last year by the Shire of Southern Grampians and has been expressed privately to me by local residents, most recently by the chef of the Avoca Hotel, who makes a delicious grilled roo fillet rubbed with bush spices and served with assorted vegetables,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Currently the commercial harvesting of wild kangaroos is not permitted in Victoria, although it is ... in South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. 

“I ask the minister to turn his continued attention to this issue, and I ask for a response to this important potential industry and fantastic environmental solution that allows people to eat healthy, lean kangaroo meat whilst protecting, to some extent, the environment from the scourge of too many kangaroos.” 

Last year Southern Gram-pians Shire mayor Bob Penny said the Department of Sustainability and Environment was the regulatory body which approved culling permits for native animals. But he said a permit might allow only 20 kangaroos to be killed and 80kg of the meat set aside for personal use.

“That’s about two kangaroos,” Cr Penny said. “The remaining 18 kangaroos are left to rot on the ground. 

“We’re wanting to see the carcasses better used. This would also create new businesses and jobs.”

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