The Plight of Kangaroos in Australia

Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF's Founder and General Counsel on August 5, 2010

Join ALDF Founder & General Counsel Joyce Tischler as she tours
Australia with Voiceless, the animal protection institute, for the 2010 Animal Law Lecture Series.

Joyce at Bond University Law SchoolToday, we traveled to the Gold Coast, on the Northeastern side of Australia. Even though it is winter here, the weather in the Gold Coast is quite lovely: warm and sunny. We visited Bond University Law School, where I delivered a lecture this evening.  

As I travel through Australia, I am meeting many fascinating and knowledgeable people. Marilyn Mills, of Wildlife Advocate, Inc., runs a sanctuary for kangaroos and described several of the kangaroos who have become treasured members of her extended family. She told me of their intelligence and sweet natures and lovingly showed me photos of some of her favorite kangaroo friends.

The commercial hunting of Australia’s beloved national icon, the kangaroo, is an embarrassing and cruel chapter in this country’s current history. Adult kangaroos are killed to be eaten by humans (also for pet food) and their skins are made into soccer shoes and other products. Kangaroo hunting is carried out at night in the rural areas where kangaroos are found. The quota for 2009 was 4 million kangaroos. Mother kangaroos commonly care for two kangaroo children (called “joeys”) at once: a baby who is in their pouch and an older joey who travels alongside the mother. Joeys stay with their mothers for up to two years. By law, the adult kangaroos are supposed to be shot in the brain, but even the most experienced hunters miss a clean shot pretty regularly, leaving wounded kangaroos to die slowly and painfully. Additionally, when mother kangaroos are shot, the law requires that hunters club the joey to death; they are considered “collateral damage.” Each year, 440,000 joeys are clubbed to death with steel pipes.

I also spoke with kangaroo expert, Dr. Dror Ben-Ami, PhD, the author of “A Shot in the Dark, A Report on Kangaroo Harvesting.” This report concludes, “The realities of the kangaroo industry: extensive and alarmingly unhygienic practices, unacceptable suffering of young kangaroos and the manufacture of false hope that kangaroo harvesting will alleviate environmental degradation in rural areas.”  You may visit the Voiceless website for the full report. (PDF download)

The hunting of kangaroos is an outrage and should be stopped. If you want to learn more about the plight of kangaroos in Australia and what you can do to help, please check out the Voiceless website.

Tomorrow, we head to Brisbane. Stay tuned for more of my Australian adventure…

Related blog posts:
Hello from Sydney, Australia
Welcome to Australia, Joyce!
Factory Farming in Australia
Animal Law in Australia
Speaking Australian
Live Animal Exports
The Kangaroo Whisperer
Live Animal Exports – Part 2
A Visit With Kangaroos
The Future of Animal Law in Australia

3 thoughts on “The Plight of Kangaroos in Australia

  1. Oberon says:

    Aren’t these the same disgusting people who infect rabbits with myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhaggic disease? Aren’t these the same people who have come close to completely irradicating the population of native humans? It seems as though the only overpopulation problem in Australia is white humans. Leave the animals alone!

  2. ANNA VIRGINI says:

    I’m so angry about these b… of Australians, that are killing such beautiful creatures in a cruel way and those poor innocent babies known as joeys killed by clubbing them. What a barbaric people.I hope, there is hope for these poor creatures!!!Humans, are the worst s… on the face of the earth no pity, no compassion,for anything in this world!Very very sad.

  3. Victoria says:

    It’s easy to point the finger at others and ignore what we are doing in the U.S. Animals are abused by just about every culture, so calling Australians names gets us nowhere, it just shows ego and ignorance. Look at what we’re doing to our wild horses, to animals we put on our plate, to our companion animals that we kill because we breed too many. Yes, the plight of the kangaroo in Australia is criminal. But so is every other torture we put animals through. Action will help animals much more than finger pointing.

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