The theme for this year’s International Day of Forests (21 March) is ‘forests and health’. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the important role that forests play in our lives and whether our national environmental laws, which are currently under review, are doing enough to ensure that future generations...
Federal environment minister, The Hon Sussan Ley, has approved another five years of commercial kangaroo exports from New South Wales without heeding critical recommendations from a recent NSW Parliamentary Inquiry relating to population counts, animal welfare, the counting of orphaned joeys and genuine consultation with Indigenous Australians.
The cross party NSW Inquiry, which reported in October, had such serious concerns it recommended both the NSW Natural Resources Commission and the Auditor General investigate key elements of the NSW Management Plan for the Commercial Harvesting of Kangaroos. The NSW Government has not yet responded to the Inquiry findings and recommendations—meanwhile the federal minister has approved the plan.
The Inquiry recommended that the Natural Resources Commission review the current methodology for estimating kangaroo populations and establish an independent panel of ecologists to examine the scientific evidence for assumptions used when determining kangaroo ‘abundance’, annual population growth, the impact of migration and drought on population counts. The Committee was also concerned there is a lack of monitoring and regulation at the point-of-kill during commercial and non-commercial killing of kangaroos to be able monitor animal welfare. It also called for orphaned joeys to be included in the quotas.
Further, the Inquiry found that the shooting of kangaroos has ‘a profound impact on the mental health of some Aboriginal people, kangaroo carers and rescuers’ with First Nations witnesses informing the inquiry that they found killing kangaroos for profit to be culturally offensive. The Inquiry recommended the NSW Government undertake extensive and genuine consultation with Aboriginal people and involve them in local kangaroo management.
Humane Society International (HSI) Head of Campaign Nicola Beynon said: “Despite the NSW Parliament Inquiry’s concerns the federal minister has approved the NSW Kangaroo Management Plan so that it is business as usual for the kangaroo industry with no changes to management or additional scrutiny.”
Australia’s kangaroo industry is the largest commercial exploitation of a country’s terrestrial native wildlife in the world.
“In 2020 a staggering 5.9 million kangaroos were allowed to be killed for commercial purposes in Australia from the species red kangaroo (Osphranter rufus), western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus), eastern grey kangaroo (M. giganteus) and common wallaroo (O. robustus). It is atrocious that an industry allowed to kill enormous numbers of native animals and risk animal suffering at scale, is conducted with such poor oversight and regulation,” said Ms Beynon.
HSI will be asking the federal minister for a Statement of Reasons for her decision. The NSW Government is due to respond to the NSW Inquiry by April.