Millions of Kangaroos in Australia Will Be Sacrificed to ‘Protect’ Them

Australia is experiencing one of the most controversial debates in its history in the face of a situation that has gotten out of control with kangaroos.

Isabel Cara

Due to a historic increase in the kangaroo population in Australia, several environmental groups worldwide have recommended the government of that country ‘cull’ millions of kangaroos to protect them. The kangaroo is a reference for Australia worldwide, but the situation is getting out of control. Two decades ago, the population of this species in the country was around 30 million. However, in the next few months, specialists assure that the barrier of 60 million could be crossed.

Why Would Millions of Kangaroos Be Sacrificed in Australia?

The overpopulation of kangaroos in Australia may represent a serious problem in the coming weeks according to several international environmental groups. If there is a good rainy season, the amount of food available for these animals increases and, as a consequence, they reproduce in greater numbers. However, the problem comes during the rest of the year with the extreme temperatures in Australia that in the summer reach up to 45 degrees Celsius. In this scenario, kangaroos are left virtually adrift.

“In the last drought we estimated that, in some regions, 80 to 90 percent of the kangaroos died in the face of the extreme conditions. They are starving to death. Kangaroos are even getting into public toilets and eating toilet paper. You can see them starving on the roads trying to feed their young,” said conservationist Katherine Mosby during an interview with AFP.

In a surprise statement, Moseby said the best solution is to ‘cull’ them and ‘manage the meat’ to keep the numbers under control. “This would drive the numbers down so that when we have droughts we don’t have these problems. If we looked at them as a source and managed them as that, we wouldn’t have the catastrophic deaths we’re seeing.”

Kangaroos Are a Protected Species in Australia

Within the Australian legislation, kangaroos are protected in the country, but, the most common species do not fall under the “endangered” list. What does this mean? Kangaroos that are not in the classification can be ‘shot’, although, special permission from the government is required.

In recent years, according to official figures, between five and six million kangaroos are killed annually to be used in industry as food or to make clothing. “After three years of the East Coast’s La Niña phenomenon, we have seen the perfect scenario of growth for kangaroos going into the next few years. The cycle is really accelerating,” Dennis King, a member of the Kangaroo Industry Association, told AFP. In addition, animal rights activists have demanded that major sportswear brands stop using kangaroo fur in their garments. They call the process a “cruel slaughter.”

Some companies have already confirmed that they will stop using kangaroo fur in their products starting this year. However, the great debate lies in the justified criticism of multinationals, but also of public policies that have not controlled overpopulation. Therefore, the question is whether kangaroos should be left to die of starvation or whether ‘mercy’ should be shown to them by slaughtering them.

Story written in Spanish by Miguel Fernández in Cultura Colectiva News

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