Call for ’roos as pet food

By Country News

With Victoria being the only state without an approved management plan for commercial kangaroo harvesting, the VFF says it’s time to fully commercialise the kangaroo pet food trial and provide certainty for the industry.

The kangaroo population has exploded to plague proportions in recent years with the abundant supply of grazing feed and water artificially inflating the natural kangaroo population, with the Federal Department of Environment quoting more than 48million head in Australia, which is up from 25million in 2011.

According to VFF Livestock president Leonard Vallance, the growing kangaroo population has a detrimental impact on not only agriculture but also native flora and fauna, leaving little shelter for other animals, reptiles, birds and insects.

‘‘The kangaroo pet food industry is a means of managing the kangaroo population at a sustainable and viable level in a regulated environment,’’ Mr Vallance said.

‘‘It’s time for Minister D’Ambrosio to commit to the commercialisation and provide certainty to the people invested in the industry.

‘‘We’re very concerned about the amount of damage and destruction the kangaroo population is currently presenting to Victorian farming land.

‘‘This is the best way to reduce the economic and environmental damage caused by excess numbers of kangaroos, create jobs in the meat supply chain, and boost revenue that would be invested back into rural communities at the same time.’’

Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan said more needed to be done.

‘‘The Kangaroo Pet Food Trial is a practical measure to address Victoria’s kangaroo problem,’’ Ms Ryan said last month.

‘‘It reduces waste, allows carcases to be repurposed and creates employment, but it is soon due to expire,’’ she said.

Commercial kangaroo and wallaby harvesting is regulated by state legislation which licenses commercial kangaroo and wallaby shooters on the condition that they can only sell carcases of animals that have been treated in accordance with the National Code of Practice.

The VFF also sees the benefit of investigating the pet food supply chain for the management of the increasing deer population in Victoria.