The Victorian Government has launched its permanent Kangaroo Harvesting Program, which will help to better manage kangaroo populations around the state and support Victoria’s kangaroo pet food industry.
Accredited shooters will now be able to harvest kangaroos and have carcases processed for pet food by licensed businesses — making it easier for farmers, minimising waste and supporting jobs in regional communities.
The new program will be administered by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, and includes strict safeguards to ensure harvesting is carried out at a sustainable level, that animal welfare standards are met, and that the livelihoods of local farmers are protected.
“The program balances the need to keep kangaroo populations at healthy levels and ensure farmers aren’t being overrun by roos who can eat crops, damage property, and compete with stock for feed and water,” Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said.
To ensure kangaroos are managed in a sustainable way, seven harvest zones have been designated, covering areas with significant numbers of kangaroos.
An allocated number of kangaroos will be able to be harvested in each zone by shooters accredited with the program, using a tag system.
A maximum total harvest will be set by the DELWP for each harvest zone based on state-wide kangaroo population surveys.
These quotas will be updated annually to reflect changes in wildlife numbers and to ensure a sustainable Victorian kangaroo population.
In response, Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said changes to the kangaroo pet food program risked tangling farmers, professional shooters and pet food processors up in red tape.
``After the Andrews Labor Government’s lacklustre approach to this program over the past five years, it remains to be seen if the latest changes will work,” he said.
However, the VFF has welcomed the announcement of a permanent program.
“After five years of advocating for the pet food trial to be made permanent, today (October 1) we welcome the Kangaroo Harvesting Program which will improve kangaroo management, cut red tape for farmers, and bring Victoria in line with other states,” VFF livestock president Leonard Vallance said.
Landholders or harvesters interested in being involved in the Kangaroo Harvesting Program can visit: www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/kangarooharvestingprogram
The Kangaroo Harvesting Program replaces the Kangaroo Pet Food Trial, which has run for the past five years and informed the design of the permanent program.