Kan­ga­roo pro­gram now per­ma­nent

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Farmer rep­re­sen­ta­tives have wel­comed a per­ma­nent Kan­ga­roo Har­vest­ing Pro­gram to help man­age kan­ga­roo pop­u­la­tions in Vic­to­ria.

Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion Live­stock Group has backed a State Govern­ment move that will also sup­port the state’s kan­ga­roo pet-food in­dus­try.

Ac­cred­ited shoot­ers will now be able to har­vest kan­ga­roos and have car­casses pro­cessed for pet food by li­censed busi­nesses – mak­ing it eas­ier for farm­ers, min­imis­ing waste and sup­port­ing jobs in re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

The De­part­ment of Jobs, Precincts and Re­gions is ad­min­is­ter­ing the new pro­gram, which in­cludes strict safe­guards to en­sure har­vest­ing oc­curs at a sus­tain­able level, that an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards are met, and that the liveli­hoods of farm­ers are pro­tected.

The Kan­ga­roo Har­vest­ing Pro­gram re­places the Kan­ga­roo Pet Food Trial, which has run for the past five years.

The Kan­ga­roo Har­vest­ing Pro­gram will fea­ture a stan­dard­ised form for landown­ers to pro­vide writ­ten con­sent for a har­vester to cull kan­ga­roos on the landowner’s prop­erty.

Au­thor­i­ties are en­cour­ag­ing farm­ers to ask har­vesters for ev­i­dence of their au­tho­ri­sa­tion to har­vest kan­ga­roos and that they have ap­pro­pri­ate in­sur­ance.

VFF Live­stock Group pres­i­dent Leonard Val­lance said the pro­gram would im­prove kan­ga­roo man­age­ment, cut red tape for farm­ers and bring Vic­to­ria in line with other states.

“It’s pos­i­tive to see that the pro­gram re­moves the ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den of kan­ga­roo man­age­ment on farm­ers,” he said.

“Farm­ers will no longer need to ap­ply for a per­mit or prove kan­ga­roo dam­age has oc­curred on their prop­erty to ac­cess the new kan­ga­roo pet-food pro­gram.

“How­ever, we are still con­cerned that kan­ga­roo con­trol in Vic­to­ria is be­ing man­aged by two govern­ment de­part­ments, and about whether depart­men­tal de­lays will hin­der the ef­fi­ciency of the process.

“We also want to en­sure that the kan­ga­roo pet-food sup­ply chain does not drown in red tape as this pro­gram is rolled out.

“The kan­ga­roo pop­u­la­tion in Vic­to­ria has ex­ploded in re­cent years to well be­yond nat­u­ral lev­els.

“The ab­nor­mally large kan­ga­roo pop­u­la­tion is hav­ing a se­ri­ous im­pact on agri­cul­tural busi­nesses, na­tive habi­tats, re­gional road safety and the wel­fare of the kan­ga­roos them­selves.

“Dur­ing the Kan­ga­roo Pet Food Trial, we were in­un­dated with calls from mem­bers who had lost pas­ture and crops and had fences ru­ined by large num­bers of kan­ga­roos.

“It was a clear mes­sage from the farm­ing com­mu­nity that a per­ma­nent kan­ga­roo har­vest pro­gram was needed.”

Mr Val­lance said the VFF would con­tinue to pro­vide feed­back to govern­ment agen­cies and con­trib­ute to a pro­gram re­view in late 2020 to en­sure the pro­gram was ef­fec­tive for all stake­hold­ers.

Med­dick re­sponds

An­i­mal Jus­tice Party Mem­ber for Western Vic­to­ria Andy Med­dick, mean­while, de­scribed the ‘kan­ga­roo-kill’ plan as dis­ap­point­ing and called for an im­me­di­ate halt to the plan.

He said the process would lead to an an­nual slaugh­ter of 11 per­cent of Vic­to­ria’s east­ern grey kan­ga­roos.

He said the move had shocked Vic­to­ri­ans ‘af­ter the leak­ing of a re­port in March that found se­ri­ous is­sues about the trial’.

“Our east­ern grey kan­ga­roos are al­ready drop­ping in num­bers. This plan could see them be­ing shot to ex­tinc­tion,” he said.

“Peo­ple travel from all over the world to see these iconic an­i­mals and they are cast­ing judge­ment on the State Govern­ment for this de­ci­sion.

“The damn­ing re­port of the trial should have been enough to put the nail in the cof­fin.

“Pre­mier Daniel An­drews must can­cel Vic­to­ria’s cruel kan­ga­roo kill and lis­ten to the out­cry of con­cerns for an­i­mal wel­fare, con­ser­va­tion and com­mu­nity safety.”

The govern­ment has des­ig­nated seven har­vest zones 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.

An­nual up­date

The De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning will set a max­i­mum to­tal har­vest for each zone based on state-wide kan­ga­roo pop­u­la­tion sur­veys.

It will up­date quo­tas an­nu­ally to re­flect changes in wildlife num­bers and to en­sure a sus­tain­able Vic­to­rian kan­ga­roo pop­u­la­tion.

An Au­thor­ity to Con­trol Wildlife sys­tem will con­tinue to op­er­ate along­side the Kan­ga­roo Har­vest­ing Pro­gram as an al­ter­na­tive for landown­ers to con­trol kan­ga­roos on their own prop­erty – but car­casses in this case can­not be pro­cessed un­der the new sys­tem.

Land­hold­ers or har­vesters in­ter­ested in be­ing in­volved in the Kan­ga­roo Har­vest­ing Pro­gram can visit agri­cul­ture. vic.gov.au/kan­ga­roohar­vest­ing pro­gram.

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