The kangaroo industry is widely regarded as an intelligent use of a sustainable resource and is supported by scientists, conservation groups and academics as being a benchmark for a natural resource use model. Through careful and thoughtful management the industry produces high quality meat and leather products for the global market by utilizing the super-abundant kangaroo population.

The entire process is closely managed by the Australian Government and supported by conservation and environmental protection communities throughout Australia due to clear goals of sustainability and ecosystem preservation. The industry provides a valuable contribution to exports and the economy with gross value of production for the kangaroo industry in 2014 being A$174 million.

The industry supports 2000 licensed harvesters and generates over 2000 jobs in the processing and transport sector plus more jobs in government, sales and other allied activities. Creating over 4000 direct and indirect jobs the kangaroo industry is an important part of the Australian economy.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources regulates the export activities of the kangaroo meat industry by:

  • registering processing facilities for export 
  • overseeing production to ensure food safety, and
  • certifying kangaroo meat products.
 
The Department is also involved in developing and maintaining market access for kangaroo products worldwide. Exporters now have access to more than 60 overseas markets, where they deliver high quality fresh meat cuts to restaurants and dinner tables across the globe.  

Kangaroo meat product is sustainably sourced. Around 3% of Australia’s 50 million kangaroos are used for meat production each year. Of over 48 kangaroo and wallaby species in Australia, only six species are permitted for commercial harvesting:

  • red kangaroo
  • eastern grey kangaroo
  • western grey kangaroo
  • common wallaroo.
  • Bennetts wallaby
  • Rufus wallaby

The kangaroo industry utilises a natural and superabundant resource. Kangaroo populations rise and fall with seasonal conditions, during extended droughts their numbers fall and invariably rise again when droughts break. If kangaroo populations are allowed to increase uncontrolled, many more will die of starvation during times of drought. In addition during the good seasons the populations can become so high that overgrazing of native plants can occur and lead to plant biodiversity loss. Kangaroo populations have always been controlled, prior to European settlement this was by dingo and Aboriginal people predation, the kangaroo harvest simply replaces these.

Studies of kangaroo populations have found no long-term impacts resulting from more than 60 years of commercial harvesting. This is due to the use of strict and regulated quotas that are based on scientific survey methods.

There are 48 species of macropods (kangaroos) in Australia. Of these only four can be commercially harvested. In addition two species of wallaby are harvested in Tasmania. The populations of kangaroos are estimated every year in each State by highly developed aerial survey techniques. Current populations stand around the 50 million mark. This means there are higher numbers of kangaroos in Australia than there are cattle. 

For any kangaroo species to be harvested the conservation authority in the relevant State must have a detailed Management Plan approved by the Federal Department of Environment. These Plans must detail the annual population monitoring and quota setting controls, the controls over the take and they must be renewed every 5 years.

Kangaroo populations have always been controlled by predation of some sort. Prior to European settlement it was by dingo and Aboriginal peoples, the commercial harvest simply replaces these. Without some level of control kangaroos can reach staggering population levels. Studies have shown this can lead to plant biodiversity loss, destruction to native vegetation and damage to habitat for smaller native species. Kangaroos are soft-footed, which means less damage to soil and vegetation, if effectively managed they offer the possibility of a meat production system which would help to maintain ground cover and biodiversity of plant species.

Australia’s commercial kangaroo industry, which began in 1959, is considered one of the world’s best wild harvest operations and the kangaroo industry takes animal welfare very seriously. Over the years it has worked closely with Australian governments to put in place tight controls and monitoring to ensure welfare outcomes are optimal. 
 
All commercially processed kangaroos are taken by licensed commercial kangaroo harvesters who are skilled professional harvesters who must comply with the Federal Governments Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes. Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes. 
 
The actual welfare outcomes delivered by the industry have been independently monitored on several occasions. The latest in 2012 demonstrated that 99.6% of all kangaroos targeted by professional Harvesters are killed instantaneously according to the regulations. In addition all kangaroos processed for export are assessed by government Veterinarians to check they were taken in compliance with the animal welfare regulations.  In 2015 of over 1 million animals inspected on 25 were suspected of being non-compliant.  That’s an extraordinarily high level of compliance.

In 2013 the Kangaroo Industries Association introduced a policy to see the industry move to a male only take. Since then the level of females taken have declined from 30% of the overall take to less than 5%.

The kangaroo harvest provides a critical service to farmers in reducing the economic impact on them from super-abundant kangaroo populations. It has been estimated kangaroos cost the Agricultural sector in excess of $90m/year. This includes direct losses by grazing crops or pastures as well as damaging fences and other farm infrastructure.

Managing Total Grazing Pressure (TGP) is essential to maintaining plant biodiversity in the rangelans. Kangaroos represent a significant component of the TGP along with sheep and cattle. Farmers can control their sheep and cattle numbers to ensure the TGP does not threaten the overall environmental health of their property, but the kangaroo harvest is the only tool available to control kangaroo numbers. Without it TGP can rise to levels which threaten plant biodiversity.

In addition an uncontrolled kangaroo population restricts farmers capacity to set aside pasture for their stock during drought conditions. It means farmers cannot ‘spell’ paddocks because large numbers of kangaroos move onto it and eat all the feed needed to keep sheep and cattle alive during droughts.

Australia’s commercial kangaroo industry, which began in 1959, is considered one of the world’s best wild harvest operations. Kangaroo is a uniquely Australian resource which is abundant and provides a range of excellent products including meat and leather.

Kangaroo leather has no equivalent in terms of quality and strength. Weight for weight kangaroo leather is the strongest and lightest natural leather available. Kangaroo skin has a unique fibre structure that runs parallel to the leather surface to provide exceptional rope-like strength.

Australian kangaroo meat is among the healthiest, tastiest and most sustainable red meats in the world. Kangaroos are not farmed but harvested from the wild. The meat is responsibly sourced from an open range environment where kangaroos graze on the natural pastures and foliage of the Australian bush.

The kangaroo industry is widely regarded as an intelligent use of a sustainable resource and is supported by scientists, conservation groups and academics as being a benchmark for a natural resource use model. Through careful and thoughtful management the industry produces high quality meat and leather products for the global market by utilizing the super-abundant kangaroo population.

The kangaroo industry provides a valuable contribution to exports and the economy with gross value of production for the kangaroo industry in 2014 being A$174 million. Once ancillary benefits such as reduced agricultural damage, reduced road accidents and broader benefits to the community are add the industry currently contributes well over $200M per year to the economy.

The industry supports 2000 licensed harvesters and generates over 2000 jobs in the processing and transport sector plus more jobs in government, sales and other allied activities. Creating over 4000 direct and indirect jobs the kangaroo industry is an important part of the Australian economy.

The kangaroo industry enjoys widespread support with support voiced by a range of ecological and conservation NGO’s, eminent scientists, Aboriginal communities, regional communities and the general public.

The kangaroo industry is a serious generator of jobs in regional and rural areas. The industry typically has over 2000 kangaroo harvesters licensed at any one time. All of these operators are based in rural areas and generate a significant level of income for these regions.

Australian kangaroo meat is among the healthiest, tastiest and most sustainable red meats in the world.  Kangaroos are not farmed but harvested from the wild. The meat is responsibly sourced from an open range environment where kangaroos graze on the natural pastures and foliage of the Australian bush.
 
As a result of grazing in the wild, kangaroos produce meat that’s free from antibiotics, added growth hormones and added chemicals. Being so active, kangaroos naturally produce very lean, healthy red meat. It also has a fantastic flavor and is a tasty alternative red meat.
Kangaroo meat has a range of health and nutrition benefits, including being: 
  • very high in iron 
  • very high in protein
  • 98% fat free 
  • highest known dietary source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a fatty acid that studies have shown can contribute to the reduction of body fat.  

The kangaroo meat industry in Australia is highly regulated. A ‘paddock to plate’ traceability system exists, which ensures that kangaroo meat is safe to consume and consistent in its quality. Stringent quality controls underline all aspects of the kangaroo industry and the harvest process is tightly regulated and monitored.

Harvesters must comply with the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Game Meat for Human Consumption. Compliance against the regulations is monitored by State Government Authorities.

Every kangaroo processed for human consumption meat is inspected by a government licensed Meat Inspector to ensure it is healthy and hygienic. In addition the final product is subject to micro-biological monitoring to ensure it meets government standards for safety.

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