How America is trying to end Australia’s kangaroo “killing sprees”

Australia’s kangaroos are at times in plague numbers, outnumbering the human population of the country and causing huge problems for the agricultural sector.

Rather than purely shooting them as pests, there’s a thriving industry here involving harvesting their pelts and meat for leather and food (there’s a pretty good chance your cat or dog has been dining on roo at some point).

But this industry is facing a real threat – and it’s not from anti-gun people in Australia.

Animal rights groups in the USA have, with the aid of supportive politicians, introduced the Kangaroo Protection Act (H.R. 4995), which is intended to end the sale of all kangaroo products – meat, leather, anything else made from kangaroo – in the USA.

The move is part of a wider campaign by animal rights groups to end the use of kangaroo leather in soccer shoes – timely, given the Women’s World Cup currently taking place in Australia and New Zealand.

Animal Wellness Action and Center For A Humane Economy president Wayne Pacelle said the legislation was intended to cut off the US market for Australian commercial shooters and global major athletic shoe companies using kangaroo leather in their products.

“In America, we don’t allow this kind of mass commercial slaughter of our native wildlife, and neither should we import wildlife parts and outsource these killing sprees,” he said.

Fun historical fact: The US did allow mass commercial slaughter of its wildlife in the past, but sustainable practices weren’t a priority back then and that’s why nobody has “Professional Bison Hunter” on their resume these days.

There’s also the fact that kangaroos breed far, far more prodigiously than bison do, and the fact that harvesting kangaroos is subject to strict controls, regulations and codes of practice.

The Kangaroo Industry Association Of Australia, which represents most of the commercial macropod harvesting industry, says studies on more than 30 years of commercial harvesting have found no long-term impacts on kangaroo populations, due to strict and regulated quotas based on scientific survey methods. 

The fact kangaroos are plentiful is also readily apparent to pretty much anyone who’s ever been to a rural area in Australia.

Unlike Australia, where a Bill being introduced to Parliament is essentially a done deal and 90% likely to pass in some form or another, Bills being introduced to US Congress are not guaranteed to pass – indeed, the majority do not – and the process of getting the viable Bills to a vote is quite involved; much like Australia there are legislative committees and consultation with stakeholders to be undertaken as well.

In a practical sense it means it’s highly unlikely this Bill will pass – but that doesn’t mean we can afford to be complacent, either. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.