EU to act responsibly on import of cruel and contaminated kangaroo meat

#Act4
Wildlife

EU to act responsibly on import of cruel and contaminated kangaroo meat

6 March 2018
Eurogroup for Animals
News
Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands are the world’s largest importers of kangaroo meat with annual totals up to 1,000 tons of meat, equivalent to approximately 1 million animals [1].

Today the European première of the eye-opening documentary ‘Kangaroo: a love-hate story’ was screened in the European Parliament. The movie reveals the hidden truth behind the massive and horrendous kangaroo slaughter, exposing major food safety and animal welfare concerns.

The film shows serious food safety concerns and breaches of the EU regulation on the import of game meat. Independent testing of retail kangaroo meat in Australia has regularly found unacceptable pathogenic contamination [2] which has lead countries like Russia to ban kangaroo meat imports for a third time.

With animals being shot and eviscerated in the dark, subsequent long travel time to a chilling facility under warm desert conditions and long holding periods before the meat is actually processed, compliance with the most basic hygiene rules seems unrealistic.

Not only is hygiene substandard, animal welfare principles too are being trampled underfoot.  

European citizens are not aware of the enormous animal suffering behind the meat products. As the shooting of the kangaroos happens in the dark without any scrutiny, non lethal shots are inevitable often causing injuries leading to a slow and cruel death. The Australian national Code of Practice requires shooters to shoot at-foot baby kangaroos (joeys), and decapitate or “crush the skull and destroy the brain” of young cubs still in their mother’s pouch. This is extremely remote from European values and EU Member States’ legislation against animal cruelty.

Research confirms that those joeys that manage to escape their ordeal, are left in the field to suffer exposure, starvation, or predation when the mother is killed. Although joeys killed or left to die are not officially recorded, unofficial reports indicate over 110,000 joeys died from commercial shooting alone in 2015. This massive shooting and its subsequent consequences for the offspring puts the future of the hunted kangaroo species at risk.

Kangaroos grow and breed slowly and have high juvenile mortality. A Grey Kangaroo can produce up to eight joeys in her lifetime with just two likely to survive to independence. The growth rates of wild populations average around 10 percent in optimal conditions however current shooting quotas of 15-20 percent exceed actual kangaroo population growth rates, hence putting the species at risk of conservation concerns.

In light of the conservation, public health and welfare concerns, we believe it is high time that the EU reconsiders this trade and introduces an import ban on sanitary grounds while acknowledging discrepancy with the EU’s welfare values.” said Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals at the films’s première. In doing so, she referred to an earlier European Commission response to a parliamentary question [3] stating that “In severe cases, the European Commission adopts a safeguard measure where a 100 percent testing frequency on imports is laid down, or the product is even banned if the seriousness of the risk requires it”.

Given the seriousness of the public health and welfare concerns raised by the documentary, Eurogroup for Animals believes it is high time to ban the import of kangaroo meat.

Notes:
[1] According to biologist Dr. Dror Ben, present at the première
[2]  Dr David Obendorf, ‘Diseases In Kangaroo Meat’ Australian Wildlife Protection Council
http://www.awpc.org.au/kangaroos/book_files/diseases.htm. See also
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/12/jump-your- bones-kangaroo- meat-pet- treats-recalled- for-salmonella-
risk/#.VZtDMlWqo6V
; http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/hygiene-threatens- kangaroo-meat- industry-20091117-
ikf6.html
; http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-kangaroo- meat-fails- basic-hygiene- tests-20150306- 13uyft.html
[3]http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=P-2010-9027&language=MT

Press coverage:
David Littleproud says Greens push to end kangaroo trade is treason (Source: The Australian)

We believe it is high time that the EU reconsiders this trade and introduces an import ban on sanitary grounds while acknowledging discrepancy with the EU’s welfare values.
Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals
The post 'EU to act responsibly on import of cruel and contaminated kangaroo meat' is modified from an article published by Eurogroup for Animals in their original language.