Victoria will start this month, March, a two-year trial of commercial processing of kangaroo for its meat, the state government announced on Wednesday. The push for kangaroo meat sparked outrage from the animal welfare lobby and the Greens.
The announcement was the result of years of intensive lobbying from animal raisers and the kangaroo processing industry.
The Herald Sun noted that the pilot programme makes sense because of the readily available kangaroo stock, especially in rural Victoria where the huge headcount of roos and years of drought have resulted in damaged to farmlands as the animals destroyed fences and ate pastures and crops.
Under the programme, the Victorian government would issue permits for professionals to kill 30,000 to 69,000 kangaroos annually. With the previous ban on commercial processing of kangaroo meat lifted, the flesh would be put to a good use instead of being burned or discarded.
The biggest kangaroo population could be found in the Australian states of Queensland and South Australia.
John Kelly, executive officer of the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia said, "These are animals that are going to be killed anyway. Animals that Victoria has been killing for years and years and years on the ground to rot."
But the roo meat would be mainly used to meet the strong demand from the petfood sector, not so much for human consumption.
Mr Kelly estimated kangaroo meat could generate $270 million in revenue and provide jobs for 4,000 people in Victoria. Other Aussie states had actually gone ahead and are processing kangaroo meat which sells at $22 per kilogramme in Coles for kangaroo fillet, while premium beef rump steak costs less at $16 per kilogramme.
Only people with Authority to Control Wildlife permits could cull the roos by shooting the animal on the head, considered a humane method. These permits are not issued based on a quota system but on a case-to-case basis.