Kangaroo pet food program stalls

A KANGAROO culling program in the Wimmera has stalled because of export regulations.

The program runs in 16 local government areas, including West Wimmera, Horsham, Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians municipalities.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said kangaroos from West Wimmera Shire were being processed in Hamilton, but the company had not been able to get government permission to export the kangaroo skins.

She said the program expanded to the shire in September. 

“To minimise waste from harvesting kangaroos for pet food it is essential that pet food processors can export the skins to international markets,” she said.

“This requires federal approval as a wildlife trade operation.

“Victorian Petfood Processors in Hamilton applied for approval for the expanded kangaroo pet food trial regions of Glenelg, West Wimmera, Loddon and Bendigo.

“However, the federal government cannot approve the application until further information is received from the state government.”

Ms Kealy said there had been more than nine months of discussions.

“There is clearly a push back about this issue,” she said.

Ms Kealy said while the processor could store the skins, there was only a limited market in Australia for them. “We desperately need to sell this product overseas,” she said. “The processors do as much as possible, but we need to export the skins.”

Ms Kealy said the lack of approval meant kangaroos were no longer being culled in West Wimmera Shire.

“It’s like shearing a sheep but not being able to sell the wool,” she said.

Ms Kealy said the culling program was good for the region as it helped control kangaroo populations.

“It is a very regulated system and it means we can better understand what numbers we have,” she said.

Ms Kealy spoke about the issue in parliament earlier this month.

She urged the state government to undertake kangaroo surveys, release the data and submit a Victorian kangaroo management plan to the federal government.

She said this would mean the pet food processors’ wildlife trade operations for the skins could be assessed and approved.