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Russians ban kangaroo-meat due to Systemic Oz hygiene problems

"Meeting a friend out walking one morning." Photo by Wildlife Carer, Anne-Marie.

"Russia has just announced a ban on all kangaroo products from the 1st August, citing consistent contamination. For those that are unaware, the kangaroo meat exported to Russia is manufacturing meat. This is forequarter bones with meat attached, offal, trimmings and bruising, all put through a grinder and turned into slush, then boxed, snap frozen and exported. The Russians use it for salami and sausage mostly. They add chopped root vegetables and fat, fill the slush into sausage casings, and smoke them. Its then hung for some weeks until cured, then eaten. This is what our politicians have been doing in China lately, trying to convince the Chinese to buy the rejected Russian export kangaroo slush." Pat O'Brien

Perhaps our politicians think that, because China already has world attention due to contaminates in material used for baby formula and pet food, where babies died and pets died, that it won't matter if we push contaminated roo meat on them. Let us hope that is not the case.

Film and Interviews

For more from Pat O'Brien, President of Wildlife Protection Association of Australia, on the problems attached to preparing and exporting kangaroo meat, see these films:
"Meatworks", at
"Lay Reports on Kangaroo Numbers"

See also, "Urgent Need for Wildlife Corridors in Australia" from the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.

Petition against kangaroo shoots and other resources

A petition is also available, calling for a moratorium on commercial and non-commercial kangaroo killing.

For an extraordinary series of photographs documenting the behaviour and interaction of wildlife with each other and carers click here

Kangaroos are being killed in areas where they are quasi extinct. Learn more at

Picture of protected young orphans by Wildlife Carer, Anne-Marie.

Russia blames food safety for Australian kangaroo meat ban

Thursday, 09/07/2009

On the ABC it was reported that Russia has banned all kangaroo meat from being imported to the country.
It has been claimed that the news "is a massive blow to the Australian kangaroo harvesting industry as Russia takes up to 70 per cent of supply and that the industry contributes up to $270 million to the Australian economy per year and employs over 4000 people." LiveExportShame queries these figures.

Peas are 'harvested'; Kangaroos are 'slaughtered'

People who disapprove of the way that Kangaroos are hunted or that they are hunted at all query the sanitising terminology of 'harvesting'. This comment appeared at LiveExportShame: "The kangaroos are SLAUGHTERED not 'harvested'. Thats what is done with peas."

Project officer with the Queensland Macropod and Wild Game Harvesters Association, Tom Garrett, said that "They're saying that there's a systemic problem with the import of Kangaroo meat into Russia and their quoting E-coli in one shipment so I believe it's a little bit to do with politics as well," he says. Mr Garrett says the ban come in on the 1st of August this year and it will see the price of kangaroo meat become worthless.ABC original source

Peter Garret and Law (EPBC) Policy & the System

Pat O'Brien was very disappointed with Mr Garrett's failure to carry through with pre-election committments to reform the EPBC Act. See "Law (EPBC), Policy & the System" interview here about those promises and contrast with Garrett and his government's conduct towards our wildlife. This film also gives a very commonsense appraisal of the ideal of maintaining kangaroos in the wild by making them our national dish when we have 21.6 million people here and growing rapidly, and looks at the history of 'wild life for food scams'.


Letter to Chinese Embassy and General Consulates, Australia:

I am writing with great concern because I understand your country has agreed to import kangaroo meat.

The beautiful kangaroo is our county's iconic symbol and is on our coat of arms. The kangaroo is recognised and loved around the world; the fact that kangaroos are commercially slaughtered here for profit is an Australian National disgrace and our government should be deeply ashamed.

And in the interest of profit, you have been told lies by the government sponsored Kangaroo Industry.

You have been told the "harvest" is "sustainable", but it is a lie.

There has never been any commercial wildlife slaughter in the world that was ever "sustainable". Ever. The world almost lost all whales, walruses, and koalas due to the lie of "sustainable harvest" regarding wildlife. The koala was another beautiful Australian iconic animal commercially slaughtered over 80 years ago...and the koala never recovered. (Koala experts have estimated extinction to be within our life time.) The Australian government didn't learn with our koala and they are doing the same to our kangaroo for profit. Over-exploitation is not "sustainable".

Kangaroos are being slaughtered faster than they can reproduce and because the largest animals are the most desirable for slaughter, the species is losing vital genetic diversity. Killing the strongest of a species in a country where the weak do not survive is not "sustainable".

You have been told the "harvest" is "humane", but it is a lie.

Most adult kangaroos are not shot with a single bullet through the head. Shooting any panicked wild animal in the dark from a moving vehicle using a spotlight cannot possibly always be "accurate" and RSPCA/Australia in 2002 expressed grave concern about the large number of adult kangaroos killed inhumanely.

And every year, it is estimated that 440,000 kangaroo babies are killed as cruelly as Canadian baby Harp seal pups are killed. Ripping a baby from her dead mother's pouch and bashing her head with a metal club is considered "humane" by the Australian government. It is no different from what Canada does to its baby seals except it happens in Australia, in the dark, and is not publicised.

You have been told the "harvest" occurs under very strict safety standards, but it is a lie.

Kangaroos are killed in hot, dusty conditions, gutted in the dirt, and hung on hooks in open-air trucks for hours before before being transported to a holding chiller. There is no water and no sanitation. There is very little industry supervision because it is impossible to monitor millions of isolated kill sites in the Australian outback.

The filthy blood-caked chillers store the dead bodies for up to 2 weeks before shipping them to processing plants located hundreds of miles away. Bacteria actively breed in faecal matter and congealed blood on "chilled" kangaroos. Maggots have been photographed openly feasting on dead flesh.

Russia is absolutely correct in their charge of a "systemic problem" regarding issues of food safety and have wisely banned all kangaroo meat import.

You have been told eating kangaroo flesh is "healthy", but it is a lie.

Like all wild animals, kangaroos are infected with parasites that cannot be treated because they are not domesticated or farmed. Like all wild animals, kangaroos are infected with fungal and viral diseases. There has been little scientific investigation concerning the potential link to human health.

Of a significant public health interest, however, it is known that kangaroos are prone to infection with toxoplasmosis and salmonnella bacteria, both of which can spread to humans through handling, processing, or eating kangaroo meat. Australia experienced a human outbreak in Queensland that was traced back to contaminated kangaroo meat, but it is not well publicised.

You may not care as deeply as I do about the ethical issues of inhumane kangaroo killing. You may not care as deeply as I do about the ethics of eating a nation's National icon, but I hope you will carefully and deeply consider the known heath and safety issues. Logistically, it is impossible to provide identical standards of health safety in killing and processing "game meat" versus domestic livestock, and no amount of rhetoric will change this basic fact.

The world stood horrified as Chinese babies died from contaminated material in baby formula. The same material that killed hundreds of overseas pets just a year prior. From pet food made from the same contaminated material that killed Chinese babies.

Russia has banned the import of kangaroo meat based on very valid health and safety issues. I sincerely hope China does the same and doesn't allow known contaminates to endanger public health.

Kangaroos really are the most amazing, remarkable creatures and deserve great respect and appreciation. Please invite your country to come enjoy beautiful, living kangaroos instead of eating them and we'll all stay healthy!

With kind regards,

~robyn cooper

Please write to the Chinese embassies:

1) Chinese Embassy in Australia:
Address: 15 Coronation Drive, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel: 0061-2-62734780  Fax: 0061-2-62735848

2) Chinese Consulate General - Sydney
Consul General: Hu Shan
Address: 39 Dunblane Street, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia
Tel: 0061-2-85958002, 0061-2-85958000 (Record)
Fax: 0061-2-85958001

3) Chinese Consulate General - Melbourne
Consul General: Shen Weilian
Tel: 00613-98220604, 98246450
Fax: 00613-98220320

4) Chinese Consulate General - Perth
Consul General: Li Shugang
Address: 45 Brown Steet, East Perth, W.A. 6004, Australia
Tel: 0061-8-92220333, 92220305
Consular Office (Visa and Overseas Chinese Affairs): 0061-8-92220300, 92220321, 92220302
Commercial Office: 0061-8-92220311, 92220310
Fax: 0061-8-92216144

5) Chinese Consulate General - Brisbane
Consul General: Ren Gongping
Address: Level 9, 79 Adelaide St., Brisbane QLD 4000
Tel: 07-32106509
Fax: 07-32106517

6) Chinese Consulate General - Canberra
Ambassador: Mr. Zhang Junsai
Address: 15 Coronation Drive, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel: +61-2-62734780
Fax: +61-2-62734878, 62735848

Economic and Commercial Office
Tel: +61-2-62734785
Fax: +61-2-62734987
Fax: +61-2-6273550

You might also send them the following website to check out
and also watch the video at


"It’s embarrassing for Australia that we eat our own wildlife ....I’m here to tell you it’s just not right. Simply do not buy, use or eat kangaroo products”
~ Steve Irwin
Sign the most important petition ever created to help kangar

Hi Robyn,

I read your letter with interest, and agree with most of your sentiments, however I might just try and raise a few points for discussion.

Now before you get your blood up, so to speak, I do agree that we should not be exporting kangaroo products.

I have killed and eaten the kangaroo, and found it to be quite a nice meat to eat. I have also worked in and around the industry, in positions ranging from shooting offsider to meat slicer, including in the plants that have caused the shutdown of imports into Russia. Why? It is great money, in an area that it is hard to earn money in.

However to adress the issues that are raised in your letter.

1. Sustainability:

I agree with your comments about Killing the biggest animals leading to a deterioration of the gene pool. You are dead right, although I must admit I have never really thought about it that way. I agree that current practices do not bode well for the longevity of the Kangaroo as a species.
However, now that the export market has collapsed, I believe there may be a looming problem with roo numbers. Remember that the vast majority of roos are living on country that has been 'improved' by graziers, meaning that for the most part, introduction of management practicies that increase the carrying capacity of land, has modified the kangaroo's natural rangeland far beyond what they evolved to cope with. The natural outcome - a population explosion. What will we do then when the next drought hits and all the improved pastures wither away, as they tend to do? (Farmers haven't got that one figured out yet) What do you think?

2. 'Inhumane harvest'

I think you need to draw a distinction between the Kangaroo harvester and the recreational shooter.
I concede that in the case of the recreational shooter & the farmer employing pest control tactics, humane destruction techniques are not adhered to, and the animal welfare considerations for these types of shooters should be more strictly policed.
However, for the professional shooter delivering a product to the 'box', I reject your statement outright. Panicked animals being shot from a moving vehicle?? That may be the case for the recreational shooter, but not from one trying to make a living. Most animals are shot in about the 200 - 500m range, a distance at which they will readily 'sit' and be clearly seen in the spotlight. Professional shooters use high powered rifles with telescopic sights, and at night, one can not see anything through a telescopic sight unless the weapon is rested - meaning the vehicle is stopped and the shooter is resting the weapon on a bar mounted on the windscreen, or off the drivers side mirror. Unless the animal is still, the shot is not taken. Remember, the people are in this for the money, they don't want to waste expensive ammunition, or endless litres of diesel chasing mobs of roos around trying to 'nab one on the fly'. The ideal night is when there is a light breeze, and a bright moon. Kangaroos will readily 'sit' in this weather, as they are totally sure of their surrounds - it maximises their chances of detecting a predator. You'll find that on a windy dark night, pro shooters will not even go out, as the roos will be nervous and will not 'sit', with the weather conditions limiting their senses and as a result they can not easily detect predators. In any case, a shooter cannot sell anything that is not shot in the head. It is illegal, and if they do, their licence can be suspended.
Shooters try not to shoot females with joeys, their meat is dark, and they won't get paid. Female roos are easy to pick in the spotlight. But you are right - if a nursing mother is shot, the joey's fate is nothing less than barbaric. I have witnessed this many times, and I sit here with my head hung in shame for not having done anything to stop it.

Food Safety:

I agree that pre processing plant, from a food safety perspective, the harvesting practices are not in any way acceptable for human consumption. AQIS needs to be held to account for signing off on the 'fact' that the harvest process meets any sort of hygiene standard.
AQIS does have a standard for roo shooters rigs, including water and gutting racks (Roos are not gutted on the ground), galvanised iron/stainless steel processing surfaces etc.
But to say that the conditions would meet a HACCP quality system or it's equivelant, which is the ideal standard for a food processing system, would be a gross overstatement, and an outright lie.
The Russians are quite right in expressing their concerns about systemic QA problems. The current system of harvest does not, and will never be a safe way of handling foods for human consumption. Full Stop.

In the plant, AQIS veterinary inpectors inspect for parasites, so wormy and fungal infected animals do not make it through the inspection process. I am told that viruses cannot live through the freezing process, where all meat produced is snap frozen to minus 35 degrees, so from a consumption point of view, the product is quite safe from that perspective. Good plant hygeine practices, independantly audited, reduce the incidence of salmonella to less than any Australian standard. Incidences of Salmonella & E Coli are a failure of AQIS standards being applied, and not a reflection of the source product. The same problems occur in other meat sources when processors fail to maintain the appropriate standard of hygiene practices. However - handling the chilled product before it is packed is quite dangerous. I am thinking in particular of Q Fever - a zoonotic bacterial infection that is carried readily by Kangaroos. I contracted Q Fever from working in a wild game plant. 10 days in hospital and 15 kgs lighter, with recurring fevers, joint problems and occasional physe issues, I can tell everyone who reads this that Q Fever is one of the nastier diseases one can run across.

In summary I agree with you, but think you need to steer away from emotive exaggerations and concentrate on the critical points:

1: Australia cannot guarantee the safety of its product for Human consumption.
- The process of in-field harvesting cannot be brought to acceptable hygeine standards.

2: The practice of 'unmanaged' harvesting will lead to the deterioration of the Kangaroo gene pool

3: The policing and regulatory structure surrounding the killing of female kangaroos and the subsequent clubbing of Joeys is inadequate. The practice is barbaric, and must be stopped.

Let me know what you think.

- Rob

Rob said: "However, now that the export market has collapsed, I believe there may be a looming problem with roo numbers". Why should there be a "problem" with roo numbers? The "improved" lands from grazing is about "improving" income, not the land! Kangaroos have lived and evolved in Australia for millions of years without causing damage or destruction. This "pest" status of kangaroos is being propagated by the industry and pseudo-scientists to justify the massacres. Their soft paws do not damage pasture, like livestock, and they have only a fraction of the grazing pressure of sheep! They help fertilise the soils with their urine and excrement, and they do not destroy grasslands when they eat. They should be left to do their job - protect our biodiversity and add value to our landscape. Farmers should be outlawed from shooting native animals that come on their property. They need to value kangaroos and their contribution to our ecology. If they really need to keep out the roos, they should install fences. Kangaroos are natural and well-refined indigenous Australians, not a looming threat!

Rob's unsubtantiated comments above makes the following claims without evidence, so one must question their truth and validity:

(Claim 1) 'There may be a looming problem with roo numbers' - where Rob? What is sparking any 'looming'?

(Claim 2) 'The vast majority of roos are living on grazing country' - which grazing country Rob? Where were the roos before and here are they now..sme place except for having to contend with barbed wire fence skin tears?

(Claim 3) 'Agricultural land management practices have modified the kangaroo's natural rangeland beyond what they evolved to cope with' - So what can kangaroos cope with? What does Rob mean by 'what they evolved to cope with'? Has Australia's unsustainable colonial farming modified or indeed fenced in the kangaroo's natural homerange?

(Claim 4) 'There is a kangaroo population explosion' - Where is this so-called "explosion" Rob? Is this where Kangaroos have been fenced in to a confined area by barbed wire by our Defence Department - for example on Duntroon's Majura Range? What was the scale of these kangaroo's natural free home range prior to them being fence in? Facts Rob!

Rob's above assertions are without foundation, source or evidence. Thus they are merel baseless, false assertions. Perhaps Rob has fabricated them from undisclosed ulterior self-motivation. Rob's inference that farming has caused Kangaroo numbers to explode must be rejected as absurd.

Rob should consider the following qualified assessment of the plight of macroped reality across Australia: World Wildlife Fund (WWF)"has identified 83 species of macropods, of which nine have become extinct since European settlement and 28 are threatened. The main threats to macropods in Australia are habitat loss, altered fire regimes, introduced predators and now climate change. These are the main drivers of decline affecting many mammals in Australia and have resulted in this continent having the worst rate of mammal extinctions worldwide.

"Macropods live in a variety of habitat types and, with European settlement, much of this land was cleared of native bush to accommodate agricultural and grazing land. Developing land for human needs reduces the amount of natural space available to wildlife. As natural space diminishes, so does habitat diversity - the great variety of forests, bushlands, grasslands, wetlands and deserts that exist in nature. The result is both a decline in the number of species and even fewer individuals of those populations survive."

For Rob to draw his conclusion of a kangaroo population explosion caused by his above premises, is to make bold falsehoods and baseless circular argument. Perhaps Rob can provide evidence of a kangaroo population explosion where they are free to roam over a natural home range without any fences or modified habitat? As kangaroo native habitat is reduced to islands, those islands get crowded by the survivers. Do we then shoot the survivers because we have forced them into inescapable and desperate congestion. What is the definition of ethnic cleansing? What is the definition of genocide? Sounds like what the Sulhanese did to the Tamils in northeast Sri Lanka last May.

Yes Tiger as always anything that the people who are out there and observe what you don't is labelled as rubbish and baseless, false. There's no point anyone giving you the pros because you see all this through a toilet roll tube and only accept data presented by someone who keeps their wallet full with a study and theory. Do you ever spend any time out in the bush, are you city based ?

Just curious.

In response to 'Tigerquoll's ignorance', I note that you have still failed to argue with the issues raised and are relying solely on ad hominem.
I know of no writer on this forum whose theories are subsidised by anyone. The thing about is that it discusses issues which the professional press won't discuss due to vested and corporate interests. The universities are in the same boat; post grad students don't get corporate scholarships for criticising corporate interests, notably population growth and overdevelopment which both threaten our natural environment, not to mention democracy. Your use of metaphors like 'toilet roll tube' is interesting and makes you sound like a flamer.
Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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Copyright to the author. Please contact sheila [AT] candobetter org or the editor if you wish to make substantial reproduction or republish.

Hi Rob,
Thanks for your polite and considered comments on a highly conflicted subject.
There is an article on this site by John Auty -Red plague Grey Plague - which goes into the records of kangaroo numbers pre-European settlement and finds that the assertion that kangaroos are denser because there is more biomasse doesn't stand up.

Then there is another, "When an earless dragon is like a smoking gun, which I wrote myself, citing data in a thesis by a 'kangaroo authority' Don Fletcher, which contradicts his own pronouncements on what is sustainable and looking at various other completely half-baked 'authorative' statements.

It is quite astonishing really, how unanalytic and unscientific the basis for government policies is in this country..

Sheila N

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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Look im just a layman but if a cocky puts dams or pumps water to areas on his property that historically has no water would this not increase the carrying capacity of both catlle/sheep, roos/wallabies and bridlife. Not scientific but if there is food and no water = no animals add water = more animals???

Red plague Grey Plague, how can you use an old bit of rubbish like that as a scientific truth. Wake up to yourselves and find something important to whinge about. You lot always beat drums about issues and tell people what they should and shouln't do. Just let me see a solution come from one of you just once.

I have published this comment from 'anonymous' because it is an excellent example of unsupported criticism. Red Plague Grey Plague is a scientific article which cites its sources and theory. The anonymous critic calls it 'old bit of rubbish' but is unable to cite or argue a single point.

There is nothing wrong with arguing a point scientifically, but is not the Murdoch or the Fairfax Press or parliament, where you can assert paid-for nonsense repetitively, assured that it will be promoted as gospel.

If the kangaroo 'management' lobby and industry were not assisted by spin merchants and government propaganda in the real-estate expansion economy they could not hold the attention of a group of small children at a magic show.

There are plenty of solutions on these pages, but they don't involve propping up theives and spin merchants.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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