Australia launches kangaroo harvest program with meat as pet food

Kangaroos have been shot dead and their meat as pet food as part of a new "harvest program" to help control the rise in marsupials, the state of Victoria has said.

Victoria's Minister of Agriculture, Jacqueline Simms, said on Tuesday that seven "harvest areas" had been identified in the state, covering areas with large numbers of kangaroos.

A specific number of kangaroos, identified by the government based on state kangaroo surveys, will be killed by WFP-certified fishermen.

"The program balances the need to keep the kangaroo population at healthy levels with ensuring that farmers are not harmed by kangaroos that can devour crops, destroy property and compete livestock for feed and water," Sims said in a statement.

Kangaroo meat will be processed and served as pet food through licensed companies, "making it easier for farmers, reducing waste and supporting community jobs," the ministry said.

The new program replaces a five-year pilot program.

The ministry said farmers and landowners would be able to continue killing kangaroos within their own property, but the processing of these animals would not be allowed under the new harvest program.

The community is divided over the shooting of kangaroos and their meat as pet food, with many farmers supporting the initiative, while animal rights activists have criticized this "harsh action."

Last March, the Australian Kangaroo Society said one million kangaroos had been killed since the pet food trial began in 2014, while some shooters killed more animals than profitable.


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