I am horrified to hear that you are now selling kangaroo meat. It is this trade which helps drive what is currently the biggest massacre of land animals on the planet.
5.4 million kangaroos were earmarked for slaughter in 2012 (a massive increase of 1.5 million from last year). This doesn’t include the baby kangaroos (joeys) that are not even used by the meat and leather industries, but are simply thrown away. An adult female kangaroo will usually have two youngsters with her: a baby kangaroo in pouch and an adolescent at foot. This slaughter is supposedly governed by guidelines. However, these guidelines advocate pulling baby joeys from their dying mother’s pouch and smashing them around the head and/or decapitating them. The adolescents are meant to be shot, but many will escape the carnage and die of predation from other wild animals. For almost every female kangaroo killed to fill your freezers with kangaroo meat, two other lives will be snuffed out. Around a million baby kangaroos die each year because of the trade in kangaroo parts. There can be no justification for this.
It is also impossible to truly assess the welfare of the adults that are shot, as this is invariably done at night in the Outback. Away from the glare of public scrutiny, millions are shot every year – and the Australian RSPCA has estimated that around 100,000 adults are not killed humanely and some may temporarily survive with horrific wounds, such as having their jaws shot off.
All other UK supermarkets have pledged not to sell kangaroo meat and removed it from their shelves over a decade ago. Popularising the meat, as you are doing, will simply lead to more bloodshed and drive even greater numbers of baby kangaroos to be killed.
Please follow the lead of other major businesses in the UK and pledge not to sell kangaroo meat. Until this happens, I will boycott your stores and encourage and of my friends and family to do likewise.
[Your name and address]”
Response to Lidl reply
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Thank you for taking the time to write back to me. However, your justifications for selling kangaroo meat simply don’t wash.
Most significantly your reply does not even address the killing of baby joeys and adolescent kangaroos. How can you justify this? I really can’t see that you can. Most female kangaroos have an adolescent at foot and an in-pouch young with them. You are correct that the hunting and killing of kangaroos is supposedly governed by a code, but this same code advises that pouch young are taken from their dying mothers and smashed about the head until dead and/or decapitated. Adolescents are meant to be shot through the heart or the head, but the reality is that most will have fled after their mother has been shot. Without the protection of their mothers, these adolescents cannot survive and may either starve or face a terrifying and lonely death of predation from other wild animals.
Kangaroos are shot at night, so I fail to see how a gestating female could be identified. Research has shown that up to a million joeys will die because of the trade each year – and that is only likely to increase as the quota has increased significantly this year.
In other words, to fill Lidl’s freezers with this ‘novelty meat’ young kangaroos and baby joeys will almost certainly die –their bodies simply thrown away. Again, how can Lidl justify becoming a driving force in this trade when no other supermarket in Britain has sold kangaroo meat for over a decade? No other supermarket sells it because they know they cannot justify the pointless deaths of these baby wild animals.
The killing of kangaroos is not monitored by vets, as your letter seems to suggest. They are shot away from prying eyes in the vast Outback. Their carcasses may be checked afterwards, but a report by the Australian RSPCA found that at least 100,000 were not shot ‘cleanly’, with many horrifically maimed and not killed outright.
It is also bizarre that you are trying to justify kangaroo as a ‘green’ meat. Shooters criss-cross the fragile Outback in trucks, churning up the top soil. The meat then has to be transported and chilled – and then exported to the other side of the world to be in Lidl’s British stores. Not very green at all.
Kangaroos are an integral part of Australia's environment. They have evolved to live in harmony with the fragile landscape and often hostile weather conditions. Destruction of the environment comes from 160 million hard-hoofed sheep and cattle.
It is also ludicrous to say that kangaroos are in plague proportions. Since 2001 (compared to 2011) there has been an overall drop of 23,126,349 kangaroos (according to the Australian Government’s own figures) in the areas where they are hunted. Far from supporting the kangaroo industry, Aboriginal elders have recently formed an alliance and announced their intention to bring a constitutional law challenge against Australia’s kangaroo industry. Many Australians will not eat kangaroo – in fact, until recent times it was only used for ‘pet food’.
As for being healthy to eat, according to a former NSW Chief Food Inspector, Dr Desmond Sibraa, the kangaroo meat industry's failure to adhere to hygiene regulations is placing public health at risk. Dangerous levels of salmonella and E.coli have been found in kangaroo meat destined for human consumption, backing up claims that the industry is failing to adhere to the Australian standard which determines the conditions under which the animals are hunted, transported and stored. Indeed, kangaroo meat continues to be banned in Russia over concerns for human health.
It doesn’t matter how you paint it, the kangaroo industry in Australia is a cruel and bloody one. Lidl must end its association with it immediately. Until such time I will boycott your stores and encourage everyone I know to do likewise.