Viva! claims another victory in our long standing campaign against the sale of kangaroo meat in British supermarkets, as frozen food giants Iceland finally pull the product from their shelves.
Since 2015 we’ve sent more than 5,000 postcards and online messages to the supermarket chain’s head office after a national weekend of action for Mother’s Day, which included a funeral procession for wildlife led by Viva! founder and director, Juliet Gellatley, through a Bristol superstore.
Iceland responded to our concerns regarding the brutality of night shoots, in which hundreds of thousands of pouch young babies (joeys) are ripped from their dying mothers and decapitated or smashed round the head, by claiming that they only source meat from male kangaroos. Our sources in Australia however maintain that this would be impossible to verify given that the animals are hunted at night, from the back of trucks as they flee across the vast outback. Mesmerised by powerful search lights, the animals are supposedly shot in the head but many, both male and female, are in fact miss-shot and die a slow, agonising death.
It’s a common misconception that kangaroos are farmed. They are completely wild, meaning that their population can fluctuate massively – and can be especially impacted by factors difficult to predict, such as drought (which is only expected to worsen because of climate change) and disease.
Regardless of the very significant welfare issues surrounding the violent nature of kangaroo hunts there remains the human health implications, conservation concerns and other related welfare issues such as the horrendous injuries a substantial number of the animals escape with.
Experts from both the UK and Australia have warned consumers that the meat ‘could be riddled with pathogens’ and independent testing five years ago found dangerously high levels of Salmonella and E.coli. In 2014, dog 'treats' made from kangaroo meat were withdrawn because of Salmonella contamination.
We’ve been actively campaigning for kangaroos since the late 1990s and achieved numerous successes with Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco all dropping the product line. With confirmation from Iceland’s Director of Corporate Affairs confirming the removal of kangaroo meat nationwide we celebrate another victory. Only Lidl, the German owned discount chain, has failed to take note of consumer concerns about the meat and remain the only major supermarket in the UK continuing to sell it.
“We are delighted that Iceland have taken kangaroo meat off their shelves after listening to Viva! and their customer’s concerns. What was being promoted as a little bit of fun to British consumers hid the brutal reality that the kangaroo trade drives the largest massacre of land based wild animals in the world today. We are committed to supporting Australian wildlife groups to end this repugnant, merciless and thuggish trade.” – Viva! founder and director, Juliet Gellatley