1st March 2006
Beckham?s Mercy Dash For Kangaroos May Be Too Late
David Beckham?s recent decision to dump his Adidas kangaroo-leather football boots in favour of synthetic ones may have come too late for the kangaroos, says the animal group, Viva! Their three-year long campaign to educate the England and Real Madrid mid-fielder has been credited for Beckham?s change of heart.
Latest official figures from the Australian Government* show that populations of those species killed commercially for meat and leather have collapsed. Eastern Greys have crashed by 63 per cent in just four years, Red kangaroo numbers are down by 55 per cent and Wallaroos (Euros) by 50 per cent.
Numbers of Western Grey kangaroos, the least abundant species, have also continued to decline and are down by 23 per cent.
Welfare groups have been warning for some time that kangaroos are under severe pressure from drought and commercial killing and the annual slaughter should be ended. The Government?s response has been to keep the commercially-driven kill going at current levels ? around four million animals a year. Working in close co-operation with Australian animal welfare groups and wildlife experts, Viva! maintains that such a dramatic decline in numbers could lead to extinction for some species.
Red kangaroo numbers have fallen from 17.5 million to under eight million, Eastern Greys have dropped from nearly 30 million to under 11 million and Wallaroos are down from nearly seven million to just over three million and there are just over two and half million Western Greys left. It means there are now almost 33 million kangaroos fewer in the areas used for commercial hunting than just four years ago ? a drop of over 57 per cent. Kill tallies do not include the hundreds of thousands of baby ?Joeys?, who are clubbed with iron bars or left to die from exposure or predation in the bush.
The Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia, which represents kangaroo shooters, still maintains that kangaroos are superabundant. Viva !, on the other hand, maintains that everything it predicted is coming to pass. (It was Viva! which persuaded all 1,500 large supermarkets in Britain to dump kangaroo meat and has run a vigorous campaign against Adidas?s use of kangaroo skin for football boots.)
?The collapse in kangaroo numbers was inevitable once a combination of rampant exploitation and drought came together,? says Justin Kerswell, Viva! campaigner. ?The world?s largest wildlife massacre carries on regardless, supposedly justified by so-called ?scientific management? programmes in precisely the same way that fishing has been managed ? and we all know what?s happened to fish stocks! Everything we have warned against is coming to pass. Beckham hanging up his ?roo boots is an important start but we call on Adidas, the world?s biggest users of kangaroo skin, to drag itself into the 21st century and put animals and ecology before profit.
To the public we say ? don?t buy anything that comes from a kangaroo.?
For further information contact Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or email email@example.com. Or see http://www.savethekangaroo.com.
Notes for Editors: Images of kangaroos and kangaroo shooting are available from Viva!.
* Wildlife Trade Assessments, Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage