Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Cruel kangaroo meat dropped from final major UK stockist

Release date: 
Thursday, May 21, 2009

A SECOND leading cash and carry company have dropped the sale of kangaroo meat due to concerns over how the animals are killed in the wild.

Makro [url]http://www.makro.co.uk[/url] has been congratulated by Europe's largest campaigning vegetarian organisation, Viva! for taking the ethical decision to drop the meat, following the footsteps of fellow cash and carry company Booker, who dropped kangaroo meat last year after talks with the group.

The decision means that kangaroo meat is not available from any UK cash and carry firm.*

Viva! has been in talks with Makro since the end of last year, providing compelling evidence of the cruelty and unsustainable nature inherent in the so-called "exotic meats' trade. This included a new report from the Australian Society for Kangaroos "Decimation of an Icon', which shows several species of kangaroo shot in the wild for meat and leather are on the brink of extinction in Australia.

Makro, who have 33 cash and carry stores across the UK, had been the only major retailer in Britain selling kangaroo meat.

Viva! maintained that an increase in the trade in kangaroo meat in Britain will put further pressure on wild populations in Australia. More than three million animals are still allowed to be slaughtered every year despite the worst drought in living memory and the result is a collapse of kangaroo populations.**

In a letter to Viva! confirming the decision, Makro said: "Following your provision of the additional information surrounding management of kangaroos in the wild, we have discussed the detail with our suppliers. In consideration of all of the above factors, we have taken the decision to remove from sale kangaroo meat until we are provided with such information from our suppliers that assures us that the management of the animals has been fully reviewed.'

Justin Kerswell, Viva! campaigns manager says: "We congratulate Makro for taking the ethical decision to remove kangaroo from sale. It is fantastic that this so-called "exotic meat' cannot now be purchased from any major cash and carry firm in this country. However, we hope this move is permanent. Kangaroos cannot be farmed, they are shot at night in the outback away from the scrutiny of the public. Useless to the industry, baby joeys are pulled from their dead mother's pouch and have their heads literally bashed in. Populations have plummeted, yet the killing continues. No review of this bloody industry will be able to make it any less cruel or more sustainable.

"Whilst Makro's decision is to be welcomed, unfortunately, there are still a number of businesses, such as restaurants and pub chains in the UK, who persist in profiting from the death of wildlife and who seem to be oblivious to the fact that 75 per cent of the world's species are in decline or facing extinction. We hope that Makro's lead will give them pause for thought. Wildlife belongs in the wild, not on people's dinner plates.'

For more information about Viva!'s campaign against kangaroo hunting, please call 0117 944 1000 or visit www.savethekangaroo.com.

ENDS

For more information about this media release, please contact Viva! press officer Helen Rossiter (press@viva.org.uk).

Notes to editors

* To our best knowledge
**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. According to official Australian government statistics, the populations of kangaroos in the areas where they are commercially hunted have fallen by 55 per cent since 2001. Because of this drop, new areas have been opened up for hunting kangaroos to keep supplies up from an ever dwindling number of kangaroos " most recently an area in NSW.

According to the Australian Society for Kangaroos, Western Grey, Eastern Grey, Wallaroo and Red Kangaroo populations have plummeted to densities of below five kangaroos per square kilometre " something defined in the Australian government's Murray Darling report as "quasi extinction'. In fact, densities of less than two kangaroos per square kilometre have been identified across 50 to 60 per cent of three states where commercial hunting is allowed.

Their report "Decimation of an Icon' can be viewed online by visiting http://www.kangaroo-protection-coalition.com/kangaroo-extinction.html

National campaigning group Viva! distinguished itself when it persuaded all Britain's 1,500 supermarkets to drop the sale of kangaroo and other "exotic meats'. It has had a long-running campaign against the Adidas use of kangaroo leather in football boot manufacture. The world's largest uses of kangaroo leather, its advertising was headed by David Beckham, who changed from Predator football boots made of kangaroo leather to those from synthetics after an intervention by Viva!.

Viva! is the largest vegetarian and vegan campaigning organisation in Europe. Founder and director Juliet Gellatley was presented with the Australian Wildlife Protection Council award for services to wildlife in 1998.