Since 2014, the state government of Victoria, Australia has been experimenting with the use of kangaroo meat as a novel protein in pet food. The meat comes from animals culled under legal wildlife control measures. Recently, the Department of Land, Water and Planning’s Kangaroos Pet Food Trial expanded into four new areas in Western Victoria.
Greater Bendigo, Glenelg, Loddon and West Wimmera shires were added to the trial starting in September of this year.
“The trial has received positive support from participating landowners and the pet food industry, helping to reduce waste by processing more than 30,000 kangaroos for pet food and creating jobs for regional Victoria,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, in a press release.
The Kangaroo Pet Food Trial will continue until March 2018 in a total of 16 local government areas including the four newly added areas.
“This trial was set up to examine whether a viable pet food industry can be established using only kangaroos controlled under Authority to Control Wildlife permits, to reduce the waste associated with this control work,” D’Ambrosio said.
Protecting kangaroos and food safety during the trial
Along with the expansion, a number of other changes are being implemented to improve compliance under the trial, including a tagging system to ensure traceability of kangaroo carcasses from the property where they are controlled through to the pet food processing facility.
The expansion of the trial won’t change the requirement for landholders applying for an Authority to Control Wildlife permit to demonstrate that kangaroos are causing damage to their property.
All participants in the Kangaroo Pet Food Trial must comply with the relevant requirements of the Wildlife Act 1975 and the Meat Industry Act 1993. There are severe penalties for non-compliance with these Acts and the conditions of any authorization.
The trial requires that the Wildlife Act is closely adhered to and that the National Code of Practice for kangaroo control is used by shooters so that any kangaroo controlled is treated humanely. There are penalties for not complying with the code or with the Wildlife Act.