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Joeys are decapitated, clubbed as byproduct of commercial kangaroo hunting industry

April 24, 2009 |  9:52 pm

Kangaroo A spokesperson for the Australian Society for Kangaroos estimates that hundreds of thousands of kangaroo joeys are killed -- many by decapitation or clubbing -- each year as a result of commercial kangaroo hunting in Australia.  And with a large portion of the state of New South Wales being opened up to commercial hunting, Australian animal advocates fear it's about to get worse.

"Shooters will be able to kill 150,000 kangaroos in the Central West -- say a third are females and of them, say, half have a joey, that's 25,000 joeys decapitated, bashed or shot each year," Nikki Sutterby of the kangaroo protection group told Australia's Daily Telegraph

Australia's federal government and the regional New South Wales government have rejected alternate methods to decapitation, clubbing or shooting, the recommended means of dispatching the orphaned joeys that are left behind when their mothers are killed by commercial hunters. 

Hairless joeys found in their mothers' pouches must be decapitated or bludgeoned to death, the Daily Telegraph reports.  Older joeys are to be bludgeoned or shot. 

From the Daily Telegraph:

A NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) spokesman admitted ... rescuing orphaned joeys would overwhelm animal welfare groups.

The spokesman said the quota for the shooting zone would be 150,000 eastern grey kangaroos annually -- a "sustainable 15 per cent" of the onemillion eastern greys in the area.

Sutterby and other animal advocates don't buy the government's statements that the methods of killing orphaned joeys are the only alternatives to allowing them to die of starvation, dehydration or predation. "They don't want to allow joeys to be rescued because it would expose the dirty secrets of the industry," Sutterby said.

The RSPCA, an Australian animal welfare organization, reluctantly accepts clubbing and decapitation as methods of killing joeys after making several investigations into commercial kangaroo hunting, according to the Daily Telegraph.  The commmercial hunters supply kangaroo meat that's used for both human consumption and pet food, as well as kangaroo leather used by several prominent shoe companies.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Rob Griffith/Associated Press

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