Nigel Broadhurst of Iceland wrote to the paper defending his business for selling kangaroo meat (Letters, March 3)) in response to a letter by a concerned local reader, Anna Reeves.
However, his defence shows a shocking lack of understanding about how kangaroo meat is produced.
He is right that kangaroos are free-range animals – in other words, they are not farmed and truly wild.
However, it is bizarre that he is saying that Iceland would never allow the kind of cruelty that Ms. Reeves’ letter described.
The problem is that cruelty is inherent to the production of this so-called ‘exotic meat’.
Most female kangaroos will have a baby joey in pouch and an adolescent at foot. Neither of these young are used by the industry and are simply dumped. The Australian government’s own code of practice says that baby joeys must be killed after their mothers are shot – either by decapitation or braining the animal. The older young is meant to be shot, but many escape and die of predation. This isn’t a small problem; Sydney University estimates nearly a million joeys die this way each year. Popularising kangaroo meat, as Iceland have done, will inevitably mean more dead babies.
Far from exploding, populations of kangaroos in some areas of Australia have plummeted and have dropped by half in most areas of Queensland in the last year alone.
If Iceland are serious about being an ethical retailer they will drop kangaroo meat and stop treating the world’s wildlife as a larder.
Readers should help the world’s wildlife by not buying novelty ‘exotic meats’ and think about saving even more animals by going vegan or moving in that direction.