Changes to kangaroo management regulations came into force today for farmers in NSW with easier licensing rules and higher limits on numbers that can be culled, related to the property size.
Farmers can apply for licences over the phone or via email, to cull kangaroos, instead of having to visit a National Parks and Wildlife Service office in person and more shooters will be able to operate on a property under the same licence.
Roo carcasses will no longer need to be tagged and left in the paddock and landholders will be able to use the carcass for a range of non-commercial purposes such as bait meat. There will also be increased limits on the number of kangaroos that may be culled, based on property size. Previous and current licence holders can apply for licences over the phone.
The new limits for eastern grey, western grey and red kangaroos under the “licence to harm” rules are: 50 kangaroos from 1-40ha, 100 roos from 41 to 100ha, 250 roos for 101 to 500ha, 500 roos for 501-5000ha and 1000 roos for 5001ha and more.
The main points are:
- Increased limits on the number of kangaroos that may be culled, based on property size.
- Previous and current licence holders can apply for licences over the phone.
- More shooters may operate under each licence, and shooter details are provided to National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) after culling operations, rather than with the licence application.
- Remove use of carcass tags and ‘shoot and let lie’ licence condition to reduce biosecurity risks.
- Allow landholders and shooters to use carcasses for non-commercial purposes
Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said the changes gave farmers more power to protect their properties, especially as they manage the challenging conditions. These changes will also maintain animal welfare standards and ecologically sustainable kangaroo populations, he said.
“Kangaroos around local food and water sources are putting significant pressure on farms - we must start to turn that around as soon as possible,” Mr Blair said.
“Many farmers are taking livestock off their paddocks, only to then see kangaroos move in and take whatever is left – this is the last thing any farmer needs at the moment.
“If we don’t manage this situation we will start to see tens of thousands of kangaroos starving and suffering ultimately leading to a major animal welfare crisis.
“I know both farmers and our regional communities are under immense pressure right now but I hope these changes are another way the NSW Government can assist in reducing some of the burden of drought.”
The Government release said: “In addition, the NSW Government has announced extensions to the commercial kangaroo harvest zones in South East NSW. This is expected to occur during 2019. These changes will reduce biosecurity risks, incentivise experienced shooters to support landholders in reducing numbers, and enable NSW to move towards the commercial culling quotas set by the Commonwealth Government.”
A large and comprehensive coverage of the changes is available for viewing at the Western Local Land Services website.
On the website it details a new register for commercial harvesters.
“Local Land Services is establishing a register of licensed commercial harvesters, professional shooters and experienced volunteer shooters who are willing to assist landholders to harm kangaroos.
“Landholders who wish to obtain contact details of a shooter in their region can contact their nearest Local Land Services office for more information. Local Land Services will advise licensed commercial harvesters, professional shooters and experienced volunteer shooters of the opportunity to be included on this register and invite them to apply to be included.
“The register will be progressively added to over time as shooters contact Local Land Services and submit their details. Find out more about the register.”
Professor Michael Archer is from the PANGEA Research Center at the University of New South Wales said “the flip side of this ‘problem’ — as we watch cattle and sheep struggling to survive, having to be nursemaided to survive by struggling graziers, we almost invariably see photos of kangaroos hopping healthily in the background”.
“Kangaroos use a fraction of the water (1.5 Litres/day vs 11 L for sheep and goats, and 80 for cattle) and food (1/3rd the volume of food/kg body weight that is needed by cattle and sheep) needed by introduced herbivores,” he said. “They produce some of the healthiest meat humans can eat (no mad kangaroo disease). They don’t damage the land and are, overall, a valuable resource that should be part of the grazier’s total strategy for financial viability.
“With more than 25 million years of adaptation to Australia’s challenging climate and changing environments, we should be valuing them as a sustainably harvestable resource that can restore environmental and economic resilience to rural/regional Australia.
“The current proposition to just shoot them and leave the carcasses on the ground is not the answer. The answer is to restructure the way rural graziers use the natural resources of Australia rather than continuing to contribute to the land degradation.”
Dr George Wilson is an Honorary Professor at the Fenner School of Environment & Society said "the kangaroo management program doesn't address the key issue”.
“Millions of kangaroos out there dying of starvation at the moment because populations have been allowed to grow to unsustainable levels,” he said.
“The only way to address the problem was to prevent population is growing through the mechanism of a strong kangaroo industry. Industry is collapsing due to the misguided activities of animal preservationists. Their activities have led to real animal welfare problems on a vast scale and a huge waste of a valuable resource.
“I outlined these matters in a paper to the Australian Veterinary Association in Brisbane earlier in the year."