Why does Australia have a capital area

Australia's kangaroos are becoming dog food

Given a kangaroo plague, the state of Victoria has released the hunt for the Australian landmark animals for the purpose of animal feed in most of its area. Kangaroos have always been eaten in Australia.

In view of an enormous plague of kangaroos, the heraldic animals of Australia may in future also be processed into animal feed with government permission. The state of Victoria in the south-east of the continent identified seven regions with a particularly high number of kangaroos as appropriate hunting areas for this purpose; the regions make up the majority of the state (land area approx. 227,000 square kilometers, approx. 6.6 million inhabitants, capital Melbourne).

According to estimates, there are around 35 to more than 50 million kangaroos in the narrower sense of the word, including the smaller version of the "wallabies"; there are also very small, kangaroo-like animals such as tree and rabbit kangaroos and quokkas On the mainland, kangaroos only live on nearby islands, in the island state of Tasmania in the south of the continent and on New Guinea in the north.

For Victoria, the "Roo" number ("Roo" is the Australian abbreviated version of Kangaroo / Kangoroo) was recently estimated to be at least 1.4 million, which is estimated to be very conservative or understated, compared to the 45 million mentioned above This is very little in the whole country - but Victoria is one of the smallest states in Australia in terms of area: only Tasmania and the federal capital area Canberra, the enclave in the state of New South Wales, are smaller. The latter is the next largest state with around 800,000 km2 Land area three and a half times the size of Victoria.

The Ministry of Agriculture in Melbourne justified the program by stating that the number of kangaroos had to be brought to a healthy level: the animals are indigenous, but "the farmers must be sure that they are not overrun by kangaroos that eat grain, other animals Disputing water and food and damaging terrain and objects such as fences. "

In addition, traffic accidents with the animals often happen, especially at night, actually at a time when it is better not to drive a car in the country and especially in the outback. Collisions with large kangaroos can also be dangerous for the occupants. You often see cars with "Roo-Bars" on the front, these are massive metal protective bars, in German they are known as "Hirschfänger" and "Kuhfänger".

Carcasses line the country roads

Drivers down under have to reckon with kangaroos on a daily basis, of course outside of the cities, sometimes in zones on the outskirts.

The author of these lines remembers a very long drive through Australia in the 1990s, it was just early summer there. The number of kangaroo carcasses on and along the streets was horrific in places. It was worst on a stretch of around 1140 kilometers between the mining town of Mount Isa in the bone-dry west of Queensland and the town of Blackwater in a more forested, subtropical region further east on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. For each of these 1,140 kilometers, there were an estimated two to five carcasses, in some places significantly more, and sometimes trucks apparently caught several animals at once. Some bodies still gave off a strong odor of decay in the heat, which penetrated through the open window.

The dear animals can get very uncomfortable

By the way, kangaroos and wallabies that have gotten used to people and have lost their fear of it can also become very unpleasant, even dangerous: For example, if they smell food in people, they like to force their way around and try to get the food aggressively and with force . The author was once on a beach in the south of New South Wales called Pebbly Beach, which is known for its tame wallaby colony, from some of the initially friendly, but sometimes up to chest-high animals massively harassed and bloodily scratched their arms because they Sniffed something edible in his trouser pockets and wanted to grab it.

In the state of Victoria, a kill program with the purpose of animal feed production had been tested since 2014. According to the Australian Society for Kangaroos, more than one million animals were shot in the course of this "Kangoroo Pet Food Trial". This is now being continued as the "Kangaroo Harvesting Program" and will initially allow 14,090 kangaroos of the Eastern Gray and Western subtypes to be killed by the end of the year Gray, the equivalent of around 155 per day from October 1st.

Only approved hunters can participate

Hunting is only permitted by officially approved shooters and with the consent of the landowner. The hunted animals have to be handed in at certain collection points. So far, three companies in Victoria have initially had a license to process them into pet food for (primarily) dogs and cats.

The shooting quota is to be redefined every twelve months, taking into account the current situation and population development. This allows the landowners to regulate the kangaroo populations on their lands themselves and also generate economic benefits for the entire state. The Victorian government is also in the process of obtaining permission from the federal government in Canberra to export kangaroo hides and pelts outside of Australia.

Kangaroos have always been hunted for human consumption practically everywhere in Australia, by the indigenous Aborigines as well as by the white settlers. This also happens at night when the animals are more active, then hunters drive off with off-road vehicles, and night vision devices are sometimes used.

A Carinthian in the kangaroo business

At the beginning of the 1990s in the reddish outback of South Australia near the desert nest Marree (today perhaps 150 inhabitants) I saw such a hunt on the edge. At dusk, a dozen cars with hunters drove off and disappeared into the desert. No gunshots could be heard, but early the next morning the host took me to a large refrigerated container, where the night's income was hanging on hooks from the ceiling: about 50 kangaroo bodies, heads and forelegs severed, it smelled bad of fat, blood and cold meat.

The man who ran this temporary depot for the hunters had emigrated to Australia as a construction worker from Klagenfurt-Viktring to Australia in the late 1960s or early 1970s and ended up stranded in the hot outback. He drank hard, but unfortunately I've forgotten his name by now.

In some states, the production of animal feed from kangaroos was previously allowed, namely in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria until the early 1990s. The meat, which in structure and taste is reminiscent of beef with game elements, is available in many supermarkets. It is very high in protein, low in fat and is considered particularly healthy, but is eaten significantly less in Australia than beef, lamb and chicken, for example.

The increased inhibition to eat

This is due to the fact that from the beginning of the 20th century the growing numbers of conventional farm animals dampened the need for domestic game, but also because of the appearance of the kangaroos, which people commonly see as "sweet", "cute" and so on, which is why the inhibition threshold to eat them is increased.

In any case, you can simply grill the meat (but it shouldn't be cooked through, otherwise it will be tough), quickly sear it for wok dishes or use it minced. A classic dish that is rarely found today is or was a stew made from diced kangaroo meat, ham or bacon and vegetables that you let simmer for a few hours.

Since 1959 at the latest, kangaroo meat has also been exported, especially to Europe and now increasingly to China. Australian pubs in London, Munich or Vienna not only get Aussie beer, Bundaberg rum and burger with a slice of beetroot in them, but also roo steaks (and / or emu and crocodile). In some places, because of this, resistance from animal rights activists arose. For example in Great Britain, where several supermarket chains withdrew frozen kangaroo steaks from their programs in 2018 and in previous years because of "negative feedback" from customers.

"Kangatarianism" as a form of nutrition

A few years ago, a new form of diet called "Kangatarianism" appeared in Australia. All types of meat are avoided - with the exception of kangaroos. This is due, for example, to the fact that no organized animal husbandry is involved, which requires land, animal feed and other resources ; that kangaroos produce fewer greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane) than cattle, pigs and sheep; that the animals grow up in a natural environment with a natural diet and are usually killed quickly and without much stress; and that the decimation of the populations from the beginning anyway mentioned reasons is necessary.

(WG / APA)