During the extension period, the Victorian Government will develop a regulatory framework, including a Kangaroo Management Plan, to support the sustainable operation of an ongoing kangaroo pet food program in Victoria. The new program will operate from 1 October 2019.
While kangaroos are protected in Victoria, there are situations where kangaroos can cause damage which can negatively affect Victorian farmers, regional communities and biodiversity. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) issues Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCWs) under section 28A of the Wildlife Act 1975 for the control of kangaroos where they are demonstrated to be damaging pasture, crops or other property or impacting on biodiversity values.
Wherever possible, DELWP advocates non-lethal management of kangaroos. Where non-lethal techniques are ineffective or impractical, lethal control may be necessary.
The vast majority of kangaroo carcasses from kangaroos controlled under an ATCW are buried or left onsite to decompose.
The Victorian Government commenced a Kangaroo Pet Food Trial (KPFT) in March 2014 to allow the use of kangaroo carcasses resulting from authorised control activities to be processed for pet food. It has been extended twice to test its sustainability over a longer period and to see whether changes to compliance, monitoring and education would address issues that arose. It will now operate until 30 September 2019, after which an ongoing kangaroo pet food program will commence.
The further extension of the trial will not change the requirement for landholders applying for an ATCW to demonstrate that kangaroos are causing damage to their property. The trial is not for the purposes of population control and kangaroos are not harvested under the trial specifically for pet food.
All participants in the trial must adhere to the Wildlife Act 1975. Participating professional shooters are also required to adhere to strict conditions consistent with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos to ensure that kangaroos are controlled humanely. There are severe penalties for non-compliance with the Act and the conditions.
Establishment of new kangaroo pet food program
An evaluation of the trial has demonstrated that the risks to the sustainability of kangaroo populations that are associated with commercial processing of carcasses cannot be adequately managed within the ATCW system. The current system is not the appropriate mechanism for kangaroo processing in the long term. However, the Victorian Government recognises the benefits that allowing kangaroos to be processed for pet food can bring to rural and regional communities.
The extension of the trial to 30 September 2019 will provide continuity to current participants of the KPFT while arrangements for the new program are established.
The new regulatory framework and Kangaroo Management Plan will establish kangaroo harvesting zones and set appropriate annual quotas for each zone, based on information gained from recent statewide kangaroo population surveys, to ensure Victoria's kangaroo population is managed sustainably under the pet food program.
The new framework will include safe guards to ensure that harvesting is sustainable, animal welfare requirements are met and stronger compliance and enforcement requirements are in place.
Unlike the KPFT, the new framework will operate independently of the ATCW system. Landholders will still be able to apply for ATCWs to control kangaroos on their own property, however, these carcasses will not be processed under the new system.
Further information about this program will be provided as its development progresses.
The evaluation of the trial considered a range of data collected during the trial. This included information on numbers of kangaroos permitted for control, numbers of kangaroos processed, compliance with the requirements of the ATCW system and the trial, a cost benefit analysis, and feedback from landholders, shooters and processors.
The evaluation identified some positive outcomes of the trial, but it also highlighted key risks associated with allowing commercial use of kangaroos.
The evaluation found that it is financially and environmentally unsustainable to continue the trial under its current model linked to the ATCW system.
The evaluation also identified an increase in the number of kangaroos approved for control in trial areas, which is a key risk associated with introducing financial incentives into the ATCW system.
The conclusion of the evaluation was that design and compliance options available under the trial model did not effectively manage the risks associated with commercialising the control of kangaroos under ATCWs.
More information on the findings of the evaluation can be found in the evaluation report:
Landholders in the following 16 LGAs are eligible to participate in the trial:
LGAs in North East Victoria:
- Greater Bendigo
LGAs in Western Victoria:
- Northern Grampians
- Southern Grampians
- West Wimmera
KPFT fact sheets
For an overview of the trial:
Information for landholders:
Information for professional shooters:
Information for pet meat processing facilities:
KPFT ATCW application form
Export of kangaroo skins
On the 1st February 2018, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy, approved DELWP’s Kangaroo Pet Food Trial Developmental Wildlife Trade Operation Plan as a developmental wildlife trade operation and as an existing stocks wildlife trade operation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. These approvals enable participating pet meat processors to export kangaroo skins collected under the trial overseas.
The current approval expires on 31 March 2019. Processors may continue to export skins of kangaroos that were controlled on or prior to 31 March 2019. Skins from kangaroos controlled from 1 April 2019 cannot be exported during the extension period.
Arrangements for the export of skins under the new program will be considered during the development of the program.
Victoria’s first kangaroo population survey was conducted in September 2017, and was repeated in 2018 to track population trends. Further information on the kangaroo survey can be found on the Our Wildlife – Kangaroos page.
Page last updated: 02/04/19