The commercial kangaroo industry continues to perpetuate cruelty towards kangaroos despite the National Code of Practice for the Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies (herein referred to as the Code). The recent changes made to the Code directly benefit the commercial kangaroo industry by weakening the standards and welfare protections that were available under the previous 2008 Code of Practice, especially in relation to the targeting of female kangaroos with obvious pouch young.
These changes included:
· A significant weakening of the standard of accuracy for shooting kangaroos, with the replacement of the requirement that shooters aim for the brain with the less rigorous requirement that shooters aim for the head;
· A significant weakening of the protections for both female kangaroos and their dependent young with the removal of the clear direction in the 2008 Code that hooters avoid targeting female kangaroos with obvious dependent pouch young;
· The introduction of a definition and assessment of “sentience” in unfurred pouch young which does not reflect major advances in the science and understanding of sentience and its application to neurologically immature, foetal and neonatal animals over the last 10- 15 years;
· The endorsement of physical methods of killing pouch young including cervical dislocation, decapitation and blunt force trauma in the face of clear scientific evidence and warnings in the AVMA Guidelines (2013) that each of these methods has significant potential to be inhumane.
IKPA has serious concerns that the weakening of these welfare protections will result in increases in the use of cruel and inhumane treatment of both adult and dependent young kangaroos in an industry that already has a poor history and reputation on issues relating to animal welfare.