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Kangaroos on the menu as Vic numbers boom

One of Australia’s most iconic animals is on the verge of becoming a wildlife pest in Victoria, which means they are now destined for the dinner plate.

The kangaroo, which appears on the national coat of arms, has had such a population boom in the state that the Victorian government will allow the native marsupial to be culled for human consumption.

Victoria’s kangaroo population has jumped to almost two million since 2018, an increase of nearly 40 per cent to levels which have prompted concerns that they could become a pest animal.

In response, the state government has hiked its 2021 quota for the kangaroo harvest by 37,780, to a total of 95,680.

Victoria’s Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas says if there are too many wild kangaroos, they compete with livestock for food.

“It’s important that kangaroo numbers are sustainably managed in Victoria to reduce impacts on landholders,” she said.

But animal rights group PETA says harvesting the meat for human consumption could put people’s health at risk.

“To bolster this cruel trade while we are still battling a deadly virus born of the consumption of wild animals is unconscionable,” said PETA spokesperson Emily Rice.

Meat from Victoria’s wild kangaroos has previously only been sold for pet food.

The state currently imports kangaroo meat for human consumption from South Australia and NSW.

Kangaroo meat is regarded as an environmentally friendly source of protein, due to the comparatively low carbon emissions from its production.

The state government says the meat will be harvested by professional shooters who meet strict health and safety accreditations, and abide by a national code of practice.

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