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All supermarkets stop sale of kangaroo meat as Australian fires rage on

18:06 17/01/2020

All of Belgium’s supermarket groups have decided to stop selling kangaroo meat. Once current stocks are sold, it will disappear from all of the chains.

Following discussions with animal rights group Gaia, the supermarkets decided to stop selling the meat based on the situation in Australia. While kangaroos are dying by the thousands in the continent’s out-of-control wildfires, hunters continue to shoot them for the export market.

According to Gaia, the Australian government has not put limits on the number of kangaroos that can be hunted this year, with the planned number totalling six million. “Delhaize, Colruyt, Aldi and Lidl had already removed kangaroo meat from their shelves,” said Ann De Greef of Gaia. “Over the last few days, we have been able to convince the rest of the supermarkets to do the same.” Those include Carrefour, Makro, Cora, Match and Spar.

Belgium is the greatest importer of kangaroo meat in the world as much meat is brought through the country before moving on to other European destinations. In 2016, the last year for which figures are available, Belgium imported more than 632 tons of kangaroo meat, which works out to 180,000 kangaroos.

Hunting methods also questioned

While the fires are temporary, the manner in which the kangaroos are hunted remains. They are shot in the wild at night, leading to many animals being maimed and left to die. They are also more at risk of E. coli bacteria than other kinds of meat.

Whether the supermarket ban will remain after the wildfires is unclear, but Gaia has called on federal economy minister Nathalie Muylle to ban the import of the meat outright. “She says that the EU must make that decision, but that is nonsense,” says De Greef. “Belgium put a ban on dog and cat fur in 2006 and on seal pelts in 2008.”

As the wildfires in Australia rage on, it is estimated that millions of animals have already died and that millions more will die from the lack of food and water. WWF Belgium reports having raised €260,000 in one week for relief efforts.

“People are shocked by the photos that they are seeing,” Koen Stuyck of WWF told Radio 2. “We have received many donations and calls from people with questions. We have very rarely raised so much money in so short a period of time.”

The money will go to shelters for wounded animals as well as to replanting once the fires are under control.

Photo: ©Matthew Abbott/WWF-Australia/Panos

Written by Lisa Bradshaw