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Gaia launches campaign to ban sale of kangaroo meat
Animal rights organisation Gaia has launched a campaign to urge authorities to ban the sale of kangaroo meat in Belgium. The country is currently the largest importer of the meat for human consumption in the world.
Belgians aren’t eating all that meat: Much of it is being imported for shipping to other countries. But the meat is available in many Belgian supermarkets and butchers that specialise in wild and exotic meats.
The organisation points to the award-winning 2017 documentary Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story by Australian directors Mick McIntyre and Kate McIntyre Clere. The film has sparked controversy and conversation in Australia – and beyond – about the mass slaughter of the iconic animals.
Kangaroos cannot be farmed, so they are shot in the wild. Because they are so fast, they are hunted at night, which means that killing them with one shot is quite difficult. The practice is unregulated and big business, making large-scale suffering of the animals unavoidable, according to Gaia.
“When we think of Australia, we think of kangaroos,” writes Gaia as part of the campaign. “In Europe, we assume that Australians love and respect these mascots. But nothing could be further from the truth: In Australia, the animals are cruelly hunted and slaughtered on a large scale.”
But it can also be dangerous for humans: Animals are gutted and prepared for the market on site by the hunters and transported to markets, often in open-bed trucks. This makes the meat particularly vulnerable to E. coli bacteria and salmonella. The industry routinely applies acetic and lactic acid to the meat to try to minimise the effect on humans.
Russia has banned the meat, as has the US state of California, because of high concentrations of E coli. Some supermarkets in Belgium have also removed the meat from their shelves, including Aldi and Delhaize. The latter officially stopped carrying kangaroo meat just today.
“We’d been thinking about discontinuing it for a while,” Delhaize spokesperson Roel Dekelver told VRT. “It’s not much in demand by our customers. That in combination with the Gaia campaign, which reveals images that we cannot agree with, led to our decision to stop offering kangaroo meat, starting today.”
The Gaia campaign includes a petition to stop the import of the meat to Belgium.