THE state government is worried about the number of kangaroos being shot as part of a trial to use the meat for pet food, according to a report obtained under freedom of information.
The kangaroo pet food trial started in March 2014 as a way to ensure kangaroo carcasses could be put to use, rather just being left to decompose on farms.
Greater Bendigo and Loddon municipality areas were among those to take part in the trial, due to end on March 31.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning report, obtained this week by Australian Society for Kangaroos, found the trial increased the number of kangaroos being killed, but was supported by most landowners and processors.
It also exposed that the 80 shooters employed in the trial had killed 1 million kangaroos since 2014, some purely to make profits rather than control waste.
“Numbers of kangaroos approval for control have risen sharply in trial areas, particularly in the last two years,” the report stated.
“This may not only compromise the aim of reducing waste, but could also threatened the sustainability of kangaroo populations in future years if an expectation of a steady supply of carcasses was created.”
The concern was shooters were exaggerating the kangaroo problem and encouraging landowners to apply for higher numbers of kangaroo kills than needed.
The report also included unconfirmed reports from wildlife officers of “shooters refusing to service properties because they were inconveniently located, logistically difficult to access or held authorisation for too few kangaroos”.
“The introduction of a commercial element can compromise the integrity of the system,” it stated.
If the program was to continue after the end of the month, DELWP recommended it be better monitored by ensuring shooters are licensed and regulated, and that it was mandatory to report intended shooting activity.
Last year, the state government extended the trial to the end of March this year.
At the time, Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the extension would provide certainty to the industry and provide time to conduct further assessment of the program.
“The extension will give us time to learn more about what’s working and what isn’t," she said.
The state government has yet to confirm if the trial will continue beyond March 31.
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