INTRODUCTION: Australian conservationists are worried at what they see as a new threat to one of the continent's most celebrated species, the kangaroo.
SV Hunter with rifle shooting at night. GV kangaroo being hit and falling over (2 shots)
SV Dead kangaroo being carried by hunter
GV Hunter working on kangaroo corpse beside parked car
SV Baby kangaroo lying on ground alive
GV Hunters working on kangaroo carcasses
SV Live kangaroo lying on ground
GV Hanging kangaroo carcasses
GV Hunter picking up dead kangaroo
GV Truck in unloading bay of meat processing plant
SCU Car and trailer bringing in kangaroo carcasses
GV Sign saying "Meat sold here is not for human consumption" on side of processing plant
SV Trailer-load of carcasses of backed into processing plant
GV Man working on carcasses. GV carcasses being skinned by machine. GV hanging carcasses. GV man unhooking carcasses (4 shots)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
BURSLEM: "Tonight, they'll kill some 40 kangaroos, which is about average. Earlier, wildlife officers have assessed the numbers of kangaroos they consider to be surplus in this area. Tonight's kill is limited by a supply of yellow tags issued to the farmer who owns the property. The shooters can't sell any carcasses not tagged, and that's the reason they carry out this grisly work -- to supply fresh kangaroo meat to a factory that processes it for pet food. They defend their work aggressively, claiming it's for the good of the land -- even for the good of the kangaroos whose numbers must be kept down in this time of drought and sparse vegetation."
"Just after sun-up at meat processing plants like this one at Cobar, the professional shooters turn up with their night's takings. Some who work more distant areas are supplied with mobile chillers to keep their meat fresh. But these are local shooters who can get their meat to the factory before the day warms up. This meat will be used as pet food, and even that is not a major outlet. Very little goes into cans. A survey of major Australian pet food manufacturers has found that only one used kangaroo meat in its prepared products. So, if carefully-controlled harvesting of the kangaroo is to be the answer to over-population problems, there must be markets."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Australian conservationists are worried at what they see as a new threat to one of the continent's most celebrated species, the kangaroo. Hunters have been energetically pursuing the beasts since a U.S. government decision at the end of April lifted a ban on the importation of their hides. The U.S. Department of the Interior said that the ban, imposed at the end of 1974, when drought and widespread slaughter put the kangaroo's survival at risk, had been lifted following a one-year review which determined that the species had reached healthy numbers. But despite the lifting of the ban by one of Australia's main markets for kangaroo products, Australia is taking steps to see the species is not endangered again, as Channel Ten's Ken Burslem reports.