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Kangaroo cull plan welcomed

Victorian farmers and knackery workers have welcomed the trial of commercial processing of culled kangaroos for pet food, as long as the animals are killed humanely.

LAURA GRIFFIN March 26, 2014 4:00am

Culled kangaroos could become pet food .

Victorian farmers and knackery workers have welcomed the trial of commercial processing of culled kangaroos for pet food, as long as the animals are killed humanely.

On Wednesday, Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh announced a tightly controlled two-year trial in 12 local government areas including Mitchell, Murrindindi, Mansfield, Strathbogie, Benalla and Wangaratta and six others in western Victoria, where there have been the highest number of wildlife control applications to cull kangaroos that are damaging pasture, crops, property or biodiversity.

The trial will focus on eastern grey and western grey kangaroos, culled under Authority to Control Wildlife permits, with the aim of reducing waste and providing an alternative disposal option for landowners.

Ken Covington, a truck dispatcher with Country Wide Pet Foods, said although the Stanhope pet meat processor did not process kangaroos, he supported the trial.

‘‘They’re not shooting any more (kangaroos), just making use of the ones they do instead of burying them or letting them rot and harbour diseases,’’ Mr Covington said.

‘‘I think it’s a good idea, as long as they are culled humanely.’’

Despite the trial beginning next Monday, a prominent knackery in Mitchell Shire only found out about it through the media.

VFF president Peter Tuohey said farmers welcomed the lifting of the ban on the commercial processing of kangaroos.

‘‘This comes as a great relief to farmers, who’ve been disheartened to see culled kangaroos going to waste,’’ Mr Tuohey said.

‘‘Up until now farmers, who gained permits to control kangaroos on their properties, had to just bury them. This simply is a waste of a valuable resource.’’

The Victorian Government’s decision to lift the ban comes on the back of its commitment to simplify the process of applying for wildlife control permits.

In January, it announced simplifying the permit process in response to Victoria’s Red Tape Commissioner’s recommendations.

Mr Tuohey said the existing wildlife control permit application process required unnecessary paperwork, such as one farmer who had to fill out 25 pages to get a permit.

Within the trial areas, kangaroos intended for processing must be culled by shooters with approved qualifications, who must be listed as the agent on the permit.

Meat industry regulator PrimeSafe will work with licensed pet food processors to ensure stringent adherence to regulations.

Mr Walsh said there would be no change to the process or assessment criteria for the granting of Authority to Control Wildlife permits.

The permits will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will only be granted if DEPI officers are satisfied lethal control is required.

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