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Kangaroos are the victims of the largest land-based wildlife massacre in the world. Hundreds of thousands of these iconic native animals are killed every year for commercial and/or non-commercial purposes across Australia.

On this page you can find out about:


kangaroo and joey

Photo by Ray Drew

Kangaroo killing in the Australian Capital Territory

The ACT is infamous for its regular non-commercial kangaroo kills.

In 2004 the ACT's Environment Department engaged contractors to shoot 600 kangaroos at Googong Dam, just outside the Australian Capital Territory.

In a particularly barbaric killing spree that made international headlines, over 500 kangaroos were trapped and killed by lethal injection at the former Belconnen Naval Transmission Station in 2008. For more information about this kill see For a legal analysis of the kill written by an Animal Liberation ACT committee member and published in the Australian Animal Protection Law Journal, see here.

In 2009 the ACT Government sanctioned the grant of a licence to the Commonwealth Department of Defence to shoot 7,000 kangaroos living on the Majura military base in Canberra.  Animal Liberation (NSW) challenged the grant of the licence in the ACT Civil and Administration Tribunal but was ultimately unsuccessful and the licensed shooting of 7,000 kangaroos continued. You can read a transcript of the Tribunal’s decision here.

Between 2009 and 2011 up to 3,000 kangaroos were shot each year in the annual kangaroo kills in various Canberra Nature Parks.

Shooting kangaroos is barbaric.  They are shot at night by hunters shooting from trucks. Shooters killing kangaroos for non-commercial purposes are not even required to be competent. The National Code of Practice for shooting kangaroos for non-commercial purposes clearly states that: ‘There is no competency testing regime for non‑commercial kangaroo and wallaby shooters nor is there an intention to introduce a regime’ (section 3.1).

Animal Liberation ACT opposes the kangaroo kills in the Territory for several reasons.

Firstly, we reject the view that kangaroos ‘damage’ the environment.  There is actually very little scientific evidence to support this view and many scientists have put forward alternative views about the effect of kangaroos on their habitat. Kangaroos are in fact an essential part of the Australian environment. Yet kangaroos continue to be wrongly and unfairly blamed for the overgrazing and deforestation caused by increasing urbanisation and introduced livestock.

Secondly, we oppose the killing of wild kangaroos by shooting as it always involves cruelty. Kangaroos are shot at night, and far from any welfare inspectors.  Shots often do not hit their lawful target (the animal’s brain).  Young joeys die slowly of exposure and starvation without their mothers.  Joeys taken from the pouches of their shot mothers are killed by either decapitation (as recommended in the current ACT Code of Practice), or by having their heads smashed against a hard object (as proposed in the new Code of Practice that is currently being drafted). In our view, to take the lives of healthy animals in this way is unethical.

Animal Liberation ACT is not alone in its opposition to the kangaroo kills.

Given the inherently unethical nature of the killings, the ACT Government is desperate to show it has the public's support for the kills.  In December 2011 it undertook a survey of a tiny sample of ACT residents (600, approximately 0.1% of the city's population).  Although seemingly about the incidence of motor vehicle accidents involving kangaroos (the first three questions of the survey were about this issue), the Government claims that 70% of the survey respondents 'supported kangaroo culling to assist in the conservation of native grasslands'. Yet in a poll conducted by the Canberra Times after the announcement of the 2012 ACT killing season, the majority of the almost 5,000 respondents did not support the kill.

CT kangaroo poll

Non-lethal alternatives to kangaroo kills in the ACT

Animal Liberation ACT’s preferred approach is to leave kangaroos alone to manage their own populations in their contemporary habitats.

We do not agree that kangaroo numbers are out of control.  There is no credible science to support claims that kangaroos are overpopulated or are any threat to the environment. The 2013 hearing in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (AT 13/41) confirmed the absence of any robust scientific basis for the need to reduce kangaroo numbers.

Animal Liberation ACT may provide in-principle support to proposals for non-lethal alternatives, such as those recently proposed by local charity Alphadog Animal Army, in relation to populations of kangaroos if the kangaroos are unable to move themselves to more suitable habitats.  This may occur, for example, where kangaroos are confined within fences or trapped between major roads.  In general, our support depends on the details of each proposal, including the methods proposed, the suitability of release sites (if required), the effect on existing kangaroos at those sites, and whether any other forms of human interference (eg scientific experiments) are proposed on the target populations.

Getting involved

For more ways to become involved in the campaign against Canberra’s kangaroo killings, see here.

For an educational site about kangaroos for teachers and students, see Kangaroo Footprints.

Commercial Kangaroo Industry

The ACT does not have a commercial kangaroo industry. The ACT Government has looked into the viability of establishing such an industry, but decided against it because:

"Commercial kangaroo harvesting is the primary focus of animal rights organisations opposed to killing of kangaroos. A commercial operation  in the National Capital would probably draw significant  negative publicity and increased protest action."

(See here for more on the Government's policy on a commercial kangaroo industry in the ACT)

Kangaroos can be killed for commercial purposes in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia.  In 2012 over 1.5 million kangaroos were killed as part of the commercial 'harvest' of kangaroo flesh and skins in these four states. Kangaroo shooting is frequently justified by farmers and so called 'conservationists' as a way of keeping kangaroo numbers 'in check'. Yet even the Commonwealth's own population estimates do not support the view that their numbers are 'out of control'. In 2001 kangaroo numbers were estimated to be 57.5 million, but by 2010 the numbers had fallen to just 25 million. Kangaroos in fact breed very slowly and only have one joey per year. Moreoever, it is likely that up to 60% of joeys die before they reach maturity.

Please do not buy any kangaroo products as you are simply supporting a cruel industry and contributing to the largest land-based wildlife massacre in the world.

kangaroo chiller

                             Kangaroos killed for the commercial 'harvest' (Animal Liberation NSW)


Protecting wildlife in Canberra's fenced nature parks...

Animal Liberation ACT is opposed to the inhumane killing of perfectly  healthy wildlife, including Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

Animal Liberation ACT is not responsible for, and has never claimed responsibility for, the cutting of fences around Canberra's nature reserves.

We are as hopeful as the rest of the community that the animals in our nature reserves are safe, free from harm, and live out their natural lives alongside all other species within the reserves.

The following reprehensible images show what we are campaigning against, and will continue to campaign against, without putting the life of any animal (or human) in jeopardy:

Pit - decapitated joeys

Pit - mother and joey

joey shot in neck

Victims of the ACT Government’s 2012 kangaroo killings - adults and joeys



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