The government strongly stated that the Australian kangaroo industry has a reputation for producing high-quality, safe and healthy meats, which remains in global demand.
UK retailers such as Lidl have come under pressure to stop selling exotic meats, mainly kangaroo, from animal welfare campaigners such as Viva over the last few years. This week, Lidl took a commercial decision to remove kangaroo produce from its stores this June, following “consumer feedback”.
“As a global retailer, we strive to offer a range of international produce to the UK consumer and our kangaroo meat range has always proven popular,” said a Lidl UK spokesperson. “However, we do appreciate that customer tastes and preferences are also subject to change.”
Other retailers such as Tesco, Morrisons and Iceland have also come under fire for products such as kangaroo meatballs and burgers.
“Australia’s kangaroo industry is underpinned by strict government controls that support sustainability, animal welfare and food safety throughout the supply chain,” an Australian departmental spokesperson told GlobalMeatNews.
Australia exports kangaroo meat to a number of global markets – amounting to 3,000 tonnes in 2016/2017, including 13 tonnes to the UK market.
Last year, an increase in the kangaroo population in Australia led to industry experts encouraging consumers to eat more of the protein. Government data revealed the kangaroo population grew from 27 million to under 45 million.
Kangaroo meat was also deemed a healthier choice for consumers by the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia’s executive officer John Kelly back in July 2016, who said that it was a nutritionally-rich and low-fat meat choice for consumers.
Figures from Australia’s Environment Department show that almost seven million adult kangaroos are reserved for slaughter in 2018.