Some of you may remember my post on July 24th 2013 here, asking Lidl to stop selling kangaroo meat. I had contacted them via email in June, asking them to stop selling a meat that comes from a trade which can only exist in a horrendous amount of cruel and inhumane practices. I received a standard response from them, and responded point by point – both of those letters are in the original post. Almost THREE MONTHS later, Lidl have responded to the concerns I raised in my reply back in July.
This is the letter they replied with :
Dear Miss Milligan,
Re: kangaroo Meat
Thank you for taking the time to contact us again. Following the concerns you raised in your previous correspondence we would like to share the following information and facts with you to ease your concerns. Over 75% of the commercial kangaroo harvest are male animals, very few females are taken. Furthermore, the Code of Practice for the Human Shooting of Kangaroo requires harvesters to avoid taking females with obvious pouch young and/or obvious young at foot and kangaroo harvesters are skilled in avoiding them. During 2010-11 all licensed harvesters had to undergo a nationally approved re-training program. Part of this focused on welfare outcomes. Therefore, very few females with young are taken. In the few cases when a female with a joey is taken, the Code lays out strict guidelines on how to deal with these. This Code was written by a group of the most informed and independent scientists in the field and details best practice.
Of the 25% of females taken only 20% (5% of the total) at any one time can be expected to have ‘young at foot’. The fate of these is the most contentious issue for many examining the welfare aspects of the harvest. However, further research currently being finalised has indicated that these adolescents survive the removal of their mothers with surprisingly little stress and quickly adjust to independence.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is the main non-Government body with concern for animal welfare in Australia. It has conducted two comprehensive audits of animal welfare outcomes in the kangaroo harvest. These showed that, at the time, 99.8% of all kangaroos taken were shot either in the head or at the junction of the head and neck. Both outcomes result in instant death. Again the industry is continually seeking to improve standards and the Code has recently been reviewed to require Harvesters to only target the brain, without any of the stress of capture, transport etc. involved in beef or lamb slaughter.
In NSW in 2010 for example 1.834 random, unannounced audits were conducted by the NSW National Parks Authority and the NSW Food Authority, these audit all aspects of regulatory compliance including the Animal Welfare Code. Production of kangaroo meat is tightly controlled by the Australian government. Kangaroo meat is sold in virtually all Australian supermarkets and to thousands of restaurants and is certainly not regarded as a ‘novelty meat’.
With regards to the hygiene concerns you express, we can confirm that random samples are selected upon receipt at the processing establishment and prior to processing are microbiologically tested. In addition each export Kangaroo Processing premise is required to maintain a Product Hygiene Index. To our knowledge there has not been any reported incidence of food poisoning linked to consumption of kangaroo meat.
Some very well informed organisations support the kangaroo industry for a wide range of reasons, mostly because they see kangaroos as a more environmentally friendly way to produce meat in Australia than introduced sheep or cattle. However, the support of the Australian Veterinary Association is telling in recognition of the animal welfare outcomes of the harvest. The AVA reported to a 1998 Senate Inquiry into Wildlife Utilisation:
“The Australian Veterinary Association believes that the Australian kangaroo population is a unique and valuable resource and that harvesting is a legitimate and humane use of that resource”. (AVA 1998)
Other professional bodies supporting the kangaroo harvest include,
· Australasian Wildlife Management Society
· Ecological Society of Australia
· Australian Association of Veterinary Conservation Biologists
A more comprehensive list of professional organization supportive of the kangaroo harvest can be found at http://www.kangaroo-industry.asn.au/media/sci_list.html
We appreciate that you do not support the trade and consumption of this type of meat and we are consistently reviewing our product range to ensure that it is in-line with our customers’ demands.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us, we hope the information provided has been of use and that you remain a valued Lidl customer. Moreover, we appreciate all feedback from our customers, as it enables us to continually monitor and maintain the high standards that we insist upon.
Assuring you of our best intentions at all times.
For and on behalf of Lidl UK GmbH
Tel – 0870 444 1234
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
A three month delay in response, and I am left feeling like they haven’t really answered my concerns at all – a lot of what they say in this letter sounds completely contradictory (and at times offensive) to me.
I have forwarded the email onto email@example.com, who run the Save The Kangaroo website, asking if they have any further information, statistics or suggested responses to send to Lidl. I’ll keep you updated as to the response I get. In the meantime, I would strongly urge you to visit the Save The Kangaroo website, and send the suggested letter/email to Lidl (contact details below), asking them to stop supporting this cruel and barbaric meat trade. (while you are there, check out their links page, there are some very informative articles on the ‘commercial slaughter’ of the kangaroo from wildlife experts and ex-hunters.)
Ways to contact Lidl :
1. Write to their Head Office: Lidl UK GmbH, 19 Worple Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 4JS
2. Use the webform here on their website.
3. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org