MEDIA RELEASE: “New coronavirus” a risk of proposed kangaroo farming, with “mystery” disease already spreading

The risk of a new zoonotic disease like covid-19 is one of many reasons Australia can’t risk farming kangaroos, says Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party, Mark Pearson.

“Australia’s kangaroo trade is sickening enough as it is – we don’t want to cause another global pandemic while we’re legally bludgeoning joeys to death,” Mr Pearson said.

“There’s already a mystery illness that’s been sweeping mobs of kangaroos since the 1990s. Are we really going to wait until it’s too late to find out if it’s zoonotic?”

The World Health Organization, World Organization for Animal Health, and United Nations Environment Programme have all urged governments around the world to urgently suspend the trade in live caught wild mammals in order to reduce the risk of zoonotic disease like Covid-19.

Mr Pearson said farming kangaroos would go “against all expert advice”.

“Covid, bird flu, swine flu, Ebola and Zika – all these diseases were passed from animals to humans, in many cases because of our exploitation of animals, so we know the potential is real for this cruel industry to create a new nightmare.”

Scientists estimate that more than 6 out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people are spread from animals, and 3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.

Mr Pearson also condemned the cruelty and short-sightedness of the radical new plan to transfer “ownership” of kangaroos to landholders in order for the industry to profit.

“As the current kangaroo inquiry is showing us, we have no real idea how many kangaroos are even left in Australia, and yet the commercial industry is allowed to continue with almost no oversight,” he said.

“It’s a dirty, cruel industry that legally allows joeys to be decapitated and left to rot in the field. Making it easier for people to kill kangaroos would be devastating to the species.”


Media contact:
Elena Wewer – 0428 444 132