DON'T know what Victorian kangaroo meat tastes like?
You soon may because the Baillieu government is considering ''the feasibility of commercial harvesting of wild kangaroos''.
All kangaroo meat sold in Victoria is sourced from interstate, mostly Queensland and New South Wales, because the commercial use of the thousands of kangaroos culled annually in Victoria is banned.
That may soon change.
The Southern Grampians Shire Council is calling for the ban to be lifted and the state government is evaluating it.
''Each year between 9000 and 30,000 animals are authorised to be destroyed and left on site,'' the council said in a motion to the Municipal Association of Victoria state council to be held next week. ''There is a potential commercial use for these kangaroo products.
''Allowing the controlled commercial culling of kangaroos would allow councils in rural areas to investigate the potential to grow their meat-processing industries, create new businesses and local long-term jobs and accrue additional economic benefits to regional areas of Victoria,'' the motion said.
A government spokeswoman said the government was studying the suggestion with advice from the Department of Primary Industries.
''We will await the outcome of that work before making decision about possible changes to regulation to allow commercial kangaroo harvesting,'' she said.
The RSPCA does not support the commercial use of kangaroos culled in Victoria.
''Once you have commercial drivers then sometimes the welfare drivers become secondary,'' RSPCA Victoria chief executive Maria Mercurio said.
''We always want the welfare considerations to be paramount,'' she said.
The Southern Grampians Shire Council manager of economic development and tourism, Hugh Koch, said allowing the commercial use of culled kangaroos could be an economic fillip for the region.
''Being in regional areas where we are looking at a number of economic development opportunities, this was one that was pointed out to us by a number of kangaroo shooters and, so too, by a local abattoir,'' he said.
''Under the current regulations wallabies or kangaroos which are destroyed … are mainly left on the ground to rot and because we are talking about what are permitted to be culled we thought it would be a great idea to explore the opportunities to develop an industry out of it,'' he said.
The idea was not to shoot more kangaroos - it was to not waste those shot anyway.
''What shooters tell me is that they can take two carcasses away at the moment, but they shoot 80,'' he said.
''We think there is tremendous opportunity … to set up mobile coolrooms to store the carcasses, bring them back to a licensed abattoir and develop it for a domestic, export or pet food market.''
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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