QUEENSLAND, Australia – Southwest Queensland was once a hub for kangaroo meat exports to Russia before a contamination scare resulted in a kangaroo meat export ban that was put in place in 2009. Most recently, however, local councils have made renewed calls to have the trade deal reinstated, according to ABC.
The kangaroo plague is compounding the region's parched conditions, charged Lindsay Godfrey, mayor of the Paroo Shire. "It's put most of southwest Queensland into a drought much sooner than what would normally be the case," he added.
As a result, processing facilities are sitting unused in Charleville, Cunnamulla and St George, and Godfrey wants state and federal government help to kick-start the kangaroo meat industry. However, he is concerned private business will not invest in the kangaroo industry because they worry that animal-welfare groups could disrupt kangaroo meat demand.
Getting the trade back up and running would be an enormous boost for the region, admitted John McVeigh, a spokesman for Queensland's Agriculture Minister. The state government wants to help but the federal government is in charge of leading negotiations, he added.
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said in a statement he recognizes the impact the ban on trade in kangaroo meat has had on rural and regional Australia. He added the government is using every opportunity to encourage Russia to increase the number of processors approved to export there.
Godfrey and other mayors from the region said they will continue to lobby the state and federal governments until they start seeing results.