Budget supermarket chain Lidl has ended its trade in kangaroo meat.
The move has been hailed as a victory for animal welfare charity Viva!, which has long campaigned against the product.
With frozen food giant Iceland dropping sales earlier this year, Lidl had remained the only UK supermarket carrying the meat on occasion as part of its weekly promotional deals.
According to Viva!: “Marketing the ‘deluxe kangaroo steaks’ as nutritious and inexpensive, Lidl consumers were unwittingly buying into the largest slaughter of land-based wildlife in history.
“Hunted at night in the vast outback, with powerful four-track vehicles and mesmerising searchlights, the startled animals are shot, supposedly in the head but many are in fact mis-shot and die a slow, agonising death.
“Although no statistics are currently available on the number of wounded animals the Australian RSPCA estimates that 100,000 adults are inhumanely killed with some temporarily surviving with horrific wounds, such as shot off jaws.”
According to the latest ‘harvest figures’ from the Department of the Environment and Energy, 6.9 million kangaroos are earmarked for slaughter in 2018 – not including the millions of baby kangaroos (joeys) that are simply thrown away.
The Australian Government’s own guidelines insist on clubbing or decapitating joeys, as they cannot survive without their mothers.
Many escape but later die from predation.
According to Viva!, it is a common misconception that kangaroos are farmed.
The charity says: “They are completely wild, which means populations fluctuate massively – and can be especially impacted by factors difficult to predict, such as drought and disease.
“Since kangaroos are a slow-breeding marsupial with low reproductive rates wildlife experts are concerned that turning them into just another commodity is not only cruel but also unsustainable.”
Animal welfare organisation Viva! Has campaigned against the sale of kangaroo meat since its inception in the early 90s and achieved numerous successes in removing sales from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Iceland and now Lidl.
Viva! founder and director, Juliet Gellatley, said: “Having campaigned on the issue of kangaroo meat for the best part of two and a half decades I couldn’t be happier to finally say – we did it!
“The novelty value of so-called ‘exotic meat’ has been masking the true horror of a brutal business for too many years.
“As always, Viva! Remains committed to supporting Australian wildlife groups to end the bloody trade and celebrate the kangaroo for its unique and iconic status in Australia.”
Lidl UK CEO, Christian Härtnagel, said: “Following recent customer feedback, we have taken the decision to no longer sell kangaroo meat at Lidl UK.
“This commitment will come into effect from June 2018.”