What's the beef with culling kangaroos?


A controversial new film says the practice may be leading one of our Australian icons to extinction. But should we really be concerned?

Kangaroos are an Australian icon. They’ve been here for millions of years. But now, they face extinction.

That’s one of the claims put forward by a controversial new documentary from Australian filmmaker, Michael McIntyre. ‘Kangaroo: A Love Hate Story’ shines a light on the culling and commercial use of Kangaroos across the country. It questions the idea that population numbers are, in fact, ‘healthy’, and whether we should really consider them a pest.

Kangaroos are wild, not farmed - and their products are used for anything from meat to leather to tiny scrotum sacks for spare change. Russia was our main export market for kangaroo meat until they banned it in 2009. Without that demand - and some good weather - kangaroo numbers exploded: from roughly 25 million in 2010, to just under 45 million by 2016.

The film’s been slammed by industry groups. 


‘These sorts of outrageous statements are just way off mark, naive and frankly offensive to the agriculture industry,’

says National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Mahar, ‘it portrays the industry in a bad light, it portrays Australia in a bad light’. 

The documentary’s dramatic footage and big claims have left audiences in the US alarmed -  and now it’s set to open here in the coming days.

As the war of words continues, we’re left with a question: should we really be concerned, or is this just a filmmaker looking to make a buck off a little controversy?