Kangaroo campaign targets Sainsbury's with International Day of Action
20 July 1998
In London, actress Pam Ferris (Darling Buds of May, Where the Heart Is, Matilda) will be showing her disgust at Sainsbury's playing a part in the slaughter of kangaroos for 'exotic' meat. She will cut up her Sainsbury's Loyalty Card outside the company's head offices at Stamford House, Stamford Street, SE1 at 11.00 am on FRIDAY, 24 JULY.
This will provide the spark which will ignite an 'International Day of Action' by local activists of Viva! and Australian wildlife groups against Sainsbury's supermarket on SATURDAY, 25 JULY. Viva! claims that Sainsbury's sale of kangaroo meat contributes to one of the biggest wildlife massacres in history.
All over Britain on the Day of Action (Saturday), Viva! supporters will be outside Sainsbury's stores dressed as Crocodile Dundee or kangaroos. They will be wearing cork fringed hats and holding mock 'barbies' at which baby kangaroos will be the dish of the day. They will be bringing home to Sainsbury's customers the brutality involved in the kangaroo meat trade. Hundreds of thousands of leaflets will be handed out spelling out the facts behind the neat Cellophane wrapping to highlight the plight of millions of kangaroos and their babies which are killed every year.
"We have extraordinary VIDEO FOOTAGE of the killing taking place, including kangaroos being shot in the throat and one having its leg sliced open to take a meat hook before being hauled up on to a truck while still conscious. Each female that is shot has her pouch searched for a joey. In one instance, the video shows a tiny, terrified joey being hauled out, thrown to the ground and the shooter grinding his heel on its head. His son then does the same and the little creature is left writhing in agony on the ground. This is the reality of Sainsbury's 'exotic' meats."
"The Australian Government is sanctioning the greatest wildlife massacre in the world and, through Sainsbury's, is selling the results of this carnage to a misinformed British public as part of its promotion of 'exotic' meats. Every excuse offered by Sainsbury's for the extermination of kangaroos is scientifically unsupportable - it is being done simply for profit. Customers have no way of knowing this unless we tell them. This is local consumer choice in practice."
As a result of a recent fact finding visit to Australia, Viva! has authored a detailed report on the kangaroo killing industry. Called Under Fire, it challenges all of the claims made by Sainsbury's in defence of its trade in kangaroo meat. It accuses the store of over-estimating the kangaroo population and underestimating the numbers killed. Through scientific studies it also challenges Sainsbury's claims that kangaroos damage crops, compete with sheep for grazing and destroy the environment.
"Most disturbing of all is the blatant cruelty involved in the trade", adds Ms Gellatley, "particularly the destruction of millions of babies - 'joeys' - who are either wrenched from their mothers pouches and clubbed to death or are left to die from exposure.
Sainsbury's is now the last national chain store selling kangaroo meat. Safeway, Marks & Spencer and the Co-op have refused to stock it for moral reasons, Kwik Save, Morrisons and Asda say there is no demand for it. After a previous Viva! campaign, Tesco withdrew the meat from sale while Somerfield and Booker Cash & Carry cancelled plans to introduce it.
"Six species of kangaroo have already been made extinct and with over 9 million being killed every year others will follow as Australia accelerates the exploitation of its wildlife", concludes Ms Gellatley. "It's no good us crying crocodile tears over animals such as tigers and rhinos once they have been virtually destroyed. For kangaroos, the time to act is now, while we can still save them. With 75 per cent of the world's species in decline or facing extinction it is vital that our supermarkets stop acting as Trojan horses for the destruction of the world's wildlife. We hope their customers will hit Sainsbury's in the only place which seems to matter to them - their wallet."
Note to Editors. Copies of the Viva! report Under Fire, trannies of kangaroos and the VIDEO FOOTAGE of kangaroo killing are available on request.
Contact Juliet Gellatley on tel: 0117 944 1000.
Statements in support of Viva! from Australia:
"Viva! is bringing the misery of our wildlife to the world and we praise their work. We implore the British people to support Viva!'s campaign to save our kangaroos from terrible cruelty and greedy exploitation."
Maryland Wilson, Australian Wildlife Protection Council
"I support your campaign because huge numbers of pregnant female kangaroos and their babies are being slaughtered every night and families destroyed and scattered through the blood lust of an indescribably cruel industry. Sainsbury's in its greed for profits must take responsibility for the horror inflicted on innocent wildlife. They are to be condemned for supporting what amounts to genocide of kangaroos merely to make 30 pieces of silver. Sainsbury's has blood on its hands too."
The Honourable Richard Jones, Member of the Legislative Council, New South Wales
"I support Viva! because the kangaroo must be preserved for future generations and protected from the insatiable demands of the commercial kangaroo industry".
Marjorie Wilson, Kangaroo Protection Co-Operative
"The power of money has superseded wildlife management principles. We support Viva!'s work to right that wrong."
Lindy Stacker, Australia Against Commercialisation of Wildlife
"The Vegan Society (NSW) wholeheartedly supports the Viva! campaign to stop the kangaroo massacre in our country. The unsupervised and often inept slaughter of this native marsupial in the Australian outback, which routinely sees joeys thrown carelessly from the pouch and left to die, is a national disgrace. While cattle and sheep farming erode the land and contribute substantially to the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world., this planet's largest massacre of a national symbol remains indefensible".
Vegan Society of New South Wales
"Viva!'s efforts to stop the sale and consumption of kangaroo meat in the UK are of utmost importance to the success of our campaigns here.
"The industry is bent on exploiting and killing our kangaroos into extinction. It cannot succeed, however, unless it is assured of a thriving export market, since kangaroo meat at home is neither popular nor expensive. No wonder industry representatives saw red and reacted with indignant defensiveness at Viva!'s success with Tesco followed by Juliet Gellatley's speaking tour of Australia.
"We fully support Viva!. Together we can make our voices heard across national boundaries for the preservation of indigenous wildlife is a global issue."
Rheya Linden, Animal Liberation (Vic)
"For Australia to sell kangaroo meat to the UK not only countenances cruelty for profit but holds Australia up as barbaric in its treatment of animals. It smacks of hypocrisy to hold up the kangaroo as our emblem and slaughter them in their millions for profit."
Lynda Stoner, Animal Liberation (NSW)
"The International Fund for Animal Welfare wholeheartedly supports Viva!'s work to stop the massacre of kangaroos for meat and skin.
"The killing of kangaroos is the largest wildlife slaughter in the world and involves unavoidable and sickening cruelty".
Sally Wilson, IFAW Australia
"I applaud Viva!'s tireless work to stop the indefensible slaughter of our native wildlife for meat".
Andrew Bartlett, Australian Democrat Senator for Queensland
"Animals Australia, representing 40 animal welfare and rights groups, applauds the campaign by Viva! to expose the bloody and cruel slaughter of kangaroos. The exploitation of our unique wildlife will continue while there are markets. Even the recent Australia Senate Inquiry into the wildlife industries acknowledged that the 'most significant constraint' to a profitable kangaroo killing industry was the 'strong coordinated campaigns..conducted by the animal rights groups.' It is crucial to our campaigns in Australia that there is strong international support and Viva! is brilliant in this role."
Glenys Oogjes, Director, Animals Australia