“Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story” Has a Disturbing Message

There have been several films and TV shows on the mass killings of animals for either sport, business or as a food source. In 2009 the movie The Cove was the center of an emotional outcry involving the killing of dolphins in Japan. The film won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. More so however, the movie awakened the world to the atrocity of animal abuse, but protests have not done much good to curb the slaughter in Japan. In 2013 the documentary Blackfish, which deals with animal cruelty of performing orc as, did gather national sympathy that lead to more restrictions on the use of the animal.

Now being released is a very complex documentary called Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story. The controversial film takes a painful look into the slaughter of thousands of kangaroos a day in Australia that get used for dog food, meat markets, restaurant delicacies and clothing made from their hide. The national symbol of the “Down Under” continent, I’m sure Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee fame must be scratching his head. It’s like the United States declaring open season on the Bald Eagle.

This paragraph is going to get dark, hang in here as the message deserves your complete attention. Just like you can get a hunting license to hunt deer in the United States, Australians can get something called a Shooter’s License. Using the word “pest” as an excuse to thin the population of Kangaroos, the hunters travel in darkness, sometimes on private property, and using night vision to pickoff the “roos” with rifles. They then throw them in the back of their pickup truck and ride off. Those looking to make a quick buck by bringing down a few hundred even take their young preteens along to help in the kill. Caught on film: The licensed shooter has to shoot a kangaroo in the head (as required by edict) for an instant kill. If a female has a joey (young roo) in her pouch however, it gets ripped out and beaten to death on the side of the pick-up truck as shown in one scene of the movie.

The film gets hard to watch at times much as in The Cove where the hunters chase dolphins into a blocked bay and club them to death. There has been an outcry in Australia and even political parties made up of animal activists have tried to get legislation passed banning the exportation of kangaroo meat and leather. Russia is one of the biggest importers of Australian kangaroo exports.

The hide of the Kangaroo is a valuable commodity, especially for the sports world where Kangaroo hide gloves are very popular and Adidas and Nike Kangaroo shoes are big in soccer. They carry a big price tag as the Nike Premier Soccer Cleat running upwards to $130 a pair with the following description from an Amazon ad: “Soft and supple Kangaroo leather vamp and goat leather quarter and heel provide superior ball touch and comfort. Anatomical last delivers glove-like fit”. https://www.amazon.com/Premier-SoccerCleatSummitOrange/dp/B00ANBT6IS/ref=sr_1_6?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1516063504&sr=1-6&nodeID=7141123011&psd=1&keywords=nike+kangaroo+shoes.

Adidas ended the use of kangaroo leather in their soccer boots in 2012 according the Daily Mail .com “Animal welfare groups have been calling for a boycott amid concerns over the culling of the kangaroos, which is known to involve shooting the adults and clubbing the young to death”. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article2197929/Kangaroo-leather-gets-boot-Adidas-Manufacturer-longer-use-product-shoes-worn-Premier-League-stars.html

While the outcry according to the film has gained a lot of ground in Australia, exportation still goes on and the killing has not stopped. The film states: “Every night across Australia thousands of kangaroos are shot and killed. Public opinion in Australia is divided on the treatment of its famous icon. The killing of kangaroos in Australia is the largest wildlife slaughter anywhere in the world.”

Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence and animal abuse. According to the movie the meat of the Kangaroo has been found to have salmonella and unacceptable levels of E.coli. In the 1970’s California banned the import of kangaroo products. The Australian Government and the kangaroo industry are lobbying to lift that ban. For more information on the film go to Kangaroothemovie.com.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A challenging look into a disturbing situation in Australia (4 out of 5 stars)

Additional Film Information
Cast: Tim Flannery, Terri Irwin, Peter singer, Kangaroo Dundee, Diane Smith, Mark Pearson, Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison
Directed by: Kate McIntyre Clere and Michael McIntyre
Genre: Documentary, Animals
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, contains violence, animal abuse
Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.
Release Date: January 19, 2017
Distributed by: Abramorama

Writer, critic, film editor John Delia, Sr. has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 20 years and other publications for a total of 40 years. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and Central Florida Critics Association Send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com