A kangaroo in the documentary Kangaroo: A Love - Hate Story (2017) by Michael and Kate McIntyre.
A kangaroo in the documentary Kangaroo: A Love - Hate Story (2017) by Michael and Kate McIntyre. HOPPING FILMS

The images we didn't want to see of the kangaroo industry

WE Australians known that kangaroo shooting is a part of living in the country.

As they cannot be farmed, kangaroos are culled by shooting.

What is not regularly shown to Australian audiences are the crude images in this movie, portraying that industry.

First, a warning - the shocking nature of the images in the new documentary Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story by film makers Michael and Kate McIntyre is enough to make anyone feel sick. So be prepared if you go to a screening.

The documentary offers an interesting array of interviews with Nationals MPs, naturalists, ecologists, animal advocates, representatives of the kangaroo products industry, leading economist Ken Henry, philanthropist and former Citibank president Philip Wollen and Australian of the Year 2007, scientist Tim Flannery.

 

Terri Irwin in a still from the firm Kangaroo: A Love - Hate Story (2017), a documentary by Michael and Kate McIntyre.
Terri Irwin in a still from the firm Kangaroo: A Love - Hate Story (2017), a documentary by Michael and Kate McIntyre. HOPPING FILMS

It also includes footage of NSW Senator Mark Pearson, from the Animal Justice Party, actively lobbying Chinese and Russian authorities to ban kangaroo products.

The film clearly tries to shock, educate and inform audiences about the industry.

It is also an animal activism pamphlet, and it clearly threatens the reputation of the 'Australia' brand overseas.

When I first arrived in Australia as a tourist, before I even imagined migrating to the country, my only wish was to see kangaroos and koalas.

The animals are a big part of the tourism appeal of the country.

 

A family of kangaroos portrayed in the documentary Kangaroo: A Love - Hate Story (2017) by Michael and Kate McIntyre.
A family of kangaroos portrayed in the documentary Kangaroo: A Love - Hate Story (2017) by Michael and Kate McIntyre. HOPPING PICTURES

Once I migrated to Australia, I purposely travelled between Western Australia and Northern NSW by car to see the bush and the highlights of that trip were a couple of first-hand experiences with kangaroos at a beach in Albany and a private zoo on Kangaroo island, South Australia.

From that point of view, this film's premise that Australia could better the kangaroo as a tourism attraction sounds like a valid proposition.

But as soon as I started living in the country I was aware of kangaroo culling; I just chose to forget about it.

 

A kangaroos shooter at work in the documentary Kangaroo: A Love - Hate Story (2017) by Michael and Kate McIntyre.
A kangaroos shooter at work in the documentary Kangaroo: A Love - Hate Story (2017) by Michael and Kate McIntyre. HOPPING PICTURES

Besides the shocking animal carnage sequences, another particularly cringe-worthy part of this film is the attempt by a young representative of the Queensland Government to explain how the kangaroo population is calculated.

The 'guesstimation' that is clearly impossible to explain is an embarrassment, but do we care enough to do something about any of this?

Kangarooculling happens in the middle of the night, in the bush and it is a vile activity that has taken place for centuries.

Are we culling too many of them? It is impossible to say based on this film.

Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story poses interesting questions about a topic rarely discussed in Australia, but the shocking nature of the images portrayed may alienate a considerable portion of its audience.

Screenings

  • March 13: Australian Premiere in Sydney at Dendy Newtown (with special Q+A)
  • March 15 in Brisbane at Dendy Cooporoo
  • March 21 in Brunswick Heads at Brunswick Picture House (with special Q+A)
  • March 22 in Brisbane at Five Star New Farm Cinema (with Special Q+A)
  • March 23 in Brisbane at Dendy Cooparoo with Special Q+A Buy
  • March 25 in Brunswick Heads at Brunswick Picture House