SYDNEY, Australia — The government said Wednesday it will allow more than 2.5 million kangaroos to be shot this year in one of the world's largest commercial slaughters of wildlife. Angry conservationists promptly announced that they will organize worldwide demonstrations Friday to protest the killings, likely to be nearly 700,000 higher than last year's quota.
The final figure is in doubt because the northern state of Queensland is arguing for a quota of about 1.8 million animals, against the government's proposed 1.38 million, Environment Minister Barry Cohen told reporters in Canberra.
Under the Kangaroo Management Program, Australia's national symbol, which is regarded as a pest by farmers, is killed by licensed hunters commercially for its skin and meat. This year's figure is intended to cope with an estimated 17 million kangaroos now roaming Australia's vast plains.