Why Are Members of Congress Trying To Ban the Importation of Kangaroo Meat?
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jamin Raskin (D-Md.) don’t see eye to eye on much. Gaetz lied about the Capitol riot. Raskin led the impeachment of the man who incited it. On perhaps just one issue, though, they speak with one voice. What issue is so vital that it has united such seeming polar opposites? The apparent need to ban the sale of kangaroo meat in the United States.
Indeed, Gaetz and Raskin have joined with a handful of other bipartisan sponsors to promote the Kangaroo Protection Act, which would “prohibit the sale of kangaroo products” in this country, including meat and leather, and the importation of the same.
Under the terms of the bill, which is at once a joke and deadly serious, violators could face prison time and steep fines for each violation.
While reporting that Australia opposes the ban strenuously—the country exports around $80 million of kangaroo products to the U.S. every year—the Sydney Morning Herald also notes that a “coalition of animal rights groups [is] behind the bill.”
By sheer coincidence, the Kangaroo Protection Act also contains language that would establish a private right of action, meaning people—in this case, likely animal-rights supporters and groups—could file suit against alleged violators to uphold the law.
As the Herald also reports, one of the groups leading the charge to ban kangaroo meat in the U.S. is Animal Wellness Action, headed by Wayne Pacelle, the former head of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), who resigned from that group in 2018 in the face of allegations of sexual harassment made by several female HSUS subordinates.
Pacelle says he thinks the bill to ban kangaroo meat has legs. “It’s an easy vote for Democrats certainly, and also for Republicans to show they are animal-welfare friendly,” he told the Herald.
It may appear an easy vote if one were to consider the opinions only of animal-rights supporters. In an interview shared b
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