SAINSBURY’S has been accused of backing animal cruelty after relaunching kangaroo burgers in its stores this week.
Britain’s second biggest supermarket said it had introduced the controversial burgers as a low fat barbecue alternative to beef.
The product, described as a “delicious source of lean protein” by the supermarket, costs £1.50 per 228g pack and contains just 3 per cent fat. It will be available in Sainsbury’s stores across the UK for a limited time only.
But animal activists have blasted the supermarket’s decision to bring back the meat in stores, arguing that the way wild kangaroos are hunted and killed for meat is cruel. They have urged shoppers not to purchase the new burgers.
Justin Kerswell, deputy director at animal campaigning charity Viva, told the Sun Online: “Sainsbury’s might see kangaroo burgers as a novelty to attract sales, but shoppers will be unwittingly supporting the largest massacre of wild land based animals on the planet today.”
He added that kangaroos are hunted at night and it is common to find dead or injured roos with limbs or jaws blown off.
Elisa Allen, director People for the Ethical Treatments of Animals (PETA), reiterated that kangaroos are “intelligent, inquisitive, social animals” that are killed in “barbaric ways”.
A spokesperson for Sainbury’s defended the decision to re-stock the burgers, saying: “The wild kangaroo meat is 100 per cent welfare friendly.
“The harvesting of kangaroos in Australia is strictly controlled and codes of practice must be adhered to and monitored at all times.
“Due to vastly increasing numbers of kangaroos in the wild, it is necessary to manage the population to protect the environment.”
This is not the first time Sainsbury’s has been criticised for selling kangaroo meat.
The supermarket was pressured into withdrawing the exotic meat from its stores in 1999 following protests from Viva, which drew support from celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney.
Other UK supermarkets – including Morrisons and Tesco – also took the meat off their shelves after a public backlash.
In 2013, Dame Judi joined animal rights groups to slam Lidl for selling kangaroo meat.
At the time she told The Sun: “Animal cruelty is barbarism and killing a joey after killing the mother is unacceptable.”