Author Topic: Kangaroos suffer at award winning Jacob's Creek winery  (Read 1519 times)

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Kangaroos suffer at award winning Jacob's Creek winery
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2012, 05:09:16 PM »
WILDLIFE volunteers say 23 kangaroos used as a tourist drawcard at award-winning Jacob's Creek winery were found in what they believed was a malnourished state - so apparently neglected that some were in "shocking" pain from untreated injuries.

Jacob's Creek, owned by French company Orlando Wines, is one of Australia's best-known international brands.

Its tourist centre in the Barossa Valley this month won the Australian Tourism Award for best tourism winery and best restaurants and catering services.

Volunteer group Fauna Rescue said the wine company approached it last year to find the kangaroos at its Rowland flat winery a new home.

The group's kangaroo expert Kerry Colmer said the winery "enquired" if Fauna Rescue could find the animals a new home before the end of the year and she claimed a winery reprensentative then told her if they weren't relocated the company would "shoot" them.

She said when she and two other volunteers had visited the centre at the  winery's invitation last June, they  photographed:

CARCASSES of joeys and adult kangaroos in the roo enclosure;

EMPTY food bowls;

NO EDIBLE vegetation available for the animals;

SEVERELY disabled kangaroos in pain from untreated injuries;


Ms Colmer said she was "shocked" at the suffering.

"I was disgusted and distressed at the state the kangaroos were in when I first saw them," she said.

"When we entered the yard and saw the animals milling around the empty feed bowls it was heartbreaking. No animal deserves that, let alone an animal which a business has used for years to appeal to their customers."

Emails from Jacob's Creek to Ms Colmer - and sighted by the Sunday Mail - show the winery also agreed to meet the rescue group's costs for relocating the animals.

While Fauna Rescue spent months searching and obtaining approval from the Environment Department to move the native animals to a new home, the winery started feeding the kangaroos properly, Ms Colmer said.

Fauna Rescue volunteers had then worked 14 hours a day over the weekend of January 7-8 to relocate the 23 kangaroos to Banrock Station, near Barmera.

"To see these animals eat grass for the first time and be free to be wild was truly marvellous," Ms Colmer said.

Fauna Rescue says it is yet to be paid for the costs it incurred for hiring a van and transporting the kangaroos between the Barossa and the Riverland.

Ms Colmer said she emailed Jacob's Creek immediately after the move, detailing the costs and suggesting Orlando Wines whose parent company Pernod Ricard made a $2 billion profit last year might also consider a donation to acknowledge the large amount of volunteer time spent on the relocation.

She said the group still had "not received a cent". "I have sent several emails inquiring when Fauna Rescue will be reimbursed its costs and my emails have been either ignored, or I have been told payment will be forthcoming but it never arrives," she said.

The Sunday Mail made several attempts to seek comment from Orlando Wines.

Yesterday afternoon the company responded, denying the claims of mistreatment, saying it would not be in its interest given the animals were part of a significant public site.

"After careful consideration, Orlando Wines recently decided to relocate a group of kangaroos from an enclosure at the Jacobs Creek Visitors Centre in the Barossa Valley," the company said in a statement.

"Despite upgrading and enlarging the enclosure several years ago, due to their ongoing growth in numbers, we felt this decision was the best solution for the long-term welfare of the animals. Prior to the relocation, the animals were looked after and fed each day by staff at the facility.

"Throughout the relocation process, and after seeking advice from the Department of Environment and Heritage, we consulted with a not-for-profit animal welfare organisation to ensure the welfare of the animals during the transition and to ensure they found a suitable home."

Orlando also said it would meet Fauna Rescue's outstanding costs.

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