Kangaroos fart less than cows: let’s eat them instead

When it comes to meat, green and ethical don’t always go together. Chicken is a case in point: it is often present in low-carbon menus but most of the birds you get are battery farmed and hence a firm no for the ethically minded. But kangaroo meat is one of those that check both the eco-friendly and the anti-animal-cruelty boxes.

Let’s start with the flatulence issue. While ruminants release large amounts of methane into the atmosphere as part of their digestive process, kangaroos emit negligible amounts of greenhouse gases. And there’s even more to please the environmentally conscious. Kangaroos consume significantly less water and food than cows and sheep, and they don’t require land to be cleared out for them.

Animal-rights purists may disagree with associating the words kangaroo harvest and ethics. Point taken. But even animal welfare groups in Australia agree that the method used to cull kangaroos in the country, a shot to the head, is humane. The marsupial is not in any distress when it dies and there is no unnecessary suffering.

Kangaroo harvest has long been in practice in Australia in order to control their population and preserve grazing land for livestock. But most roo meat ends up being wasted because only a small percentage of Australians eats it. You may worry that increased demand could mean that the country would start farming kangaroos. But even such a farm would have to be cruelty free to some extent. Kangaroos have a low stress threshold and need to be let to roam wild. If captured or handled, they may suffer from a condition called myopathy, which gives its meat a bad taste.

These are some of the reasons why kangatarianism, that is, following a diet excluding all meat except kangaroo, is slowly becoming all the rage amongst the semi-vegetarians of Australia. Other Aussies should join in too. If you are Down Under, make sure you replace those beef burgers with roo meat next time you invite your friends over for a barbie.

450px-Kangaroo_Sign_at_Stuart_Highway.jpg

image credit: Jpp, Wikimedia Commons

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10 thoughts on “Kangaroos fart less than cows: let’s eat them instead

  1. Cath Ennis

    I’ve heard it’s very tasty, too! I’ll definitely give it a try if I ever make it to Australia (not exactly a low-carbon activity for me!)

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  2. Wilson Pok

    Kangaroo meat still isn’t widely available here in Australia, and I don’t think it has fully exploited its ‘green’ credentials yet. Generally, there’s also a certain squeamishness about eating a national icon, and there would have to be a very good marketing campaign to change this.

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  3. Barbara Ferreira

    I read that misconceptions regarding kangaroo meat and that "squeamishness about eating a national icon" are two of the reasons why roo isn’t popular and, consequently, not widely available. And you are right about the marketing campaign. If Australians are to change their views on eating kangaroo, they should be aware of the green, ethical and health benefits of this type of meat. Why not blog more about it to start with?

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  4. Tom Webb

    I’ve just got back from my first visit to Australia, and can report that kangaroo is really rather nice – not as gamey as I was expecting, more like a kind of beef-lamb hybrid. Not sure it’s quite offset the carbon I used on a 1-week trip around the world, but never mind…
    Another good thing about them is that they are not hooved, so are much gentler on the ground, causing less soil erosion than cattle, sheep etc.

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  5. Barbara Ferreira

    I must confess that I never tried the meat myself and I’m now truly curious (even more than when I finished writing this blog post!). Unfortunately, as Bart mentioned, eating kangaroo in Europe may not exactly be what one would call a ‘green’ activity. According to this old article, a kangaroo meal in the UK still has a low-carbon impact since the animals are imported from Australia in container ships (rather than jets). But the source of this information is a Bristol-based meat supplier, so I’m not sure if it’s trustworthy.

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  6. Linda Lin

     lol. maybe someday if u make some connections in australia, ask them to mail you some Kangaroo jerky. The stuff is pretty authentic, I turned off a few of my North American friends with it (my idea of an Xmas gift one year…). 
    you’d be surprised by how proud many aussies are by the fact that they eat the national animals on their coat arms ~ the emu and the kangaroo. i’d agree with Tom it’s quite nice, but not something you’d want to have everyday perhaps. It still has a unique aroma to it, much like lamb or mutton has. many aussies aren’t hesitant about crocodile, possum and wallaby meat either..but it’s tough and kind of tasteless. 
    I wonder why other countries don’t tap into their local indigenous, and over populated animals a bit more. But I confess..I’m not really sure I’d want to try squirrel, moose, beaver, or bear.

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  7. Frank Norman

    I remember reading in an old book on camping in North America about the delights of eating squirrel and something called Moose Muffle.  It didn’t sound very appetising (the nose and lips of a moose), but I never explored further. 

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  8. Barbara Ferreira

    I’m not very tempted to try squirrel either. And even less so to eat something that "has been chopped and diced until no longer recognizable as the flappy-lipped snout of a large, adorable Canadian mammal".

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  9. Graham Steel

    Despite being an omnivore, I don’t think I’ve tried roo meat yet despite a few trips to Khublai Khans Mongolian Restaurant in Glasgow.
    "Create your own dishes of food by filling your bowls from a selection of beautifully fresh vegetables on a base of rice, beansprouts, noodles or tofu. Add your choice of meats or seafood including such novelties as venison, wild boar, ostrich, springbok, zebra, kangaroo, shark and seagull". OK OK – I "edited in" the last one 😉

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