1 October 2007

Food for Thought

Kangaroo meat – lean, green, clean and good for your heart
‘Kangaroos are of particular importance to Australia’s conservation and economic future, not only for their biological significance and iconic status, but because of their special value as a source of meat,’ says Prof Mike Archer, Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales.

Prof Mike Archer

‘Most of the world’s meat production is based on a relatively small number of species with a long history of domestication. Opportunities to introduce new species to the pantry of an increasingly hungry world are few, but kangaroo is definitely one of them. It is abundant – probably far more so than when Europeans arrived in Australia – and it breeds in perfect synchronisation with Australia’s drought-and-flood climate cycle. When things ain’t right, roos sit tight, but when good times come they breed prolifically.

The soft-footed, environment friendly kangaroo has a venerable and safe history of being a rich source of protein. It is a very nutritious and tasty meat which is 98% fat free. Even its very modest fat content consists mainly of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and it is very low in cholesterol. In a world increasingly worrying about food safety issues in relation to farming cattle, sheep and pigs, kangaroos have growing appeal – there is no such thing as ‘mad kangaroo disease’. As well, they are not only free-range in origin, but have never been dosed with antibiotics, hormones or pesticides.

If graziers (farmers), to whatever extent, could shift from total dependence on cattle and sheep, with their attendant economic and health risks, to committing part of their grazing lands to native bush and grasslands stocked with kangaroos, there should be benefits in all directions. Kangaroos would gain in population size, distribution, and security by being valued by graziers instead of being regarded as pests. Other native species should benefit, too, because the grazier needs a healthy, biodiverse bush to sustainably produce harvestable native resources. Graziers gain through a long-term broadening of their resource base, making their incomes overall more resilient to environmental and market disasters. Consumers gain because they have a wider range of healthy natural products available to them in the markets.’
– Excerpted from Prof. Michael Archer’s and Bob Beale’s (now out-of-print) book, Going Native


GI Group: A wide range of kangaroo cuts like fillet, mince, diced kangaroo and kangaroo steak are on the Australian Heart Foundation’s TICK Shopping List and available Australia-wide in supermarkets, and exported world wide (not to the US).

For more information
Recipes, cooking tips, nutrition: www.macromeats.com
Sustainable wild harvesting: www.fate.unsw.edu.au
Contact: Peter Ampt: p.ampt@unsw.edu.au


Anonymous said...

I am appalled.

Australia must be the only country willing to eat its national symbol.

I have a rescue, release and rehabilitation license and spend much of my life preparing orphaned kangaroos to return to life in the wild.

I rarely eat meat anyway after listening to cattle in trucks on their way to the markets.

The practicality of roo meat is totally impractical. They are wild animals with a wide range do not cope well with captivity and shooting randomly destroys the structure of the mob.


Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoy eating meat that is not inspected by trained hygienists and that hangs on the back of a truck for up to two days while it gets fly blown. Oh, and as for the worms....

Anonymous said...

Humans are the most digusting cruel people.Our Wildlife are a joy to us all and hopefully our grandchildren but I doubt if many will still be around by then for them to enjoy and I hope our Grandchildren Sue the pants off us for them having no Wildlife left.
Kangaroos are the Australian Icon Please do not eat Skippy.

Anonymous said...

As someone who already eats meat (not a lot but I do eat some) I think suggesting kangaroo makes really good sense. The article explained many good reasons (for people who do eat meat) to consider kangaroo. Thanks for including it.


Anonymous said...

Interesting article - however it's wrong to value food only on it's nutritional benefits.
Also it would have been more complete if the problems with toxoplasmosis were mentioned, as the following exerpt shows:"In Australia, Toxoplasmosis and the bacterial disease, Salmonellosis are two infections with public health significance directly related to the handling, processing and consumption of kangaroo meat. The October issue of Womans' Day (1995) reported that a food-borne outbreak of toxoplasmosis caused acute clinical illnesses in 12 humans and one case of congenital chorio-retinitis (inflammation of the eye tissues) in a new born baby. The mother of the affected baby together with the 12 other people had attended a Christmas function at which rare kangaroo medallions were served. A thorough epidemiological investigation concluded that the most likely 'risk food' was the kangaroo meat."
(from http://awpc.org.au/oldsite/kangaroos/book_files/diseases.htm
- Australian Wildlife Protection Council)

Anonymous said...

Archers ridiculous reasons for eating kangaroos have long been discredited, and the last 10 years of killing kangaroos has resulted in population crashes Australia wide. This article has destroyed any credibility this GI website ever had. If you go to www.kangaroosforever.com you'll see why kangaroo meat is disgustingly unhealthy to eat.
Pat OBrien

Anonymous said...

bvsqufspwoxqI am dicusted to think that the value of yet another of our native animals has come to this. What is it with us humans we have to to distroy or exployt every thing. People come from all over the world to see our native animals. They should be tresured not eaten. Its not as if we are all starving and there is no other alternative for gods sake leave them alone. It just sickens me.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain to me just why we humans need another kind of meat to eat?
Surely people are not so bored with the variety of food available these days, that they must murder and pillage our beautiful native animals to satisfy gastronomical greed.
How discusting we must appear to other countries.


Anonymous said...

In reading the comments it would appear that not all the
ignorant and emotional "crazies" are in the USA but are alive and well entrenched in Aussie-land too. Tell me, what if we made pets out of all the birds and animals, and let them reproduce and run without any controls? Then what?

I suppose that eating all the processed foods that are available to us from our food stores is a better way to go than eating a free-range food without all of the poisonous additives and chemicals? Come on - wake up!

Anonymous said...

Kangaroo for dinner? WALLABEE DARNED!

Anonymous said...

What's the big deal? Humans have been eating roo here for 80,000 years. It's the healthiest meat there is (all the meat inspection and hygiene control is exactly the same as for every other meat). The Canadians, French, Welsh, South Africans, Kiwis et al eat their national emblem. Finally roo’s don't emit methane, sheep and cattle belch tonnes of it every day and it's 23 times worse that carbon dioxide as a global warming gas. Eat roo and save the planet!!!

Anonymous said...

The RSPCA believes that the harvestig of kangaroos is the most humane way that we currently procure our red meat. The animals are taken from areas where there are sustainable populations and must be killed by one shot to the head. In other words a "clean kill". If this does not happen then they are not accepted from the shooters who are registered and use tags supplied by the government for the purpose of tracking the shooter and the kill.
Basically the animal is free and roaming the country side one minute nad then humanely its life is over without it suffering any of the stress that our domesticated animals go through.
Those against roo meat should have a close look at the lives of our sheep and cattle. They are poked, prodded, dehorned, castrated, and have even more suffering inflicted on them at sale yards and the abbottoir where stress levels go through the roof as they wait to die with the stench of death in the air.
I'm a wildlife carer and I still eat roo meat, just the same as people who like to look at cute little lambs and calves eat beef and lamb.
If you want to fight against anything why not target the chicken industry where the birds live terrible but short lives.
Get real and give the whole situation a lot more thought.


Anonymous said...

how could anyone eat our roos
as a carer that raises these poor animals,i find it totaly digusting
we try our best to save these
guys there ment to be running free
not shot at then eaten
cedar creek wombat rescue

hermin said...

this seems to be a very hot topic- kangaroo meat as seen in different perspectives (nutrition, food safety, environment, ethics etc). would be great to hear what GI Group has to say about this. :)

Simon said...

To all those who support the kangaroo meat industry:

Why do you assume that those opposed to kangaroo meat support the killing of lambs, calves or any other animals? It should not come down to a choice between kangaroo meat or domestic animal meat any more than it should not be a choice between a waxed paper cup or a polystyrene cup when a ceramic mug or glass is the acceptable solution.

Why do animal killing industries get special assistance and protection by governments? Surely, the production of vegetarian food and ecologically sound products is more deserving.

It is not native or domestic animals that are breeding out of control but humans. Why do reproductively unrestrained humans receive government subsidies (family allowance) to carry out their selfish act of multiplication.

It is not animal rights activists that are "emotional crazies" but those that make statements such as "the child or the dog" and those that think that that it is unacceptable for animal rights activists to target vivisectors whereas it is acceptable for vegetarians to have to put up with torment and ridicule at school.

Why is it that animal rights activists are regarded as terrorists whereas it is "normal" to exterminate Aboriginals and Indians and exploit their land?

Hopefully, European countries will ban kangaroo meat the same way that they banned seal products.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hermin, we posted the story because we think it's important to air food issues, especially in terms of human health and sustainability for the planet. And if you read Michael Pollan's the Omnivore's Dilemma, you may not be comfy about eating corn-fed or grain-fed beef ever again. Kangaroo meat is a nutritious option (it sustained Australia's original inhabitants for some 50,000 years or more) and we would like to see a proper debate about its sustainability, food safety and ethics. We do appreciate it's an issue people feel strongly about, but all the more reason for reasonable debate. However, we think we'll stick to carbs in future!

Moby Dick said...

I have never liked Kangaroos, I think they are as annoying as pandas, and I would love to eat some 'Roo steak.

The Chinese eat all their dogs, so by comparison it is no big deal to chow on giant rats.

Cath said...

Kangaroo meat is great. It's not only healthy, it's much better for our environment than cattle or sheep, and possible the most cruelty-free meat available. Do you want ecologically sustainable practices or not? Would you rather destroy the environment with more sheep? Get a grip.

If you don't want to eat ANY meat, that's your choice. But non-vegetarians sounding off about one particular type of meat while they chow down on a steak are just hypocritical and foolish. And as for the myths about driving them to extinction, well, you should look at some actual statistics. And the regulations. Roos are inspected for health, and there are very tight controls on the sale of meat, for both handling and animal welfare.

And we are most certainly not the only nation to eat our national symbol. Ever heard of Coq au Vin?

I'm just amazed at the number of myths, lies and foolishness that this issue always brings up.

Anonymous said...

I eat kangaroo meat on a regular basis because it's a lot healthier and more environmental. The low fat aspect and no pesticide use with kanagroos, make it a very attractive meat option.

On an environmental level: kangaroos have been harvested by Aboriginal people for thousands of years; they have less impact on the land; they don't emit as much global warming methane as cows; and in some places the numbers are higher because of farm dams and improved pasture. They are also adapted to Australia's drought and flood cycles, and if there isn't predation from humans, the numbers do build-up to unnaturally high levels, which can then cause damage to native vegetation.

I object more to the carcasses being wasted or being used in pet food if culling is required - which it is.

However, I also appreciate the animal rights critics - even if they sometimes exagerate their points. I think it's very healthy for the kangaroo industry to be kept in check.

But I think animal rights activists need to acknowledge that many domestic animals, such as cows, suffer a lot more with being taken to abbatoirs to be killed. Whereas kangaroos don't suffer that stress when they are professionally harvested.

On the bacteria level, I just cook kangaroo well with lots of wine and fruit sauces. Most of my Aboriginal friends like cooking kangaroo in stews. It's great, and I've never had a problem!

But I am concerned about animal welfare, and I'm glad animal rights activists are there as well keeping an eye on things.

Cheers, John X.