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Why Are Australians Being Told to Eat Kangaroo Meat?

Kangaroos are revered in Australia. The lovable hopper appears with an emu on the country’s Commonwealth Coat of Arms, a 1912-era seal that identifies the authority of the government and its courts, and appears on Australian passports, government buildings and some 50-cent coins. Now, kangaroos are a problem in Australia -- populations have gone from 27 million in 2010 to 45 million in 2016, and ecologists are concerned. To help cull their numbers, they suggest Australians develop a taste for kangaroo, rather than let the meat go to waste.

Imagine eating bald eagles:

  • A decade of wet conditions throughout Australia has fueled the population explosion. Humans also helped by eliminating several natural predators, such as the dog-like thylacine.
  • There are twice as many kangaroos as people in Australia. Many Australian states have implemented controversial quotas and regulations for humane culling of the animals, but it’s been a hard sell.
  • Proponents of kangaroo hunting say kangaroo meat is lower in fat than traditional beef, or other livestock. Their hides are good sources of leather.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are Australians encouraged to eat kangaroo meat?

Australians are encouraged to eat kangaroo meat primarily for environmental and health reasons. Kangaroos produce minimal methane compared to cattle and sheep, making their meat a more sustainable choice. Additionally, kangaroo meat is lean, high in protein, and rich in iron and omega-3s, offering a healthier alternative to traditional red meats.

Is kangaroo meat environmentally friendly?

Yes, kangaroo meat is considered environmentally friendly. Kangaroos require less water and feed than domestic livestock, and they naturally graze on native vegetation, reducing the need for land clearing. Their soft feet also cause less soil damage compared to the hard hooves of cattle and sheep, helping to maintain the ecosystem's balance.

How does eating kangaroo meat benefit the ecosystem?

Eating kangaroo meat benefits the ecosystem by helping to manage kangaroo populations, which can grow large and impact the environment if not controlled. Harvesting kangaroos for meat is part of a regulated culling program that aims to maintain ecological balance, protect agricultural lands, and support biodiversity by preventing overgrazing.

What are the nutritional benefits of kangaroo meat?

Kangaroo meat is highly nutritious, offering a range of health benefits. It is a lean source of protein, low in saturated fats, and has high levels of iron, zinc, and B vitamins. The meat also contains long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and reducing inflammation.

Is the harvesting of kangaroos for meat regulated?

Yes, the harvesting of kangaroos for meat is strictly regulated by Australian government authorities to ensure sustainability and animal welfare. Quotas are set based on population surveys to ensure that only a certain percentage of the kangaroo population is culled, maintaining healthy numbers and minimizing ecological impact.

How does kangaroo meat compare to beef in terms of greenhouse gas emissions?

Kangaroo meat is far superior to beef in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Kangaroos produce negligible amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, compared to cattle. According to research, methane from livestock accounts for a significant portion of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, so switching to kangaroo meat can reduce this environmental footprint.

Discussion Comments

By anon999068 — On Oct 20, 2017

I read them all. This is my first time commenting. I love Wisegeek.

By anon998943 — On Sep 25, 2017

@dimchild: I love wiseGeek and read them all, and forward many of them to friends, but I have never commented on them, as I see no reason to do so. Maybe most other readers, who similarly refrain from commenting, feel the same way I do.

By Briana99 — On Sep 24, 2017

I'm one of the people who read WiseGeek daily and look forward to it. I've commented only once recently. I found the greatest number of comments were when the subject was tinnitus.

By dimchild — On Sep 24, 2017

@merlinus. Thanks for the information. WiseGeek has many useful information, but I wonder how many people read it. People rarely comment on the articles published here. Why?

By merlinus — On Sep 24, 2017

Indigenous Australians have been eating kangaroo for 60,000 years. Modern Australians have also been eating kangaroo for many years. Supermarkets stock kangaroo steaks and sausages in the same display cases as other red meat such as beef. It's delicious as long as it's not overcooked. Kangaroo meat is also a major ingredient in Australian pet food.

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