Kangaroo: It's What's for Dinner

In a report released yesterday, Greenpeace suggests dining on kangaroo, a far more environmentally-friendly red meat than beef.

Report author Dr Mark Diesendorf said reducing beef consumption by 20 per cent and putting Skippy on the dinner plate instead would cut 15 megatonnes of greenhouses gases from the atmosphere by 2020.

"Kangaroos do not emit greenhouse gases. They are not hooved animals either so they don't damage the soil,'' Dr Diesendorf said.

Obviously, I'm on the meat/methane beat these days. But I, for one, support Dr. Diesendorf. Kangaroo is delicious. For those squeamish about eating roo, there was a movement to start calling the meat "australus" after Food Companion International magazine held a contest to give it a culinary name (think "beef" for cow and "pork" for pig). If it catches on, that should help.

So what's the problem (other than wimpy eaters)? It seems that kangaroo meat is tightly controlled in Australia:

The Greenpeace report has renewed calls for Victoria to lift a ban on harvesting roos for food.

Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia spokesman John Kelly said roos invading farmers' crops were already being illegally shot.

"They are being culled and left to rot," Mr Kelly said.

For more, check out my upcoming article in Doublethink about my quest to eat as many beasts as possible. It includes a recipe for kangaroo in fig sauce that was one of the best meals I've ever cooked. Of course, I still haven't had springbok.

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  • Fluffy||

    So wait - kangaroos don't fart?

    Truly a marvel of evolution!

  • ||

    ...Food Companion International magazine held a contest to give it a culinary name (think "beef" for cow and "pork" for pig).

    Would it help? The culinary names for most meats are just corruptions of the French words for the animals. "Boeuf" means cow, and "porc" means pig. As well, mutton="mouton"=sheep.

    The French for kangaroo, however, is just "kangourou." So...

  • ||

    Haven't tried it yet. Sounds like good eating. we've got a llama and emu farm down the road here. I'd be cool to see roos hopping around that place.

  • ||

    Fluffy

    I probably shouldn't, but no, kangaroos are not ruminants so they don't produce the copious amounts of methane that cattle (and other ruminants do).

    And to reiterate what I said in the other thread, the problem is not cow farts, it is cow burps. But, hey, that would get in the way of juvenile humor (or someone's ideological whipping boy) wouldn't it?

  • ed||

    I'd eat one just out of spite.

  • ||

    And, yes, kangaroo meat is tasty.

  • ||

    And what about koala meat?

  • ||

    Kangaroos?? Pshaww...Soylent Green solves even more problems!

  • Episiarch||

    I too share the desire to eat as many different kinds of animal as possible. I have not had the opportunity to have kangaroo. I have eaten bear, though, and that rocks.

  • Bhamba||

    apparently kangaroos don't respire either, since CO2 and H2O were greenhouse gases last I checked.

    The medical world should investigate this miracle.

  • ||

    "For more, check out my upcoming article in Doublethink about my quest to eat as many beasts as possible."
    It's nice to know Mangu-Ward has set such lofty goals for herself.

    MW has great fun poking at those strange oddballs that believe in something strongly and talking about it a lot (ethical eaters of various stripes) while writing for a magazine that caters to a group that most people who do not belong to it also see as strange extremist speech-giving oddballs.

  • ||

    Before responses come in, I should of course mention that I myself don't see the libertarian movement as exclusively made up of pseudo-fanatical nutjobs. In fact I think there is a respectable (though at times wrong) philosophy underlying it and that it's admirable that its adherents believe in something so strongly. Of course, I feel the same way about vegans, vegetarians, etc..

  • Episiarch||

    So, Mr. Nice Guy, I take it you're a vegetarian? BOO HISS

  • ||

    When settlers first landed on Australia and saw the kangaroo they tried to ask the natives about it. In the native language, 'kan ga roo' means 'I Don't understand you'

    I read that somewhere. It could be bullshit

  • ||

    I've been thinking for a long time that we could do a great deal to help the environment just by letting grocery stores package and sell venison brought to them by hunters.

    Zero pollution and carbon emitted as they are raised.

    Zero antibiotics introduced into the ecosystem, or breeding resistant bacteria.

    Reduction of what has become an overpopulated species, due to human-induced eliminiation of their predators and provision of their preferred habitat (deer love suburbs).

  • ||

    "So, Mr. Nice Guy, I take it you're a vegetarian? BOO HISS"

    I'm not, but I respect people who think about the morals of their everday actions and try to act upon it, and I actually think it is very likely ehtically correct to give up meat as much as one can. I'm just too morally weak to do it every meal.

    Boo hiss? To vegetarians? One may agree or not with it, but boo hiss? These are your villians? Grow up.

  • suffering||

    Let's make more animals suffer for our pleasure in the name of "being green". give me a break. this planet is fucking doomed.

  • Episiarch||

    joe has a good point, but then we would get into the buffalo situation because the deer are not privately owned. The state would still have bag limits, which would help, but I think poaching would occur because of the profit motive. Still, deer are super-plentiful and would be a great source of meat.

    Plus, I love venison and being able to buy some in the store whenever I feel like it rather than waiting out in the cold to drill one during a three-week window would be sweet.

  • ||

    Joe- I think you've got a good idea there. BTW-Around here, there are specialty butcher shops that sell venison from deer that hunters have killed. These same shops allow hunters to donate a percentage of the meat harvested from their kills.

    What sort of climate do roos need to thrive? Is kanragooculture possible in the U.S.?

    Of course, if we just ate surplus humans, we could do a lot for the environment.

  • Episiarch||

    Boo hiss? To vegetarians? One may agree or not with it, but boo hiss? These are your villians? Grow up.

    Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick, lighten up. It was a joke. I guess your sense of humor is as weak as your moral ability to say no to meat.

  • ||

    Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick, lighten up. It was a joke.I guess your sense of humor is as weak as your moral ability to say no to meat.


    ZING!

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    It's the deer's hardiness in the new landscape we've created that makes them seem like a good subject. Unlike Buffalo, their numbers are growing in contemporary America.

    suffering,

    Wild animals culled once they're well into adulthood, as a replacement for factory-farm-raised beef, would represent a massive reduction in the amount of suffering involved in providing the same amount of food.

  • thoreau||

    I've been harsh on KMW in the past, but she has good food blogging.

    And she introduced us to lobster girl.

    I repent of my criticisms.

  • Christ on a Cracker||

    "... They are not hooved animals either so they don't damage the soil,'' Dr Diesendorf said

    Where did that come from? I guess the hooves are just another reason we are supposed to feel guilty.

  • ed||

    letting grocery stores package and sell venison brought to them by hunters

    They do that in Africa. It's called bush meat. I think AIDS started that way.
    Why does joe hate us?

  • ||

    "Kangaroos do not emit greenhouse gases. They are not hooved animals either so they don't damage the soil,'' Dr Diesendorf said.

    Kangaroos might produce less methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor than cows do, but they do produce some as Fluffy and Bhamba pointed out. When a researcher confuses "less" with "zero", I become skeptical.

  • Ryo||

    I'm no climate scientist but I had the perception that animals add to global warming is wrong. Generally, plants sequester CO2 in order to grow/live. Animals eat those plants, digest them and release CO2 back. Net effect on the environment: zero.

    Certain ranching techniques might be net CO2 contributers, and I gather cattle ranching is more energy intensive than kangaroo ranching. In that respect, it probably would be better for the environment. Still, the idea that kangaroos would be better because they emit less gas is, well, bull.

    Also, I liked this bit from the article:
    They are shot with high-powered guns between the eyes at night.
    Why the addition of "at night"? Is it more humane because the kangaroos would be sleepy?

  • Jesse Walker||

    Kangaroo is tasty, but steak and lamb chops are tastier. Still, let's deregulate Skippy-harvesting; I'm happy to let the market decide.

  • ||

    Wild animals culled once they're well into adulthood, as a replacement for factory-farm-raised beef, would represent a massive reduction in the amount of suffering involved in providing the same amount of food.

    I only have venison like once a year, but that's a point that I've tried to stress when people ask if I feel bad for the deer. I tell them that the deer had a much "happier" life and more humane death than their steak did.

  • Episiarch||

    However, joe, your idea would face stiff resistance from Big Gardening. Think of how much money they make from people buying new plants to replace the ones the deer eat.

  • Tym||

  • ed||

    What about iguanas? They're becoming a big problem here in South Florida. A dog-sized one walked right past me the other day with very little regard and took a human-sized dump on our pool deck. I threatened him and he shrugged impudently. If they taste like chicken I say we eat 'em all.

  • Episiarch||

    and took a human-sized dump on our pool deck

    Dude, that was me. Sorry.

    "I'm not the same Jerri Blank who informed on those blind orphans. I'm not the same Jerri Blank who revealed the hiding place of those Guatemalans... such as yourself. And I'm not the same Jerri Blank who took a crap in the Fleishmann's holly bushes... last night."

  • ||

    Whatever happened to "Emu - The Cattle of the Future"? Not enough subsidies??

  • ||

    It Takes Two Hands To Handle The Hopper®

    I swear I once read something about a 'roo burger that was really called that, but it might have been a joke.

  • ||

    jtuf

    Ruminants produce methane because of the way they digest their food. Other animals do not.

  • ||

    Kangaroo is mad tasty. Marinate it and put it on Kebabs for an alliterative treat.

  • ||

    For more, check out my upcoming article in Doublethink about my quest to eat as many beasts as possible.



    Yay! I'm not the only one! "Never pass up a chance to eat a new type of animal" has been one of my rules to live by for some years now. If you're ever in Oregon some September, KMW, don't miss the Imnaha Bear and Rattlesnake Feed (assuming you haven't already crossed those two off your list).

  • VM||

    Isaac:

    i sorry. we can't help it...

    *snifs.

  • ||

    Unlike Buffalo, their numbers are growing in contemporary America.



    Au contraire! In Eastern Oregon (where I grew up), they've been ranching buffalo for some time now; as a result, the number of buffalo in the U.S. has been rapidly increasing.

    And you just haven't lived until you've eaten a buffalo burger. My salivary glands are kicking in just thinking about it.

  • ||

    39 comments and no refernces to Jack in the Box? I'm surprised.

  • ||

    So, how do Viking Mooses feel about joe's market hunting proposal?

  • ||

    joe @ 11:58
    Travel to Michigan in about another month. You'll be able to find all the Venison you want (I'm not sure about the price, let's just say it's less than beef) for sale at any country gas station.

  • ||

    Whatever happened to "Emu - The Cattle of the Future"?



    They're still being ranched, and it's relatively easy (though still takes a bit of footwork) to find 'em on menus around here. Are folks not in the West unable to find emu meat?

    It's absolutely delicious, by the way. Goddammit, when's lunch?

  • ||

    Would it help? The culinary names for most meats are just corruptions of the French words for the animals. "Boeuf" means cow, and "porc" means pig.

    Someone from Ottawa should damn well know that boeuf is beef and vache is cow, porc is pork and cochon is pig.

  • ||

    ed,

    Iguana is fairly disgusting. And I eat most anything. Rank and rotted tasting. If you want to get into reptiles, alligator is the way to go.

  • ||

    Episiarch and joe -

    Why not just allow deer to be ranched, like those Oregon buffalo? All we'd have to do is get rid of that stupid law defining them as "game animals" and banning private ownership. Let the ranchers figure out how to best care for them and increase their numbers.

    That idea could work for other "game animals" (like elk) as well... though I don't think I'd want to try being the first bear rancher.

    And once the veterinarians are all caught up with deer vaccinations, that family in Molalla can raise their deer. It's a win-win!

  • ||

    Not that I am against eating Kangaroo but this smacks of "cure worse than disease".

    Biologists, please correct me if I am wrong but cow and Buffalo are both ruminants, meaning they a)have multiple stomachs and b)re-chew their food after partial digestion. What this means is they can extract far more total nutrient content from the grasses they feed on than any other form of food animal. In order to "farm" enough kangaroos to replace any measurable amount of beef would require a rather large land tract and I just don't see how any ruminant based industry would be able to transition.

    That having been said, being that Australia doesn't exactly have a booming cattle industry but possesses loads of natural kangaroo habitat, I say free range kangaroo should be a natural in that part of the world, I just don't see it replacing hoofed methane producers on the worldwide menu anytime soon.

  • ||

    Kwix,

    Good points, except that Australia does, in fact, have a booming cattle industry.

    I'm not sure exactly where it stands, but it's way up in the ranks of beef exporters.

    Their beef does not have much appeal with Americans though, since it is grass-fed.

  • ||

    Jake,

    True enough, but I was talking about surviving in the wild.

    As for the recommendations about finding venison - it's great that the country stores in Bumblefuck county have it available, but that's not really going to make a perceptable difference in meat-raising patterns. It needs to be ground and in steaks in the Stop and Shop in South Boston for that.

  • ||

    Jake Boone,

    That's interesting, but it sort of defeats the purpose. If deer are being raised like cattle, then the benefits to the environment (for example, letting them browse and fee themselves instead of bringing in feed becasue they're penned instead of them ) are lost.

  • ||

    Farm raised deer is probably feasable. I know that reindeer is just a domesticated cariboo.

  • ||

    There is also a problem with Chronic Wasting Disease in penned deer. It is also present in some wild populations but is mostly a problem where population densities are excessive.

  • Chuck||

    ed--

    Iguanas prefer to poop in water, so I'm surprised he didn't get into your pool to do his business (that's why I don't let ours into the lanai). Consider yourself lucky.

    I doubt iguana meat is very tasty--they have virtually zero fat, so I would think it would be pretty tough and stringy. They are standard fare in parts of central america, though, so maybe your local Guatemalan can give you some cooking tips.

  • ||

    I'd break my (formerly-principled) vegetarianism to eat a kangaroo, but only if it looked as cute as the one in the photo above. And if I could make it like me before I killed it.

    Yeah, I'm not a very nice vegetarian. (Not nice to animals, anyway.)

  • Allen||

    Kwix --> You answered the question I had, what advantages are their to cows stomachs and the type of crops they consume. I was guessing they emit those gases for a reason. And whenever a green group is focused on saying "X emits less gases than A" I'm very leary of it. I suspect they're not looking at the whole picture like how much meat is produced for that gas.

    I also thought there were issues with trying to farm kangaroos. Are there any domesticated versions?

  • Allen||

    J. Boone --> There are a limited number of Elk farms. Elk, like any wild animal, present a lot of issues when trying to use them domestically versus being able to run around like they're pre-programmed to do.

  • ||

    Not only do they not emit greenhouse gases, they do their best to stop others from doing so, too.

  • Geoff Nathan||

    Oh well, I guess it's time for (one of) the linguist(s) on the list to chime in and bore all of you.
    The English words pork, beef, veal, mutton are borrowed from Norman French, the French spoken by William the Conqueror when he and his gang invaded England in 1066. The existing Anglo-Saxon words pig, cow/bull, calf, sheep stuck around, but, since speaking French was hoity toity and Middle English was low class, the fancy Old French words stuck for the names of food, and the Anglo-Saxon words specialized to mean just the animal.
    And there are, of course, exceptions--chicken refers both to the critter and the food. We use the Old French word too--pullet, but it's got a very specialized meaning. Other edible animals just get one name: goat, duck, goose, kangaroo... Even if the Normans ate them. (there were probably not many kangaroos at Hastings...)

    Geoff

  • bill||

    I love how roos got their name. When Europeans got to Australia they saw these funny animals and asked the aborigines what they were called. The natives responded "Kan ghu ru", which means "I don't understand you". Priceless.

  • VM||

    Geoff - what about mutton = lamb/sheep (sheap? ha ha) (AUS, NZ, SA, etc); = goat (JAM, IND, etc)

    cheers

  • ||

    That picture is hilarious. Also, 'roo is good. Ditto for ostrich.

  • ed||

    Iguanas prefer to poop in water

    Well, this one cozied up to the edge and left it about 3" from the water, looking at me all the while with his smart-ass iguana grin.

  • ||

    I recommend this site to a lot of friends, but now I'm shivering in fear that they will come here and find a in-depth discussion of iguana shit.

  • Cartman\'s Mom||

    So, I'd like the $100 up front to star in the Iguana Scheisse video. Will they be wearing leather?

  • ed||

    That's just the tip of the turd, Tom.

  • ||

    Iguana, if you made a German Scheisse movie, you'd tell us, right?

  • Geoff Nathan||

    Don't know why the antipodean colonists use 'mutton' for goats--the etymology is clearly from the OF word for 'ram raised for slaughter' Note that the word has a specialized meaning in OF which it lost in Modern French. This is quite common in language change--the word dog meant a species of hound in Old English--the OE generic word was hund, the origin of modern 'hound', and the terms have almost switched places.
    The story about kangaroo meaning 'I don't know' may be apocryphal--apparently there's no Aboriginal language left in which the word actually occurs in any meaning. Of course, many Aboriginal languages are extinct without record, so we're stuck...

  • ||

    I've just checked my French dictionary. In modern French, "boeuf" can mean steer as well as ox. "Porc" still means pig or hog.

    Another one: veal comes from "veau" (calf).

  • M||

    something about a 'roo burger that was really called that


    Served in a pocket-pita?

  • ||

    Why the addition of "at night"? Is it more humane because the kangaroos would be sleepy?



    Unlike the US night hunting is legal in Australia (or at least in some states). Shooting kangaroos after locating them with a spotlight is quite popular. I believe if you tried that hunting deer in any US state you would find yourself in serious trouble.

    Since so many animals are nocturnal hunting with a spotlight at night is remarkably effective.

  • Chuck||

    I recommend this site to a lot of friends, but now I'm shivering in fear that they will come here and find a in-depth discussion of iguana shit.


    The uniqueness of the conversations is what makes this board my favorite, even if I don't get to post often. I learn something every day. For example, today I learned that kangaroos don't fart (much). You never know when that little tidbit might come in handy.

    Oh yeah, we have had our pet iguana for about 11 or 12 years now, so if you need to know more about iguana shit, just ask. (No, I don't have any iguana scheiss videos)

  • ||

    "So what's the problem (other than wimpy eaters)?"

    Call me a wimp all you like but eating a kangaroo is like eating Bambi's mom.

  • VM||

    Ooh. Right, Chuck. I get it.

    Can I buy one of your home videos that just happen to have the pet iguana in it? $10...

    $15


    Chuck... CHUCK!!!!!

    [runs off after Chuck]
    CHUCKY!!! May I call you Chucky?? $20. Final offer...

  • ||

    Ken Shultz | October 11, 2007, 6:52pm | #
    "So what's the problem (other than wimpy eaters)?"

    Call me a wimp all you like but eating a kangaroo is like eating Bambi's mom.

    Tasty but tough??

  • ||

    Issac,
    Thank you, I stand corrected on the state of the Aussie cattle industry. Me personally, I prefer grass fed beef as it tastes, well, more beefy to me.

  • ||

    Call me a wimp all you like but eating a kangaroo is like eating Bambi's mom.



    Ken, while it is hard to get hunters to shoot anything that does not have a "trophy rack", more modern game management has dictated that many more does need to be culled in the annual harvest. Those who actually like the taste of venison have found that the meat from does is more tender than that of bucks.

    Look, I'll admit it is tough to shoot "Bambi's Mom" (I did it myself, in spite of having doe permits available) but the fact is that by the beginning of hunting season the yearlings that are still hanging around with their mothers are perfectly capable of functioning without them.

    This combination of "trophy envy" and "Bambi's Mom sentimentality" are serious enemies to rational game management practices today.

    In Australia roos (my brother is a grazier and a professor of agriculture there) are a pest. They can't, for the most part, kill them fast enough.

  • ||

    Kwix

    My father (a pre-WWII career naval officer) was the Supply Officer on a heavy cruiser in the South-West Pacific 1943-4. In that capacity he took delivery of several pounds (maybe tons) of Australian beef for the "cruise". The cooks did nothing but complain about having to butcher it and the sailors complained about how it was "nothing like the beef back home".

    But of course once they were under fire the complaints stopped. Or, at least, the cooks and the gunners had other things to complain about besides the color of the fat in beefsteaks.

  • Chuck||

    OK, VM, $20 it is. Plus shipping and handling. But only my mother calls me Chucky.

  • Fatty||

    Try Zot in Philly for awesome kangaroo steak, amazing sauces, and great Belgian beers. The kanga steak I had there was literally one of the top five steaks I've had in my life, of all animal varieties. Roo is tasty.

  • ||

    KMW must have CDs full of the cutest clip art ever.

  • aditi||

    Kangaroo meat is prepared for human usage from any breed of free-range kangaroo. Non-public landowners can rear free range kangaroo herds on their property and hunt then with respect to their demands. According to Australian policies, all professional kangaroo meat is produced only from free-ranging wild animals that live wild on personal land or on land owned by private owners. This method was introduced to make sure that growing of wild animals could be done to keep their quantities under control. There are at current over 35-50 million kangaroos in Australia and professional hunters are allowed to cull 5.5 million to 7 million kangaroos per year from this wild herd.Here you can find all kangaroo meat Supplier and sea foods supplier and game meat supplier also.
    http://www.expatdeli.com/.

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