Kangaroo Feast

The Other Red Meat


Kangaroo: It's what's for dinner. Or it will be a lot more often, if Greenpeace gets its way.

In an October report, Greenpeace Australia argued that kangaroo is a more environmentally friendly meat than beef, since cows emit methane when they break wind. The paper's author, Mark Diesendorf, estimated that replacing beef with kangaroo just 20 percent of the time would eliminate 15 megatons of greenhouse gases by 2020. "Kangaroos do not emit greenhouse gases," he told Australia's Herald Sun. "They are not hooved animals either, so they don't damage the soil."

Kangaroo—or australus, as some have suggested it should be called when it appears on the dinner table —is also low in fat; high in protein, iron, and zinc; and very flavorful. So why isn't there already a worldwide craze for eating these green wonder beasts?

Harvest and export of kangaroo meat is tightly controlled in Australia, where the bouncy beasts are sometimes dinner but always a symbol of Aussie pride. Under national law, only about 3 million kangaroos can be harvested each year.

John Kelly, spokesman for the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, told the Herald Sun that perfectly edible kangaroos invading farmers' crops—they're considered something of a pest in their native land—were already being illegally shot. "They are being culled and left to rot," he said. The animals outnumber human Australians by about 4 million, so loosening up the harvest quota should still leave the country with more than a few roos to spare.