- Kangaroo meat
. It is produced in Australia from wild animals and is exported to over 55 countries worldwide. [Background information Commercial kangaroo and wallaby harvest quotas, http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/publications/kangaroo/quotas-background-2007.html]
Kangaroo is produced only from free ranging wild animals living on land owned by people and not produced by organised farming. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7551125.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7551125.stm] ] Both the meat and the
hidesare sold. Although most species of macropodare protected from hunting by law, a small number of the large-sized species which exist in high numbers can be hunted by commercial hunters. [ [http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/wild-harvest/kangaroo/biology.html#kancons Kangaroo Biology ] ] This policy has been criticized by some wildlife activists. [ [http://www.savethekangaroo.com/ SaveTheKangaroo.com ] ] On the other hand the kangaroo harvest is supported by a wide range of professional ecologists in Australia. Groups such as the Ecological Society of Australia, the Australasian Wildlife Management Society and the Australian Mammal Society have position statements in favour of kangaroo harvesting. Such groups argue that basing agricultural production systems on native animals rather than introduced livestock like sheep offers considerable ecological advantages to the fragile Australian rangelands[The kangaroo industry - ecologists and conservationists http://www.kangaroo-industry.asn.au/media/sci_list.html] .
Though it is impossible to determine the exact number, population estimates are calculated each year by the government conservation agency in each state. Nearly 40 years of refinement has led to the development of sophisticated aerial survey techniques which enable overall populations estimates to be constructed [Commercial Harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/wild-harvest/kangaroo/harvesting/index.html] . Current estimates indicate that there may be between 35 to 50 million kangaroos in Australia. [ [http://www.yptenc.org.uk/docs/factsheets/animal_facts/aus_wildlife2.html Factsheet: Australian Wildlife 2] ] In 2002 the number of kangaroos allowed to be shot by commercial hunters was increased from 5.5 million to 7 million per year. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1834061.stm BBC News | Kangaroo cull targets millions] ] While animal rights activists protested the move, Australian farmers claimed that kangaroos were a plague after a huge increase in their numbers. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2002/s641771.htm Graziers call for mass kangaroo cull] ] A 2002 report studying the grazing pressure caused by kangaroos indicated that scientific evidence is lacking that kangaroos reduce wool production or sheep carrying capacity. [ [http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view.php?pid=UQ:10246 Conservation Benefit from Harvesting Kangaroos: Status Report at the Start of a New Millennium - A Paper to Stimulate Discussion and Research] ] In 2007 the national kangaroo culling quota was more than 3.5 million
There has been recent discussion from the kangaroo meat industry about attempting to introduce a specific
culinary namefor kangaroo meat, similar to the reference to pigmeat as hamand pork. In 2005 the "Food Companion International" magazine, with support from the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, ran a competition hoping to find a name that wouldn't put diners off when they saw it on a menu. The kangaroo meat industry suffers from the perception of some consumers that kangaroos are cute and/or not suitable for human consumption. The idea of adopting a culinary name was taken from the success of calling deermeat venison, to avoid connotations of cuteness or references to "eating Skippy".
The three-month competition attracted over 2700 entries from 41 nations, and the name australus was decided in December 2005. Other finalists for the name included kangarly, maroo, krou, maleen, kuja, roujoe, rooviande, jurru, ozru, marsu, kangasaurus, marsupan, jumpmeat, and MOM (meat of
marsupials). [cite news|url = http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/australus-the-dish-kangaroo/2005/12/19/1134840798480.html |title = Australus: a palatable name for our Skippy|date = 2005-12-20|publisher = The Age |first = Orietta |last = Guerrera| accessdate = 2008-08-26]
The competition is not binding on the Kangaroo Industry Association, which has not moved to adopt the new name in any official capacity.
Traditional Aboriginal use
Kangaroo formed an important part of the traditional Aboriginal diet as a
Kangaroo is called "Kere aherre" by the
Arrerntepeople of Central Australia:
You find kangaroos in flat country or
mulgacountry. In the old days, people used to sool their dogs on them and spear them. The milk guts are pulled out and a wooden skewer is used to close up the carcase. Then it is tossed on top of the fire to singe the hair which is scraped off, and then it's (put in a hole and) covered up with hot earth and coals. The tail and both feet are cut off before cooking. These are put in together with the rest of the carcase.
The kangaroo is chopped up so that many people can eat it. The warm blood and fluids from the gluteus medius and the hollow of the thoracic cavity are drained of all fluids. People drink these fluids, which studies have shown are quite harmless. Kangaroos are cut in a special way; into the two thighs, the two hips, the two sides of ribs, the stomach, the head, the tail, the two feet, the back and lower back. This is the way the Arrernte people everywhere cut it up. [ Turner, Margaret-Mary, "Arrernte Foods:Foods from Central Australia", IAD Press, Alice Springs, 1994, ISBN 0-949659-76-2 , pp42-43]
* [http://www.reason.com/blog/show/122939.html Reason Magazine]
* [http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/skippysizeme/ Skippy Size Me] 2004 ABC report on kangaroo industry
* [http://www.kangaroo-industry.asn.au/ Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia]
* [http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=78117 National Nine News - Australus could sweeten 'roo meat taste]
* [http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/australus-the-dish-kangaroo/2005/12/19/1134840798480.html The Age - Australus: a palatable name for our Skippy]
* [http://www.rirdc.gov.au/pub/kangaroo5yr.html Kangaroo Industry Strategic Plan 2005-2010]
* [http://ecoworldly.com/2008/10/03/aussies-may-unusually-adopt-kangaroo-meat-diet-to-fight-climate-change/ Australians may adopt kangaroo meat diet to fight climate change]
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