Kangaroo: It's What's for Dinner in Australia

By Nina Bai | October 2, 2008 1:26 pm

kangaroo

Hungry for a kanga-burger? Replacing beef and mutton with kangaroo meat could significantly cut down on ruminant livestock emissions, according to a new report commissioned by the Australian government. Bovine belching is a massive source of methane emissions. But while a single cow can produce 300 to 500 liters of methane gas per day— enough to inflate 80 party balloons—kangaroos produce almost none. In other words, if cattle were Hummers, kangaroos would be Priuses.

As we’ve reported previously, Australian scientists have tried to fix the problem by transferring digestive bacteria from kangaroos into the guts of livestock. But this new report suggests that switching right to kangaroo meat could be a better move.

A potential model cited by the report would replace 7 million sheep and 36 million cattle with 175 million kangaroos by 2020, allowing Australia to cut about 16 megatons of carbon emissions every year. As the price of emission permits increases, kangaroo harvesting would become a lot cheaper than livestock farming. Kangaroos are hardier than livestock, and could better handle the effects of climate change like decreased water supply. They would be the ideal free range animal and yield meat that is high in protein and low in fat.

Still, there’s the 175 million kangaroo question: Will anyone eat it?

Australia’s Food Companion magazine thought the name may be the key factor in selling kangaroo to consumers. So in 2005, they held a naming contest to pick a more palatable title. Here are a few entries we liked: kangarly, maroo, marsupan, jumpmeat, or MOM (meat of marsupials).

Out of over 2,700 entries, the winning name was australus, though the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia has yet to adopt it officially.

What would you like your kangaroo meat called?

Image: Flickr/ natmeister

MORE ABOUT: Australia, kangaroo, methane
  • http://www.jonathannguyen.net Jonathan Nguyen

    Hey Nina

    Kangaroo meat is great! Requires some precision in cooking though because it’s so lean.

  • Tyler Pittmon

    wallabeef

  • http://leftwingfox.blogspot.com Left_Wing_Fox

    Actually, there is apparently research being done into the differences in bacteria found in kangaroos and cattle. Apparently kangaroo bacteria use a reductive metabolic pathway that produces acetic acid instead of methane as the primary byproduct. It’s hoped that by engineering the gut flora of cattle, they can not only reduce methane emissions, but increase the amount of food energy cows process; since they can digest acetic acid.

    Short term though, it’s a good idea to consume local wildlife sustainably instead of driving them out to make room for imported ones.

  • TFYOV

    The colossal inanity of the concept leaves me confounded for appropriate words. Have those responsible really not heard about veggie burgers and seitan? Do they really want to do the right thing for our environment or, in their incredulous scientific service, are they attempting to fit an insignificant finding to an application?
    “What would you like your kangaroo meat called?”, now that says a lot. Is there some problem calling it what it is? Perhaps the problem is that when one says “kangaroo” they get this image of a cute animal and then realize it was killed, slaughtered, butchered, burnt and slapped onto a plate for their enjoyment. I suppose there are some that have no problem with the imagery, then there are some who had no problem consuming “long pork” also.
    The enviro-poseurs should do some actual reading of how best to combat bovine methane emission, put down the “hamburger” and go veg.

  • http://questgarden.com/!australia rebecca

    it’s good

  • olivia

    dat sounds super good right now

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