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Kangaroo meat: much better for environment

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Eating Kangaroo could significanly cut our greenhouse gas emissions

Kangaroos

Credit: iStockphoto

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SYDNEY: Skippy could be increasingly on the menu following a new report that expanding the kangaroo industry would significantly cut Australian greenhouse gases.

A paper in the journal Conservation Letters says reducing cattle and sheep populations and increasing the kangaroo numbers to 175 million by 2020 would lower greenhouse gas emissions by 16 megatonnes, or three per cent of Australia's total emissions.

Greenhouse impact

The paper's lead author – George Wilson of the University of New South Wales in Sydney – said a proposal to reduce sheep and cattle numbers on the rangelands by 30 per cent should be considered.

"Sheep and cattle constitute 11 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions," said Wilson who is involved with the university's Future of Australian Terrestrial Ecosystems (FATE) project. "Kangaroos, however, produce relatively little methane because they are not ruminants."

Mike Archer, UNSW dean of science and a long time advocate for sustainably farming Australian bush 'tucker', said that kangaroo can be promoted as a means of increasing health, wealth and happiness.

"Eating more kangaroo has an incredible array of benefits, for our environment, for dietary health and as a tasty red meat," he said. "The soft padded feet of kangaroos are far kinder to the land than the hooves of sheep and cattle, which have caused untold damage and consequent land erosion."

Open to trying it

Kangaroos emit one-third as much methane as ruminant animals, such as cows or goats, which are responsible for 60 per cent of global methane emissions. Like carbon dioxide, methane is a greenhouse gas that is significantly contributing to global warming.

In the past decade, the proportion of Australians eating kangaroo meat has risen from 51 to 58.5 per cent, according to a recent national survey conducted by the FATE project.

Around 15 per cent of Australians are regular consumers of kangaroo meat, eating it four or more times per year, while more than 50 per cent of people have tried it (33 per cent) or are open to trying it (21 per cent).

With Univeristy of New South Wales