The kangaroo is a symbol of Australia, appearing on the Australian coat of arms and is an important part of the national culture and image. The harvest and consumption of kangaroo meat has been met with both praise and outcry.
History of kangaroo meat
Kangaroo meat has been traditionally eaten by Aboriginal Australians for generations.
Kangaroo population management
Kangaroo population is estimated to be around 50 million. Australian state governments have programs in place: NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and ACT. Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy have described “kangaroos as pests, kangaroos as a resource”. Culling quotas are set in place annually proportionate to estimated populations.
Australians have been urged to eat kangaroo (BBC) with meat often wasted due to lack of demand.
Kangaroo meat has been promoted as a sustainable choice (Oxford Academic, sciencealert). Arguments made highlight the abundance of kangaroo meat as opposed to farmed meat with a greater ecological footprint, particularly beef (The Guardian).
Kangaroo meat is a lean red meat high in protein, iron, zinc and low in fat (Men’sHealth).
Hygiene of kangaroo meat has been raised into question (SMH).
Kangaroo has been described as having a “bold, savoury and earthy flavour” (ABC).
In October 2018, a Nebraska Public School Cook was fired after serving kangaroo meat to students (Time).
There have been strong criticisms of the kangaroo meat industry by some Aboriginal leaders, as detailed in this article.
Other criticisms and bans have tended to focus on questions about animal welfare. California has banned kangaroo imports.