A reader writes:
I thought I might chime in on the thread with a suggestion from Australia: eat kangaroo meat. Kangaroos increased in numbers after European settlement due to land-clearing and are so common (estimated 50 million, versus 22 million people) that in many areas they are periodically culled to reduce numbers, because they exert pressure on the local environment, are a hazard on the roads, and compete with livestock for food.
All kangaroo meat sold comes from animals who lived freely in the wild and were killed with a rifle shot to the head by licensed shooters operating under a strict code of practice. In addition to the ethical benefits, there are numerous environmental advantages.
Kangaroos have soft paws that do not damage plants and cause soil erosion, unlike the hooves of cattle and sheep. They do not require provision of additional food and water. And they are not methane producers, so they are better from a climate change point of view. Kangaroo meat is also very healthy – it is extremely lean, and what fat it does contain has high levels of CLAs, a type of fat thought to be beneficial. The meat is gamier than beef, but not unpleasantly so, and is very tender if cooked well. In certain dishes – for instance as mince in a bolognaise – I doubt most people would realise it was not beef if they were not told.
There are some people in Australia who for ethical and environmental reasons will eat only kangaroo meat and are otherwise vegetarian. My sister’s partner is one of these. There are enough of them that the ugly neologism “kangatarian” was coined to describe the diet.
I’m not sure about price and availability of kangaroo meat in the US, and it’s not a large-scale solution to the problem – we have a lot of roos, but not enough to feed the world! – but it’s an option for readers trying to avoid factory-farmed meat. Since all kangaroo meat comes from animals who lived in the wild and were killed ethically, it removes the necessity of having to track down where your meat was sourced from.
Recent Dish on kangaroos here.