The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-25-2011, 09:47 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Why aren't kangaroos raised for their meat in the US?

I don't understand why there are no kangaroo farms in America. The meat is, apparently, tasty. I plan to order some of it online. The animals are easy to raise, and from what I have read, they have far less of an impact on the environment than cows or sheep. Why haven't any American ranchers tried farming kangaroo? Is it illegal to import the animals from Australia for this purpose? If so, why?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 09-25-2011, 09:50 PM
friedo friedo is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 20,583
Because Americans do not want to eat kangaroo.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-25-2011, 09:51 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 48,643
Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo View Post
Because Americans do not want to eat kangaroo.
Who says we don't?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-25-2011, 09:57 PM
coremelt coremelt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
Is it illegal to import the animals from Australia for this purpose? If so, why?
Yes, it's illegal to export any live native Australian mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians for commercial purposes.
http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiv...exporting.html

Last edited by coremelt; 09-25-2011 at 09:57 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-25-2011, 10:01 PM
UDS UDS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Kangaroos aren't farmed in Australia either; they're hunted. I don't think they lend themselves to domestication. They need a large territory to range over and are difficult to enclose, and they don't thrive under the constraints of farming. Economically, I don't think that kangaroo farming can compete with kangaroo hunting.

Of course, American kangaroo farmers wouldn't face local competition from hunters. But given the difficulty of farming, I suspect the meat would have to sell at a good premium to make the enterprise viable. It does not command a premium in Australia; much of it ends up as petfood, or in sausages.

And if a domestic market willing to pay a premium price for kangaroo meat was developed, then American farmers would face competition from hunted meat imported from Australia. (Australia already exports kangaroo meat, mostly to Europe, so the infrastructure for an export trade is there.)

The question is, would American kangaroo farmers enjoy any comparative advantage over Australian kangaroo hunters?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-25-2011, 10:02 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,038
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
The animals are easy to raise, and from what I have read, they have far less of an impact on the environment than cows or sheep.
Where did you hear these things?

I think you'll find that, proportional to the volume of usable meat produced, kangaroo farming is both extremely inefficient and damaging.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-25-2011, 10:15 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
From reading that article, I'm inclined to think that Ken Henry is being paid off or manipulated by the lobbyists for other livestock animals, namely cattle and sheep. What he is saying about kangaroo farming being damaging to the environment seems to fly in the face of the prevailing scientific and ecological wisdom. But I guess it's also possible that the "prominent ecologists, as well as the economist Ross Garnaut" noted by the article are themselves being paid off by the kangaroo lobby. Agricultural lobbying is a vicious game.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-25-2011, 11:27 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,038
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
From reading that article, I'm inclined to think that Ken Henry is being paid off or manipulated by the lobbyists for other livestock animals, namely cattle and sheep. What he is saying about kangaroo farming being damaging to the environment seems to fly in the face of the prevailing scientific and ecological wisdom.
The same yield figures (12kg per roo) are givin in this PDF, published by UTS and found on the AWPC web site:

Quote:
For every Australian (currently around 21 million people) to eat one portion (0.25 kg) of kangaroo meat per week at the conservative upper estimate of a yield of 12 kg of acceptable meat per carcass, a total of 437,500 kangaroos would need to be harvested per week, or just over 22 million per year. Assuming an average take of 15% (within a 15-20% quota), the total population of kangaroos in Australia would need to be around 151 million to support this offtake. This is about 5.6 times the 30-year average of 27 million. In contrast, sheep carcasses yield around 68% quality meat from the 49 kg average dressed weight (Hopwood et al. 1976), meaning that one 0.25 kg portion per week requires just over eight million to be slaughtered annually.
Ignoring the hyperbole, a yield of 12kg seems like a pretty big problem.

What prevailing wisdom are you referring to? (Genuinely curious, I don't have a strong opinion either way)
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-25-2011, 11:34 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is online now
Elephant Whisperer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 29,053
As for exporting live Australian animals, I seem to recall emu farms was a fad for a while in the US. I only heard about it, as this was after I left, but where did they get their emus from? I remember hearing about one guy in Texas who used his lottery winnings to set up one such farm and then went broke.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-25-2011, 11:37 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
What prevailing wisdom? The article itself opens with the following statement:

Quote:
Eating kangaroo meat is, by all accounts, much better for the environment than dining on pork, lamb or beef. The natives emit negligible methane, tread lightly and without contributing to erosion, and have no need for vast quantities of feed intensively farmed elsewhere.
And later:

Quote:
Dr Henry is at odds with prominent ecologists, as well as the economist Ross Garnaut. Professor Garnaut's 2008 climate-change review made the case for an increased diet of roo displacing cattle and sheep consumption.
So yeah...that prevailing wisdom.

Going by what that article says, and what I always assumed to be the case anyway, the prevailing wisdom in Australia is that kangaroo meat is good for the environment.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-25-2011, 11:46 PM
JoelUpchurch JoelUpchurch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
I've read that Kangaroo meat is ecologically responsible since their digestion cycle doesn't produce as much Methane as cattle. IIRC there were some scientists that were trying to transplant Kangaroo DNA in cattle. Right now, chicken and pork have a much smaller environmental footprint.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-26-2011, 12:08 AM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
God, this thread is making me hungry. I am going to order the kangaroo very soon and as soon as I get it and eat it, I will post a thread about its taste.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-26-2011, 12:38 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 54,795
It sounds to me like all that's saying is that kangaroos are hunted, not farmed. Roos don't eat imported feed, because they're out in the wild eating whatever it is they normally eat instead. As I understand it, they fill much the same niche that deer do over here in the placental world. And deer, too, are considered good eatin' by hunters, but aren't raised commercially in any significant quantity.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-26-2011, 12:53 AM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Actually, you raise an interesting point: CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), a prion disease of deer, was most likely caused by deer farming, as it appeared first in farmed deer rather than wild. Could a similar thing happen to kangaroos if they were farmed? Is this what we reap for meddling in the ways of nature by feeding herbivorous animals parts of other animals?
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-26-2011, 01:33 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 51,568
Yields and logistics of production aside, kangaroo meat probably just isn't suited to mainstream markets. It's lean, which makes it easy to cook wrong, and it's quite strongly flavoured (partly because, being lean, the muscle flavour dominates).

If you like venison, you'll probably like kangaroo, but not everyone likes venison and those that do, don't particularly require an alternative.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-26-2011, 01:43 AM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
I've had kangaroo, and it's not that great. It's pretty dry. I much prefer our (American) domesticated meat animals.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-26-2011, 01:47 AM
KarlGrenze KarlGrenze is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
Actually, you raise an interesting point: CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), a prion disease of deer, was most likely caused by deer farming, as it appeared first in farmed deer rather than wild. Could a similar thing happen to kangaroos if they were farmed? Is this what we reap for meddling in the ways of nature by feeding herbivorous animals parts of other animals?
Not necessarily on your first account, and deer farming is very extensive farming, very hands off, compared to commercial feedlot cattle operations. AFAIK, deer were not routinely fed other animal nervous system parts (back when that was legal, which has not been the case in almost two decades, and every few years they add more stringent clauses). CWD could have been found first in farmed deer instead of wild because, you know, they're after all handled and looked more closely than wild deer.

Kangaroo meat is raised, somewhere, somehow, since it is the base for some specialty dog diets.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-26-2011, 01:47 AM
GreedySmurf GreedySmurf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Also depending upon what species of kangaroo you're planning to farm the fences required to keep them in their paddocks would need to be monstrous and the cost involved in that wouldn't be insignificant. Reports vary, but anecdotally roo's can clear 15'+ plus fences.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-26-2011, 01:49 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
I've had kangaroo, and it's not that great. It's pretty dry.
It was overcooked then. Properly cooked its great, but you pretty much need to like medium rare meat.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-26-2011, 01:49 AM
GreedySmurf GreedySmurf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
I've had kangaroo, and it's not that great. It's pretty dry. I much prefer our (American) domesticated meat animals.
It probably wasn't cooked properly by the sounds.

Roo meat is so low in fat, you really can't cook it any more than Medium-Rare, or it does indeed come out very dry, tough and chewy. If cooked properly though, it is quite nice.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 09-26-2011, 01:57 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 18,783
Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
Yes, it's illegal to export any live native Australian mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians for commercial purposes.
http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiv...exporting.html
Huh. Then I wonder where the birds on the emu farm in the county just south of mine came from?
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-26-2011, 01:58 AM
KarlGrenze KarlGrenze is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Another point, even if kangaroo meat is raised in Australia, such a thing may not work in the US. When animals native to other continents/climates/altitudes are sent to foreign lands, they don't necessarily adapt. They're not accustomed to the parasites of the other species, their dietary requirements are different from the standard species, and other infectious diseases that do little or no harm to the standard breeds can easily kill them.

Case in point: Alpacas and llamas.

Kangaroos are already susceptible to introduced diseases in Australia, and those kangaroos in the US are also very susceptible to the infectious agents found here.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 09-26-2011, 02:06 AM
Springtime for Spacers Springtime for Spacers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGrenze View Post
Another point, even if kangaroo meat is raised in Australia, such a thing may not work in the US. When animals native to other continents/climates/altitudes are sent to foreign lands, they don't necessarily adapt. They're not accustomed to the parasites of the other species, their dietary requirements are different from the standard species, and other infectious diseases that do little or no harm to the standard breeds can easily kill them.

Case in point: Alpacas and llamas.

Kangaroos are already susceptible to introduced diseases in Australia, and those kangaroos in the US are also very susceptible to the infectious agents found here.
There is small scale farming of alpaca and llamas in the UK. They've even started putting the ofdd llama in amongst sheep as they scare foxes away. I'm a bit surprised that there are so many cross species disorders they can be susceptible to. Come to think of it there are a couple of colonies of wallabies here as well (descended from escapees).
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 09-26-2011, 02:23 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 51,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Huh. Then I wonder where the birds on the emu farm in the county just south of mine came from?
Might have been captive bred outside of Australia since before the export regulations tightened to forbid it, or just descended from a stock exported for some permitted purpose, such as research or exhibition.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 09-26-2011, 04:37 AM
Princhester Princhester is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,413
Quote:
Originally Posted by tellyworth View Post
Where did you hear these things?

I think you'll find that, proportional to the volume of usable meat produced, kangaroo farming is both extremely inefficient and damaging.
That's a very doubtful cite and the UTS one is similarly so. It seems to me to involve a steady state fallacy, in particular that if you farmed kangaroo, then you would only harvest by hunting and the quota of 15% would remain the same.

To put this in perspective, Australia has a cattle heard of 20M and can harvest nearly 10M in a year.

I am also very suspicious of an academic article funded by an animal protection lobby group. Does anyone doubt what it was their brief to find?

I don't know that kangaroo raising for meat is viable but I am unconvinced by the cites given so far.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 09-26-2011, 04:40 AM
pkbites pkbites is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Majikal Land O' Cheeze!
Posts: 8,029
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
I've had kangaroo, and it's not that great.
I've had kangaroo also. I thought it was terrible. :Mr. Yuck Smilie:
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 09-26-2011, 06:54 AM
KarlGrenze KarlGrenze is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Springtime for Spacers View Post
There is small scale farming of alpaca and llamas in the UK. They've even started putting the ofdd llama in amongst sheep as they scare foxes away. I'm a bit surprised that there are so many cross species disorders they can be susceptible to. Come to think of it there are a couple of colonies of wallabies here as well (descended from escapees).
Oh, there is farming (or attempts at farming). Alpacas and llamas are interesting because they get both horse and cattle/goat/sheep diseases. Plus they have their own host-specific parasites, which can break havoc when they're stressed (which they likely are being in a place they don't belong). Woohoo!

Again, I know someone must be farming kangaroos, or collecting dead kangaroo meat really fast before it spoils, because it is part of a prescribed dog diet.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:01 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 51,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGrenze View Post
Again, I know someone must be farming kangaroos, or collecting dead kangaroo meat really fast before it spoils, because it is part of a prescribed dog diet.
I thought that kangaroo meat in pet food came from culls of wild kangaroos.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:12 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 9,979
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
I thought that kangaroo meat in pet food came from culls of wild kangaroos.
Roadkill is cheap and often readily available.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:16 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
It was overcooked then. Properly cooked its great, but you pretty much need to like medium rare meat.
And a lot of Americans won't anything below medium... that could be one factor in the lack of popularity.

Last edited by Darth Panda; 09-26-2011 at 07:16 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:25 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 14,722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Huh. Then I wonder where the birds on the emu farm in the county just south of mine came from?
Eggs are not, technically, "live animals" - just saying.

If you're going to farm exotic animals, I gather you get a lot more bang for your buck from ostriches as far as the meat yield goes.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:39 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 51,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
Roadkill is cheap and often readily available.
Is that how they source it? I'd have thought that would fall below the standards for petfood - I mean, in an administrative sense - I know roadkill can be safe, I've eaten it myself in the past, it just seems like it would be difficult to control the quality even for pet food.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:46 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 9,979
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Is that how they source it? I'd have thought that would fall below the standards for petfood - I mean, in an administrative sense - I know roadkill can be safe, I've eaten it myself in the past, it just seems like it would be difficult to control the quality even for pet food.
Actually, just a guess and a lame joke on my part. I really have no idea where pet-food quality 'roo comes from.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:51 AM
KarlGrenze KarlGrenze is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
I thought that kangaroo meat in pet food came from culls of wild kangaroos.
That would make sense.

The roadkill wouldn't. Despite what many may think, the meat that is in pet foods, even if it is from the "yucky" animal parts, comes from remains of animals deemed fit for human consumption. Even the offal that may be fed to herbivores (which I don't agree to that practice) has to come from remains fit for human consumption. Roadkill just won't pass that regulation.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:52 AM
penultima thule penultima thule is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
No, that's not how it's sourced, on any number of grounds.
Roadkill becomes carrion for the scavengers.

As stated, roos are harvested, not farmed.
They're flighty, have large ranges and would require similar fencing to deer.
I'm not aware of any attempt to farm them commercially.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 09-26-2011, 08:07 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 18,783
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
If you're going to farm exotic animals, I gather you get a lot more bang for your buck from ostriches as far as the meat yield goes.
You can make some money from ostrich feathers, too. However, emu oil only comes from emu, and gather emu oil is a significant profit item for emu farmers on top of what they get for the meat and hides.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:01 AM
KarlGrenze KarlGrenze is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by penultima thule View Post
As stated, roos are harvested, not farmed.
They're flighty, have large ranges and would require similar fencing to deer.
I'm not aware of any attempt to farm them commercially.
Thanks for telling me about culling. That would make more sense and be less difficult than kangaroo farms.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:10 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 14,722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
You can make some money from ostrich feathers, too. However, emu oil only comes from emu, and gather emu oil is a significant profit item for emu farmers on top of what they get for the meat and hides.
Well, if you don't mind peddling snake oil...but farmers can (and do) render "ostrich oil" which is lovingly pimped with exactly the same bogus spiel as emu oil.

Ostrich leather is a big money-spinner, too. But the winner is that the meat yield on ostriches is much more than that of emu.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:15 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 51,568
Ostrich eggs are quite marketable too - for food (equivalent to something like 20 hen eggs) and for their shells, as a craft material.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:21 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 18,783
I agree that both emu and ostrich oil is overhyped, but using it in cosmetics without the bogus health benefit hype is no crazier than any other oil used. From a purely moisturizing viewpoint it should work as well as something like lanolin and gives people allergic to sheep an alternative.

Anyhow, I can hardly blame a farmer for providing a product for which there is a demand, especially when the same "crop" provides meat and leather as well.

The emu farm has had escapees before, which tend to cause a lot of chaos before they're rounded up. I can only think that even larger birds could be more of an issue, both for confinement and as a potential hazard once out of the pen.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:32 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Hmmm... I had a roo-wrap at the Ayers Rock campsite, and my thought was that it might as well be beef for all the difference it made.

What do kangaoos eat? Grass, like cattle? If so, are they more efficient in producing meat? SOunds like, from comments above that the acres/grass to meat ratio is better for cattle.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 09-26-2011, 06:21 PM
GreedySmurf GreedySmurf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGrenze View Post
Thanks for telling me about culling. That would make more sense and be less difficult than kangaroo farms.
The Roo meat market doesn't come from culling. On the rare occasion there is a Kangaroo cull, it is undertaken to address a specific overpopulation problem.

On an ongoing basis, Roo meat is provided by registered hunters. The hunters are government licensed and have quota's for the maximum number of Kangaroo's they are allowed to shoot. I understand that the market for meat and leather remains sufficiently small though, that the hunters rarely actually take the full quota in any case.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 09-26-2011, 06:27 PM
GreedySmurf GreedySmurf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Hmmm... I had a roo-wrap at the Ayers Rock campsite, and my thought was that it might as well be beef for all the difference it made.

What do kangaoos eat? Grass, like cattle? If so, are they more efficient in producing meat? SOunds like, from comments above that the acres/grass to meat ratio is better for cattle.
The primary food source depends upon the breed of Roo, but yes mainly grass, with some species of Roo also eating bushes and some leaves.

Not sure on the comparative efficiency on a grass/meat ratio though. Although Kangaroos can survive on quality and type of vegetation that cattle would disdain.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:20 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 18,783
Roos might be more tolerant of drought, which could be handy in some areas of the US, except the culture and infrastructure is already oriented towards cattle. Lots of inertia to overcome.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 09-26-2011, 08:26 PM
UDS UDS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Weight-for-weight, roos produce tiny droppings compared to cattle, which may indicate that they are efficient at processing what they eat into meat and/or energy. It also indicates that they can get by with very little water, compared to cattle. Thus they should do well iin sparse, dry country.

As has been pointed out, they require a huge range, and if they are to be constrained they require very large, serious fencing. The cost of fencing a large range to a high standard is part of what makes farming unviable.

Plus, they are ludicrously easy to hunt, since they evolved with few or no natural predators. So why would you go to the trouble and expense of trying to enclose and farm a mob of roos when you can just go out and shoot one whenever you feel the need?
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 09-26-2011, 08:26 PM
coremelt coremelt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
To answer the OP with economics. As others have stated, Kangaroos in Australia are not farmed, its shot from private property to a Quota, usually on massive 10,000+ acre properties 4-5 hours drive inland. The lack of water and arid vegetation means its impossible to raise cattle or sheep on this land without importing feed and water from huge distances away.

Meanwhile that same land has many many thousands of Kangaroo's, that are not bred, or fed or watered, they can survive in that terrain. So the property owner has zero costs to obtain the Roo meat other than the costs incurred by going out and shooting it. No feed or water costs.

I can't see the US allowing Kangaroo's to be introduced and roam wild through arid areas, they would always have to be penned and farmed, with vastly higher costs. So it's always going to be cheaper to import kangaroo meat from Australia rather than farm it in the US.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 09-26-2011, 09:33 PM
Princhester Princhester is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,413
Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
As others have stated, Kangaroos in Australia are not farmed, its shot from private property to a Quota, usually on massive 10,000+ acre properties 4-5 hours drive inland. The lack of water and arid vegetation means its impossible to raise cattle or sheep on this land without importing feed and water from huge distances away.
What!? Is this a joke? You think that the "grazing" industry in Australian raises stock using feed and water imported from huge distances away? The word "grazing" is a clue.

This page has a map of Australian grazing areas. Most of it is not 4-5 hours from the coast but more like ten or more, and much of it probably a couple of days' drive. A very large proportion of it is "livestock grazing in arid and semi-arid regions and covers 430 million hectares or 56 percent of Australia".

Cattle and sheep are raised on grass. You know, the stuff that grows on the ground throughout the areas of Australia used for the pastoral industry. The water comes from dams, bores and creeks on the property.

Quote:
Meanwhile that same land has many many thousands of Kangaroo's, that are not bred, or fed or watered, they can survive in that terrain. So the property owner has zero costs to obtain the Roo meat other than the costs incurred by going out and shooting it. No feed or water costs.
They are fed very largely off the same grass that the cattle or sheep eat, and they water off the same sources as the cattle. They are undoubtedly lighter on the land, grass and water than cattle, that is true. The property owner does not obtain the roo meat. It is obtained by professional licensed roo hunters. Their costs are high because of the very stringent health standards imposed. The one guy I know who is a professional roo shooter finds it hard to make much of a living out of it, although whether he is typical I don't know.

Last edited by Princhester; 09-26-2011 at 09:35 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:24 PM
UDS UDS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princhester View Post
What!? Is this a joke? You think that the "grazing" industry in Australian raises stock using feed and water imported from huge distances away? The word "grazing" is a clue.

This page has a map of Australian grazing areas. Most of it is not 4-5 hours from the coast but more like ten or more, and much of it probably a couple of days' drive. A very large proportion of it is "livestock grazing in arid and semi-arid regions and covers 430 million hectares or 56 percent of Australia".
Well, in fairness, cattle grazed in the way you describe are mostly grazed at a very low density, and even then they donít thrive; they have to be rounded up and moved elsewhere for some weeks before slaughter for fattening on more productive land or in feedlots (and much of this is done abroad; hence the live cattle export trade). Presumably, it works this way because itís cheaper to move the cattle than to move the feed.

Kangaroo meat can be produced without this additional expense and, as you point out, itís lighter on the land than the production of unfattened cattle. Thus you can produce roo meat on land which is not nearly productive enough to raise slaughter-ready beef cattle.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:24 PM
not what you'd expect not what you'd expect is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: city of gold
Posts: 2,935
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
I've had kangaroo also. I thought it was terrible. :Mr. Yuck Smilie:
Me too. They served it at the Garlic Festival. It was nasty.
Ostrich meat though is pretty good. And Alligator is very tasty.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 09-26-2011, 10:36 PM
Princhester Princhester is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,413
Quote:
Originally Posted by UDS View Post
Well, in fairness, cattle grazed in the way you describe are mostly grazed at a very low density, and even then they donít thrive; they have to be rounded up and moved elsewhere for some weeks before slaughter for fattening on more productive land or in feedlots (and much of this is done abroad; hence the live cattle export trade). Presumably, it works this way because itís cheaper to move the cattle than to move the feed.
Raising cattle is and always has been essentially entirely on grass in Australia. Use of feedlots for "finishing" cattle is a recent development. Feed and particularly water have never been "imported" from huge distances away for grazing stock in Australia to any degree worth discussing.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.