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?

Because Americans do not want to eat kangaroo.

Who says we don’t?

Yes, it’s illegal to export any live native Australian mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians for commercial purposes.

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?

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.

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.

The same yield figures (12kg per roo) are givin in this PDF, published by UTS and found on the AWPC web site:

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)

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.

What prevailing wisdom? The article itself opens with the following statement:

And later:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

I’ve had kangaroo, and it’s not that great. It’s pretty dry. I much prefer our (American) domesticated meat 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.

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.

It was overcooked then. Properly cooked its great, but you pretty much need to like medium rare meat.

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.