People in Australia are being urged to eat more kangaroo meat.
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And staying down under new figures indicate that the number of kangaroos in the country is now double that of humans. Needless to say it's causing all sorts of problems. Not least, the difficult question of whether it's okay to cull the animal on your nation's coat of arms. Clare Mcdonnel has been speaking to John Kelly from the kangaroo Industry Association of Australia.
Australians eat more kangaroos than they do duck. And there's kangaroo in virtually every supermarket in the country and thousands of restaurants.
But however, it is still a niche product, and it's not consumed to anywhere near the sort of levels of beef or lamb. That's a factor of an historical play I guess. It was always the food of last resort for the settlers to some extent. I'm fond of saying that the kangaroo has been the red meat of choice amongst Australian consumers for the last 40 000 years. And in the last hundred years or so, there's been a bit of a hiccup in its marketing program, and we're starting to turn that around.
Now listen though. You're not encouraging people to go out with a shotgun presumably. You're just encouraging people to buy more kangaroo meat that's been humanely farmed. Is that the way you want things to go?
Kangaroos not farmed it's all wild harvested. That's part of its appeal. It's the ultimate free-range product. There are no agricultural chemicals or drugs. No antibiotics and no stress. The animals are harvested directly from their natural environment by licensed and accredited professional shooters. Their carcass is then taken to a meat processing premises, which is basically exactly the same as a beef or lamb type. Animals come in premurdered. Then they're processed under strict hygienic conditions, and the harvest is tightly regulated to ensure that it is sustainable and humane.
Well I have to put this to you. Many people say that isn't the case and then there are thousands of kangaroos that are misshot every single year because, as you say you know, it's a natural environment but they aren't killed swiftly. And that is very cruel to the animal. What would you say to that?
It's not in fact the case. The kangaroo industry is a very tightly regulated and very tightly researched. There are several studies which have shown that in excess of 99.99 percent of kangaroos are actually shot in the head and killed instantly. And that result is actually better than what happens in beef or lamb slaughter. There is a large number of Australian ecologists and Australian animal welfare experts who believe that the kangaroo harvest system is both environmentally sensible and probably the most animal welfare friendly way there is of producing red meat.
How do you like to eat it?
My favorite thing is just to use it in my dear sainted mother's spaghetti Bolognese recipe. You can do anything with kangaroo which you do with beef or lamb basically. So you can substitute it in essentially any recipe. But, you know, if you are going to pan fry it, the best thing I believe is just a lightly pan fried cut with a little bit of Queen’s Paste on the side.
Australian kangaroo industry expert John Kelly. And if you have any particularly good recipes for kangaroo meat, do send them to us. Global podcast at BBC.co.uk.