Export Quality Meat Products
The kangaroo has been historically a staple source of protein for indigenous Australians. Kangaroo meat is high in protein and low in fat (about 2%). Kangaroo meat has a very high concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) when compared with other foods. CLA has been attributed with a wide range of health benefits including anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetes properties, in addition to reducing obesity and atherosclerosis.
Kangaroo meat is stronger in flavour than the meat from commercially-raised food animals. It is considered to be tender. Minced (or ground) kangaroo meat may be substituted in dishes where minced beef would normally be used.
Kangaroo meat was legalised for human consumption in South Australia in 1980, and in all other Australian states in 1993. Kangaroo was once limited in availability, although consumption in Australia is becoming more widespread. However, only 14.5% of Australians were reported in 2008 as eating kangaroo meat at least four times per year. Many Australian supermarkets now stock various cuts of kangaroo including fillets, steaks, minced meat and "Kanga Bangas" (kangaroo sausages). Some Australian restaurants serve kangaroo meat.
Kangaroo meat has been exported since 1959. Seventy percent of kangaroo meat is exported, particularly to the European market: Germany, France and more recently China and other parts of Asia. It is sold in supermarkets in England and before a suspension on imports of kangaroo meat to Russia in 2009 it was widely used in Russian small goods. In 2008, the industry is worth around AUD$250-270 million a year and provides around 4,000 jobs in Australia.
The meat is also processed into pet food. The small kangaroo farming community is a more environmentally friendly meat industry than sheep or cattle farming since kangaroos require no processed feed, are well-adapted to drought, and do not destroy the root systems of native grasses. However kangaroo farming is economically unattractive due to the start up costs and inability of the farmed product to compete financially against animals that have been killed by hunters under the government quota system.
Currently most kangaroo meat is sourced from wild animals as a byproduct of population control programmes. Both the meat and the hides (skins) are sold. Although most species of macropod are protected from hunting by law, a small number of the large-sized species which exist in high numbers can be hunted by commercial hunters. This policy has been criticised by some animal rights activists. On the other hand, the kangaroo harvest is supported by a wide range of professional ecologists in Australia. Groups such as the Ecological Society of Australia, the Australasian Wildlife Management Society and the Australian Mammal Society have stated their support for kangaroo harvesting. Such groups argue that basing agricultural production systems on native animals rather than introduced livestock like sheep offers considerable ecological advantages to the fragile Australian rangelands and could save greenhouse gas emissions.
Though it is impossible to determine the exact number, government conservation agencies in each state calculate population estimates each year. Nearly 40 years of refinement has led to the development of sophisticated aerial survey techniques which enable overall populations estimates to be constructed. Current estimates indicate that there may be between 35 to 50 million kangaroos in Australia. In 2002 the number of kangaroos allowed to be shot by commercial hunters was increased from 5.5 million to 7 million per year. While animal rights activists protested the move, Australian farmers claimed that kangaroos were a plague after a huge increase in their numbers. A 2002 report studying the grazing pressure caused by kangaroos indicated that scientific evidence is lacking that kangaroos reduce wool production or sheep carrying capacity. In 2007 the national kangaroo culling quota was more than 3.5 million (but significantly down on the figures earlier in the decade).
Kangaroos are protected by legislation in Australia, both state and federal. Kangaroos are harvested by licensed shooters in accordance with a strict code of practice. Meat that is exported is inspected by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS).
Australia’s commercial kangaroo industry is the world’s largest consumptive mammalian wildlife industry. Calculated on a ten-year period, an average of three million adult kangaroos are killed each year in the rangelands for pet meat, meat for human consumption and hides. But pressures on the industry may well see its collapse.
For example, despite years of negotiations, Russia is still refusing to lift its ban on Australia’s kangaroo meat. Russia once accounted for 70% of exports from the commercial kangaroo industry. But in August 2009, the country banned imports of kangaroo meat from Australia due to hygiene concerns, citing high levels of E. coli and salmonella. Despite the Australian Government investing at least $400,000 to address these issues, Russia remains unconvinced about food safety. The ban may be here to stay.
Another lucrative kangaroo product is leather, used for soccer shoes and other high value products. Adidas, a leading supplier of sport shoes, has also banned kangaroo leather due to concerns for the welfare of dependent young kangaroos killed or abandoned as a result of the commercial kill.
We are able to supply all cuts of Kangaroo and Wallaby export quality meat year round.