Eat a Kangaroo to Save the Environment?

A story in the Wall Street Journal suggests it is time to once again eat kangaroos, to protect the environment, and cope with Kangaroo overpopulation problems.  “Greenpeace has recommended that Australians substitute kangaroo meat for consumption of other red meats to reduce land clearing and the release of methane gas from flatulent cattle and sheep.  Kangaroo meat is a sought-after meal in Australian restaurants and charcuteries. Recipes like kangaroo escalopes with spinach and anchovy butter, kangaroo tail soup, or kangaroo strip loin pan roasted on balsamic mash are not unusual on the menus of fine restaurants.”

Of course, as Doug Bandow noted earlier today, eating animals can also save endangered species by giving people an incentive to harvest them rather than destroying their habitat or exterminating them.  People owning animals helps ensure their survival, too: that’s part of why there are a heck of a lot more chickens than passenger pigeons (a now extinct species which were once as numerous in America as chickens are today), and far more cattle than buffalo.

Eating locally, touted as good for the environment, often isn’t: one study found it was better for the environment for English people to eat lamb that was imported from New Zealand rather than raised in England.  And culinary prejudices often keep people from eating local foods that truly do tax the environment less, like cicadas, which are very tasty when microwaved for just a short time, but which few people eat despite the fact that they can easily be collected in large quantities when they periodically emerge from the earth.  (In the Washington, D.C. suburbs, they come out in huge numbers once every 17 years).