One of the first Europeans to set foot on Australia, a chap by the name of William Dampier wrote in his log as he sailed away, "This land is cursed, the animals hop, not run, the birds run, not fly and the swans are black, not white." Unfortunately this very attitude seemed to prevail in most of our early settlers, the place was wrong and had to be changed into how a good European farm should be. Hence our native animals - the very animals adapted to the place - became pest and vermin or something to be locked away in National Parks and protected'.
What a tragedy for our environment this was. It meant that the country was forced to cope with the hard hoofs and eating habits of sheep and cattle, stream bank erosion, soil compaction, wind erosion and water turbidity were some of the environmental problems that, have at least partially been caused by cloven feet. There is a good reason why our native animals have soft feet rather than hoofs, Australian soils are some of the most fragile on earth. It's only in recent times that we have started to explore the concept of producing our meat from the animals which belong here. It's only recently that we've started to think that this may make sound environmental sense. Similarly, it's only recently that we have started to realise that we have in fact been doing this for over 30 years, that we do have a large existing industry that represents an international model in sustainable utilisation of natural resources. The kangaroo industry has been harvesting kangaroos for meat production for over 30 years, for the last 20 the average harvest has exceeded 2.5 million animals. It's a big industry.
It's also vital for the sustainable ecological management of large tracks of Australia called the rangeland. These are the extensive grazing areas of Western NSW, Qld, SA and WA. They are the areas where most kangaroos live and are extremely fragile and easily overgrazed. In order to manage the total grazing pressure in these regions it's essential that pastoralists are very careful about how many sheep or cattle they graze. It's also essential that the numbers of kangaroos are control led. This is achieved free of charge by the kangaroo industry. Without it, estimates are that kangaroo numbers would be 40% higher than they .currently are. The rangelands could certainly not support this additional grazing pressure so the kangaroo harvest is an essential environmental management tool in the rangeland area. It helps protect a huge range of biodiversity from the threat of desertification due to overgrazing.
Few people realise that kangaroos are probably the most numerous large land mammal on earth. Populations range from 15 to 30 million, depending on seasonal conditions, and have been consistently increasing in recent decades dispute the continued harvest. They are under not threat of any sort. In fact the CSIRO has recently endorsed the kangaroo harvest as being a sustainable use of a wildlife resource, an international model of sustainable utilisation. The kangaroo industry is already delivering a net conservation benefit to Australia. Many people believe that a larger industry which replaces sheep with kangaroos could be of even greater benefit but a first step to achieving this must be to gain acceptance of wildlife utilisation as wise ecological management for the unique Australian environment. The Kangaroo industry that currently exists is a model for this.
CSIRO report - Acacia
Tasmanian wallaby, one of the country's best kept gourmet secrets, will soon be available to the world.
A recently approved management plan will allow the export of wallaby harvested from Flinders Island in Bass Strait. Tasmania's most experienced wallaby processors, Lenah Game Meats, is well poised to cash in on the initiative with orders already confirmed from Europe and Hong Kong. Tasmania is the only State allowed to harvest Bennetts an Rufus wallaby, which has been available in many fine restaurants for some time. After some experience with the product, most chefs refer to it as the 'veal of kangaroo'. It has a lighter colour, a sweeter flavour and a finer texture. Corning off some of Tasmania 's best grazing land, it also has a much more consistently mild flavour than animals sourced from a wide range of grazing conditions. The domestic product includes portioned, fully trimmed porterhouse, striploin, rump topsides and a range of small goods including blanched sausages. However, for export, Lenah intends to focus on marketing whole hind bodies weighing about 3.5kg.
"We really want to focus on the veal of kangaroo image." said Katrina McKay, Marketing Manager. "By selling small, whole hind bodies international chefs will see the product for exactly what it is - baby kangaroo." As for local opinion of the product, one need only look at the standard of restaurants using it.
For example, one of our fans is Janni Kritsis ex the Sydney Opera House Bennilong Restaurant. He used wallaby regularly at Bennilong and now features it in his new MG Garage Restaurant, a rousing endorsement from of the country's top chefs."
Producers of fine indigenous meats - Lenah Wallaby: the Veal of Kangaroo & possum: the King of Game Meats.
Distributors of indigenous and game products.
Lenah Game Meats
P0 Box 294
Ph: 03 63267696
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