Scientists: step up kangaroo production
Australian scientists have revealed a study that could have profound
consequences for both the feed market and the climate: eat more
According to the study, farming and consuming more kangaroos instead of
cattle and sheep will reduce carbon gas emissions.
The scientists say in
the scientific journal Conservation Letters, that the Australian icon
produces far less methane than sheep and cattle, obviously due to a different
gastro-intestinal tract and different diet
Methane is one of the worst causes of
greenhouse gas and in Australia alone sheep and cattle produce 11% of the
nation's total emissions.
Australia's national symbol, the kangaroo,
however, produces relatively small amounts of the gas because they are not
ruminants; just like wallabies, the microorganisms in their stomachs differ from
those found in sheep and cattle.
Lower gas emissions
study, conducted by George Wilson (Australian Wildlife Services), claims that
increasing the kangaroo population to 175 million and decreasing the number of
livestock over the next 12 years would bring down Australia's greenhouse gas
emissions by 3% on a yearly basis.
Dr Wilson said that increasing the
number of kangaroos that roam Australia – now estimated to be over 30 million –
to produce the same amount of meat as cattle and sheep by 2020 would also
provide 'substantial conservation benefits'.
Wilson acknowledged that the livestock industry was likely to be
wary of the study's findings and said that the public – at least in Australia –
would need to be re-educated about the benefits of eating kangaroo meat.
The President of the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia, Pat
O'Brien, described the study as nonsense. He said that 500 times more kangaroos
than the current population would have to be killed to produce the equivalent
amount of sheep and cattle meat.
• Conservation Letters
• Wildlife Protection
Association of Australia
• Australian Wildlife Services
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