Eat a feral a week

22 03 2012

© Y. Sugiura

Just a quick post this week about something I’ve been contemplating for a while.

What if every Australian pledged to eat a feral animal a week?

Yes, I know that it’s a bit out of the pitch, and I’m sure not everyone would do it. Nor would it be physically possible for one person to eat an entire camel, buffalo or deer in a week – but hopefully you get the picture.

Why propose this? Australia is quite over-run with feral animals. Some quick stats:

Now we have, of course, many other ferals (cats, rats, foxes, mice), but I don’t think too many people would want to eat them. I have personally eaten feral pigs, camels, buffalo, goats, and red, fallow and sambar deer, mostly from my own research trips or from friends who hunt.

Camel is delicious, if not a little tough (nothing a good marinade and tenderiser won’t fix), buffalo is fantastic, any sort of venison is wonderful, and pig, well, pig is divine with almost anything.

Feral animals cost Australia billions in damage each year, wreak havoc on our native ecosystems and cost millions more to control (largely unsuccessfully).

Sure, many small-scale industries exist to provide meat to commercial markets, but remoteness, hygiene and transport issues have meant that they’re largely specialised industries with little impact on our nation’s meat-consumption patterns.

Nonetheless, if we instilled the notion in your average Australian that it was his/her duty to eat more feral animals to do some environmental good, perhaps the increased demand would fuel more culling. A corollary would be that we’d need to eat fewer sheep and cattle, which would improve our rangelands.

So, be a proud Australian and eat a feral a week!

CJA Bradshaw


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11 responses

29 05 2012
It couldn’t have been us! « ConservationBytes.com

[…] and almost heretical proposition if it had not already happened. Europeans have introduced many large mammalian herbivores that have become well-established as wild species in Australia. Some of them seem to make a poor […]

29 03 2012
excavation melbourne fl

I love your idea! The problem of feral animals is not only in Australia it is everywhere in the world, Here in the USA we have so many pigs and cats in my area that in the last 10 years I have seen natural non feral animals die off (or just leave my area) It makes me so angry! There is no reason for 10 cats to run out of my yard when I walk outside to take the trash out! The wild boar tear up our swamps and forests, more people should go out and help the land by getting rid of these ‘pests’!

24 03 2012
litfuse

It’s a good idea. Of course as soon as someone has an economic stake in a natural resource, there is a pressure to use it more sustainably. The camel and goat harvesters argue strongly not to get rid of these pests altogether. Sheep and cows are not endangered despite being harvested in high numbers.

Perhaps if we want to conserve native animals, we should also allow them to be harvested.

23 03 2012
CJAB

A friend e-mailed me this query:

What about rabbits? You didn’t include them on your list of munchable ferals, and yet, as invasives go, I would have thought they rate pretty high as something of which we should be encouraging the consumption. No? Did you not include them because they weren’t domesticates to begin with? Can’t they be honorary members of the list?

Response: Yes, of course, rabbits are delicious, they’re feral in Australia and cause immense damage. It was an oversight not to include them.

23 03 2012
Janet

Love this idea. Might have a ‘feral’ open day one time.
Erinn’s brother has just been appointed property manager for one of AWC’s newly acquired tracts of land in NT. Top of the task list, feral animal control…

23 03 2012
CJAB

Ngeringa feral day – great idea. Maybe you can have a specific wine named after the event (although ‘feral’ in the title of a wine might not make for the best sales).

23 03 2012
Bron

What about eating feral animals INSTEAD of farm raised animals. The land could be used far more efficiently for crops. As for marginal land, that may be able to be used for native Australian crops or returned to nature. Stocking marginal land is not good for the environment.

23 03 2012
CJAB

That’s kind of the point, I think (eat more ferals INSTEAD of livestock).

But… there are no ‘native’ Australian crops apart from macadamias, which only grow in tropical climates.

22 03 2012
Tom Keen

For Adelaideans: http://www.wildoz.com.au/ – I frequent this store in the Central Markets – good range, generally good prices too. The goat is amazing. I’ve never been able to bring myself to try the crocodile though…

23 03 2012
CJAB

Crocodile only tastes as good as the sauce in which it’s cooked (even the freshest meat). While crocodile farms have indeed saved the (Australian) species from almost certain extinction, the meat is less-than-exciting.

23 03 2012
CJAB

I forgot to add:

Thanks for the suggestion of where to shop for feral meat in Adelaide.

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