Eating meat, eggs and dairy products contributes heavily to global warming, because raising animals for food produces many more greenhouse gas emissions than growing plants. Eating larger quantities of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes) and less animal foods can help the environment and allow you to afford better tasting and better quality local animal products.
It does not mean you can’t eat meat – it just means getting the balance right . You might also consider meat options like Kangaroo, which has a low environmental impact, tastes great and is very high in iron.
Speaking of taste, the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, around the town of Casino is considered Australia’s Beef & Veal Capital. About 12,400 properties in the region stock beef cattle and this area is home to Angus Beef.
How can you have your meat and reduce your impact?
- Supplement your meat dishes like casseroles with vegetables and beans
- Choose quality, local meat
- Consider options like kangaroo which is high in iron, tastes great and has a low impact on the environment
- Eat nose to tail – which means look at other parts of the animal that you can eat besides the obvious cuts steak, chops, etc. Oxtail, lamb shanks, tongue are all delicious when cooked properly and ensure that you are paying the farmer more as this would otherwise not be as valuable
From an ecological perspective, it’s simple maths really. Take one whole animal and use all it’s edible parts to feed multiple mouths rather than using a single part of multiple animals to feed fewer mouths. The challenge for many of us is learning how to eat parts of an animal that we’re not familiar with. Just imagine if our hunter and gather ancestors fussed over only eating the muscle tissue found around the ribs of animals they chased.
How to Support Nose to Tail Eating
- The easiest thing to do is become a patron of restaurants or butcher markets that make an effort to buy and butcher whole animals and birds purchased from local, sustainable farms. Besides supporting your local small farmers and purveyors, you may just find yourself paying less for that prime cut of meat you already love. If you aren’t sure whether or not your favourite markets or restaurants do this, then ask. You deserve to know where your food comes from.
- Contact and visit a sustainable farm in your region that raises animals or birds for consumption and ask them to provide you with a list of buyers they sell whole animals or birds to. Explain you want to support them and their vendors.
Farming some native species may be one of the best ways to protect our environment for future generations.
It costs the Australian environment nothing to produce kangaroo meat. In comparison, seven kilograms of soil are used to produce one kilogram of wheat. Animals are killed in the production of even a vegetarian’s food supply. Whole ecosystems are lost when forests are cleared to plant crops and toxic pesticides for maintaining crops also cause animal deaths. The kangaroo meat industry is sustainable and does not threaten kangaroo populations.
Since the arrival of Europeans, kangaroos have thrived because of increased grasslands, better water supply through dams and bores and reduced dingo numbers, the kangaroo’s main predator. Kangaroo numbers are so great that some farmers consider the animals a pest. Ironically, the industry that was established to control kangaroo numbers has only succeeded in taking a sustainable yield, despite killing up to 20% of the total population in certain years. The kangaroo meat industry only harvests non-endangered species.
Farming wild animals is less cruel than raising domesticated animals for meat. Kangaroos do not suffer the stress of live trucking and abattoirs. Instead they live freely in the wild until they are killed instantly by professional shooters.
Kangaroo meat is lean, high in iron, contains a high amount of polyunsaturated fat and is virtually free of any chemicals usually associated with domestic stock. Inspection of kangaroo meat is more rigorous than that of beef and mutton. Kangaroo is the only export quality meat available at the butcher shop because it must pass three inspections.