Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Daily Telegraph Editorialist, kangaroo contraceptives, 'roo meat, culling, killing, eating meat, and a grubby stench of hypocrisy in the air

(Above: The Daily Telegraph celebrates the charm of a baby joey).

For sheer fatuousness on a daily basis, there's nothing like a fresh bracing dip into the ice cold mindlessness of tabloid journalism.

On a day when they still have David Penberthy's There's a grubby stench on the air bemoaning sex advertising and its regulation holding a slot in the online front page blog directory, the Daily Terror's big splash in the top left corner brings us all the details of a fiery teen top model's raunchy private life with a lover ten years her senior.

At the same time as revelling in the sex life of a sweet sixteen year old (kissing seems to be a big thing), the Terror is terribly worried about the fate of the national symbol, the kangaroo.

There must be a 'roo alternative, the editorialist cries, and it introduces its sheltered city readers to the hideous news that country life is not all cuddly peacefulness.

Life can be cruel. And this is doubly so when kangaroo culls are involved.

Stop the presses. Hold the ink. Next up the Daily Terror takes a trip to an average country abbattoir and discovers that meat on the table in many Australian homes from many animals, comes from the flesh of dead animals, grown and slaughtered on an industrial scale. Butchered ain't just a pretty word describing a South Sydney attempt at a try.

Most know the truth, but most - preferring to eat the meat - don't worry about where it comes from. We can't all be Brian Shermans, billionaires out to convert the world to vegetarianism. And besides some of us like the taste of flesh.

But the main concern for the Terror is not just the sheer bloodiness of a kangaroo cull (say compared to an abbattoir cull) and the appalling lack of humanity, but the way the poor baby joeys are taken out after a mother 'roo is shot.

That's right, the Terror is getting terribly anxious about the cute little baby 'roos. Ah they're so cute. (I say old chum have you tried the veal dish they serve at the local pub - yes damn fine, nothing like the meat of a calf slaughtered somewhere between three and fourteen weeks).

You don't have to be a member of PETA to feel at least sorrow and perhaps horror at the fate of these infant marsupials.

There may be merit in researching a kangaroo contraceptive or other non-violent means of containing kangaroo populations. It is difficult to believe, given scientific advances, that there aren't some other possible solutions available.

A kangaroo contraceptive applied to a large wildlife population roaming all over Australia?
Like the very successful calicivirus, which has seen rabbit numbers bounce back in record numbers around my home town? 

What the heck were they drinking before they bedded down the paper? A non-violent means of containing kangaroo populations?

Shooting may be simple and straightforward but the arguments and emotions surrounding the kangaroo cull are definitely not.

That's why it's time to pursue alternative methods.

What a dumb piece of sensationalist nonsense. No wonder country people think city folk don't get anything about the bush, life or the world in general, as they tuck into their burgers, their steaks, their chicken breasts, their rashers of bacon, and their generally self-satisfied meat eating lives.

Of course you won't hear about this nonsense on Tim Blair's blog, though it deserves to be sent up in the way he'd usually send up a PETA publication (in fact sending up PETA is one of Tim's favorite pastimes).  

Just as you won't hear about News Corps global energy initiative running the entire month of April, and currently featuring Kathy Najimy, the voice of Peggy Hill on King of the Hill boasting about the many ways she's reduced her environmental impact (there's also a video of the Dark Overlord, Rupert himself, launching the global initiative). Will Tim ever have the guts to send up or even bite the hand that feeds him? Probably not.

Well here's a thought: kangaroo meat is low fat, and very healthy, and was and is rightly a staple in the diet of indigenous people. It's a great pity that instead of bringing in sheep and beef to eat, and help ruin the land, that we also didn't adapt to a kangaroo diet from the very early days, because 'roos have a much lower ecological footprint and are a lot kinder to the land - certainly kinder than Kathy Najimy, Rupert Murdoch or Tim Blair, though perhaps not so kind to farmers' crops.

There are lots of good recipes available online for kangaroo meat, but I like to simply cut it up and toss it in a wok with an assortment of vegetables and a preferred Asian sauce and serve on rice. It tastes a lot better than an equivalent serving of beef, and wherever you use beef, you can use 'roo meat to advantage.

And if you don't like the reality of eating meat, don't go all sanctimonious about culling and baby joeys. Just go vegetarian, and leave the rest of us to get on with life. 

Think kangaroos have a hard time, and want a kangaroo contraceptive? Go visit an abbattoir. Try filming in them, or maybe in a chicken meat processing plant. Get lots of close ups.

Better still, try killing something with your own hands, then cleaning, cooking and eating it. It isn't so hard, unless you're a sook writing for the Daily Terror.

By the way, you might be interested in the article Skippy for supper: Kangaroo meat is healthy, plentiful and leaves a tiny carbon footprint by Rob Sharp in The Independent back in 2008 (along with a few recipes). A sample:

The kangaroo industry is a £100m-a-year affair in Australia. While the country produces 30 million kg of kangaroo meat each year, it consumes less than 10 million kg; one of the reasons for this is that roos are often unfavourably thought of as "roadkill" down under. Kangaroo meat makes up half of Australia's exports to Russia and is also popular in Europe. While a few restaurants in Britain stock the meat in question, it is yet to get the attention it deserves. Until now.

Greenpeace recently funded a survey in which it was claimed that eating kangaroos in place of other meats can radically reduce one's carbon footprint. The perhaps unhygienic reason for this is that kangaroos don't produce flatulence (so to speak). Cows and sheep produce vast volumes of methane through belching and, well, whatever happens at the other end.

The meat is low in cholesterol and fat, and bursting with protein, iron, zinc and conjugated linoleic acid, which reduces blood pressure – all guaranteed to put a spring in your step.

The kangaroo's superiority in many ways might not be as bizarre as it might first appear: the marsupials have great personal hygiene, need less food than sheep or cattle and are better adapted to drought; they are generally high up the evolutionary tree (although, sadly for them, not as high as us).

Ah now I get it. Healthy and superior and green. The Daily Terror is just running cover for the beef and sheep mob, and their ruinous ways. A tick from Greenpeace and the Heart Foundation. That's enough to bring the Terror out in heart wrenching sobs of despair.

Well all I can say is "go 'roos".

Disclaimer: this site promotes the regular, healthy eating of kangaroo meat, and supports the ongoing widespread availability of kangaroo as a game meat.

(Below: a guide to good 'roo eating and a desperate plea to help Rupert celebrate Earth Month).

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