Another Roo on the Barbie

By Stanley, Scott | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 19, 2007 | Go to article overview

Another Roo on the Barbie


Stanley, Scott, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- In his 1893 play "A Woman of No Importance," the famed British wit Oscar Wilde defined fox hunting as "the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable."

One can only wonder about his reaction to the recommendation by the international environmental group Greenpeace that Australians slaughter and eat more of their nation's 25-million kangaroos to help save the world from global warming.

Wilde aside, the action urged in a Greenpeace-commissioned report, Paths to a Low-Carbon Future, is not likely to sit well with the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) or their vegetarian-promoting pals at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Kangaroos, which outnumber Australia's human population of 20.5 million by some 4 million, have long been the national symbol of the "Land Down Under."

Under national law, roughly 3 million are allowed to be harvested each year -- mostly for the soft leather of their skins and their meat, which is considered a delicacy in such countries as Germany, France and Belgium.

But until now, no one has been bold enough to urge mass exterminations of the beloved joeys.

Global warming, which Greenpeace and other eco-activists regard as an approaching catastrophe, may override the objections of animal lovers, however.

As it turns out, kangaroos are just as flatulent as cattle and sheep -- belching and breaking wind across the vast expanse of Australia's Outback. The methane gasses kangaroos produce rise into the atmosphere where they trap heat, increasing Earth's temperature. And worse, their wide-ranging travels require a constant clearing of trees and shrubs that can absorb such greenhouse gasses.

Greenpeace campaigner Mark Wakeham says Aussies who object to a portion of roo on their dinner plate can do their part by eating non- meat substitutes or fish.

"It is one of the lifestyle changes we can make," Wakeham told The (Melbourne) Herald Sun. …

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