A nondescript building on the edge of Adelaide houses the largest processor of kangaroo meat in Australia: Macromeats. There is no sign on the door. The trucks loading and unloading kangaroos don't advertise what they carry. On the outside, nothing reveals that 3,000 kangaroos are turned into steaks, sausages and minced meat here every day. "I used to be compared to the folks who club baby seals," Macromeats owner Ray Borda said about the industry's image problem. Kangaroos are generally seen as cuddly animals and the mere thought of putting a 'Skippy' on the barbecue appals many Australians. But the attitude they have towards the consumption of their national symbol is changing. "The government used to scorn me," Borda said. "But this year, I was asked to host a kangaroo barbecue in the parliament building." This turnaround is credited to the environmental and health benefits of kangaroo meat compared to sheep and cattle.How do I feel about this? I'm OK with it but I want to taste before I sign up for it. I've had all kinds of game meat. Some is rank, some tangy, some bland like chicken. I'm all for eating locally (I'm a locavore but I refuse to subscribe the group that turns it into a religion). I doubt I'll ever have kangaroo steaks, but I'm not against it. I figure if my ancestors climbed out of the trees to eat rotting carcasses to start themselves on the road to our current pre-eminence, then I shouldn't turn up my nose at local cuisine.
I figure consumption of animal protein marked our divergence from Paranthopus, a distant relative who was less labile in cultural traits and insisted on roots and tubers at the expense of high quality protein. I suspect that branch of the family was the one squeamish about eating putrifying meat. They're now all dead. We're doing well. So kangeroo is on my plate!