Interest in exotic meat has once again soared, partly at least to its place on the shelves of Lidl who have not only sold kangaroo, but disturbingly in the run up to Christmas, reindeer meat. The fact that kangaroo meat is substantially cheaper than beef may make it attractive and some may vaguely feel that because it has led a natural life in the outback, there is no cruelty involved.
The facts are unpleasant. Australians see this particular wild animal as a pest as it can damage crops. There is an annual cull to manage number. In 2013 numbers had rocketed and the cull was set to be 6 million. The killing often takes place at night and away from scrutiny in the expanse of the outback, with shocking individual acts of cruelty. These are the animals that end up on our shelves. What is not widely known is that this cruelty isn’t limited to the animals who appear on people’s plates; innocent young joeys are pulled from their dying mothers’ pouches and bludgeoned. As Viva!s campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, said: ‘Lidl are making a cheap buck by selling dead wildlife to misguided, thrill-seeking customers.’
In this country, the surge of interest in wild boar meat is again seen as a byproduct of a cull. Why do we need to manage animals populations through killing? The more profitable selling this meat becomes, the less likely it would seem that landowners such as the Forestry Commission will look at managing population through fertility, for example. The increased interest in wild boar meat means that illegal hunting becomes an increased risk.
This is just to look briefly at two animals. Online retailers and some catering establishments offer a far greater range of wild animals; with their individual cruelties and often a lack of regulation.