Feral meat a step towards a more sustainable diet – “Rise of the Pestatarian”

Fallow cutlets – Prepared by Lee Clarke

Australia is no stranger to feral animals. Australia has one of the largest and most diverse feral animal populations in the world. Initially brought here as a source of food and game for the first settlers.

Rabbit formed part of a mainstay diet for Australian families during hard times. Rabbits were eaten and traded to keep food on the family dining table. Although, I am a little young to have experienced these difficult times, my parents families were not as fortunate. As I’m sure would be the case for many reading this article.

With a higher standard of living these “feral feeds” have disappeared from most people’s dinner tables. Hunters are still utilizing their kills, but it is certainly not the norm, to find people eating rabbit or roasting a leg of venison/goat in Australia.

ABC News recently interviewed Dr Catie Gressier, Melbourne researcher, who says eating feral animals could be a step towards a more sustainable Australian diet. Dr Catie Gressier, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Melbourne, has studied the attitudes of Victorians and West Australians towards eating native and feral animals. She said with a growing global population it was “not realistic” to think humanity could continue to consume farmed livestock at the current rate.

Dr Gressier believes the language used to describe the meat has a lot to do with is acceptance by the community.

“I think the language itself is so loaded … feral has the implication of something that was once contained and has now gone wild,” she said. “In terms of meat it raises questions about things like hygiene‚Äù.

“[The word] game, obviously, has much more positive connotations.”

Dr Gressier talks of the “rise of the pestartarian”. Something most of us are already converted too. The health conscious are also starting to convert as they see the benefits of lean antibiotic free meat.

For this to work in Australia we would need some major legislative changes. New Zealand seems light years ahead of us in use and consumption of feral meat. Across the ditch it is very common to see game on most menus and in local’s freezers.   

On a recent hunting trip to New Zealand my South Island mate had successfully harvested a big bodied red stag. This particular time, he did not have room or time to process it, instead employing the services of his local butcher.   

No long after he had 5kgs of thin steaks, 5kgs salami, 5kgs of beer sticks (mouth watering) and the rest in plain sausages for a fraction of the price compared to the commercial equivalent.

Whilst we won’t hold our breath for the legislation to change, we can certainly make the most of our own ”feral” game. There are some exceptional Australian resources out there for using game meat and its preparation. In the coming weeks we will be sharing some of these mouth-watering game recipes with our subscribers.

 If you have a quality game recipe that you would like to share, please email me at gibbo.sporting.shooter@gmail.com





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